WINNIPEG - They might call it being methodical, but I say it’s being too slow on the trigger. In fact, Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice failed to pull the trigger at all for reasons that are beyond me.
Unless Winnipeg’s Joey Elliott is injured, he should have replaced quarterback Alex Brink to start the second half of Friday’s CFL game against the Montreal Alouettes.
When the Bombers headed into the halftime break down 15-3, I was thinking that, if Elliott didn’t start the second half, then they weren’t really trying to win. I mean, that’s only a 12-point difference but they only scored three after the defence started to hold the Als — after a crappy start.
Still, the Als should have had a much bigger lead and the Bomber coaches should have tried to reward them by giving the ball to someone else.
Sure, LaPolice was slow to yank Brink last week and that worked out for him. But Brink managed to score before that half was over. He only managed to lead the offence to a grand total of three points in the first 30 minutes of play, and he struggled to even do that.
Leaving him in paid no dividends as the Bomber offence failed to score a single point in the third quarter — working with the wind no less.
Time and again, the defence held the Montreal offence to field goals but finally broke when Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo completed a 59-yard touchdown pass to Jamel Richardson in the fourth quarter. That gave the Als a 29-10 lead that salted the game away.
Sure, you can look at the standings and say the Bombers aren’t that far behind but I can’t help feeling that they can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.
I mean, they were lucky to win last week and are now dead-last in the CFL and have shown little reason for hope. Yes, Brink is a backup and the Bombers do miss Buck Pierce, But they weren’t exactly setting the world on fire with Pierce at the controls behind a shaky offensive line. And why did the Bombers hire an offensive co-ordinator who knew nothing about the three-down game again? Frankly, these guys just aren’t good enough and we’re all tired of waiting for them to develop into contenders, even with all those injuries.
WHITAKER KILLED ’EM AGAIN
Let me get this straight. Montreal running back Brandon Whitaker almost singlehandedly beat the Blue Bombers last time out, and defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke readily admitted the game plan was to stop him. Either the defenders weren’t listening or they aren’t good enough. Whitaker gained a total of 235 yards last time out, 98 on the ground, in a 41-30 Montreal victory.
So, what happened? Whitaker gained 10 yards on his first carry Friday and rushed for 56 yards on five carries in the first quarter alone. He finished the first half with 86 yards on 11 carries and 36 yards on five catches. Whitaker finished the game with 115 yards on 18 carries and another 64 on six receptions.
That success on the ground set up the passing plays for the Als. It took the Bombers a whole quarter to figure out that they could do that with tailback Chad Simpson, but went away from him too often.
FLAG THE REFS
It wouldn’t have made a difference in this sorry excuse for a game, but Montreal linebacker Rod Davis should have been nailed for his helmet-on-helmet hit on Brink in the fourth quarter. It’s time to start fining the refs for missing those calls. Unforgiveable.
CJOB reported that Brink and slotback Terrence Edwards were in a heated exchange on the sidelines late in the first half. LaPolice was seen having a word with Edwards, who may have been out of position just before the head man was forced to call a timeout.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Heard Bombers O-line coach Pat DelMonaco on a radio pre-game show saying the line still needs more time. In fact, it doesn’t sound like a single one of them had played well, including veteran Glenn January. That’s the price you play when you go with young, unproven players. It even throws off experienced guys like January and Steve Morley.
Hmm. The Bomber fans gave Montreal assistant coach Jeff Reinebold a big cheer when he was shown on the Jumbotron. How quickly they forget the worst era in team history (Mike Kelly’s reign was only one year). Must admit that Reinebold’s always been a charmer, though.