It’s official, Winnipeg football fans.
You’re going to have to hope the “Good Bombers” show up for their playoff game, or even next weekend if possible.
Winnipeg continued to display its Jekyll and Hyde personality on Saturday night in Edmonton, with the “Bad Bombers” falling 24-10 to the Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium. That means they won’t be able to clinch a home playoff game this weekend.
It does not, however, change the fact their home game against Montreal next Saturday remains a huge one.
More troubling for the Bomber brass has to be the fact the Blue and Gold have been unable to put back-to-back victories together since mid-August, when their five-game winning streak came to a halt. Head coach Paul LaPolice has said all season long that good teams string wins together, and the Bombers haven’t been able to do that.
So what does that mean? It means they’re not a good football team right now, even though they looked like world beaters last week in Hamilton.
The main culprit on Saturday night was once again the offence, which has been way more inconsistent than the Bomber defence this season. Quarterback Buck Pierce was double-pumping all night long, unable to find anyone deep. He either dumped it off, scrambled for a couple yards or took one of his five sacks.
It didn’t help they lost receiver Clarence Denmark to an apparent shoulder injury in the first half, having to put the inexperienced Jade Etienne in the game. Winnipeg also lost the turnover battle, falling to 0-5 this season when that happens.
Weldon Brown’s interception in the end zone with five minutes to go was the nail in the coffin for the Bombers. The Blue and Gold could have mounted a comeback with a touchdown, or even a field goal, at that point, but turnovers are a killer for a young team trying to find its groove.
Pierce’s other two interceptions bounced off receiver Cory Watson’s hands first.
If the Bombers wanted they could probably just use the Commonwealth curse as an excuse. Including the post-season, the Bombers are now 1-10-1 in the Alberta capital since 2001.
Instead, they will attempt to figure out why they look so good one week and flat as a pancake the next.
Not helping matters once again was Mike Renaud’s punting. The much-maligned kicker had a 38.3-yard average compared to 48.6 for his counterpart, Damon Duval. Renaud’s worst punt occurred late in the third, travelling just 22 yards and out of bounds to boot. Four plays later Stamps hauled in his 12-yard touchdown pass to give the Esks a 21-10 edge. Jamie Boreham could very well be making his Bomber debt next Saturday.
So Bomber fans, it’s time to show up and hope. The Bombers have shown they can be a good team. They just haven’t done it consistently enough to prove they are a good team.