You’re not really surprised, are you?
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers consistently do what they’re not supposed to do.
The Bombers can’t beat the bad teams, but they can beat the good ones. Luckily for them, the post-season is where the good teams gather.
The bad news is the Bombers no longer control the East Division. They don’t deserve it after Friday night’s debacle.
Winnipeg has lost four games this season to the Argos and Roughriders, including Friday night’s 27-22 setback to Toronto in the last regular-season home game at Canad Inns Stadium.
The Bombers had a chance to tie it all up in a neat little bow, close out the stadium at Polo Park with a victory, just like they started it off 58 years earlier, and get one step closer to clinching first place in the East.
Instead, the disappointed fans quietly shuffled out of The House That Jack Built wondering which team is going to show up for either the East semifinal or East final.
No matter what the Alouettes do on Sunday, the top of the division won’t be decided until next weekend.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” defensive tackle Doug Brown said in a morose Bomber locker-room. “The blueprint we have right now for what games we win and what games we lose, I can’t wrap my head around that. It’s non-sensible.”
The first-half tone was set when Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice refused to go for it on third-and-one from Toronto’s five-yard line on his team’s first possession. He instead settled for a field goal.
“It was too early in the game,” LaPolice said. “You don’t do that.”
Talk about sending a terrible message to your team.
The Bombers then followed their usual pattern of driving the field but being unable to get into the end zone. Then Byron Parker pick-sixed Pierce, who hurt his right leg on the play and had to leave the game for the third time this season. Then Chad Rempel, the former Bomber receiver who is now Toronto’s long snapper, somehow got in behind one of Winnipeg’s most outstanding player candidates, Jonathan Hefney, for a 45-yard touchdown catch from Steven Jyles.
The Argos led 24-3 in the second quarter.
Once again, it was Bizarro World on Maroons Road, with the Bombers doing exactly what they weren’t supposed to do.
Considering how inconsistent the Bomber offence has been this season under Pierce, losing No. 4 isn’t as damaging as it was last year. Going to a much more confident Alex Brink isn’t a death sentence like it was last season.
It took a while for Brink to get going, but the Bombers held the ball for more than 12 minutes in the third quarter and scored 13 points to get right back in the game.
So while the Bombers stalled in the fourth and failed to pull off a fourth-quarter comeback for the second straight week, all is not lost. If there was ever a year for a team with a stout defence and a questionable offence to win the Grey Cup, this is it.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Calgary Stampeders can’t figure out which quarterbacks they want to use, the Montreal Alouettes do not instill fear like they used to, and the Edmonton Eskimos and B.C. Lions, despite the latter’s long winning streak, are far from powerhouses.
No matter which of the six playoff teams wins the Grey Cup a month from now, it will not be a surprise.
There is no reason why the Bombers, who have the best defence in the land, can’t somehow score enough points to win two or three games in the post-season. Chris Garrett is the best running back the Bombers have used this year, as his season-high 159 rushing yards on Friday night proved.
There is one game left at Canad Inns Stadium.
It’ll be interesting to see which Bomber team shows up.