October 8, 2012
Five things Bombers need to do to beat the Alouettes
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers aren’t quite ready to warm up to playing the role of spoiler, nor should they be.
But it’s clear the Blue Bombers are going to need a near-perfect and inspired effort in order to knock off the Montreal Alouettes at Percival Molson Stadium on Monday afternoon in a Thanksgiving Day clash.
One motivational tool Blue Bombers interim head coach Tim Burke won’t be using — at least not yet — is the us-against-the-world mentality associated with a 3-10 that most folks are already writing off as down and out.
“I suppose you could, but I’m not going to use that,” said Burke. “I personally don’t think that’s (very) motivating at this point of the season.”
Burke’s honesty is appreciated and even though the Blue Bombers playoff lives are basically hanging by a thread with five weeks to go, here are five things that could lead to an upset victory over the East Division-leading Alouettes.
1. Know the start time — Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but when a team has been outscored 101-21 in the first quarter of the previous 13 games, it would be an injustice not to mention it. Another reason it’s relevant is that the Alouettes have given up 82 points while scoring 102 in the opening 15 minutes of games. If the Blue Bombers aren’t snoozing out of the gate, their chances of at least having a chance would go up exponentially. Falling behind against the Alouettes early could lead to another blowout. Not being ready for the opening kickoff is simply unacceptable.
2. Get running back Chad Simpson involved early — Easily the biggest priority for the Blue Bombers this week, but it will be challenging, since the Alouettes made it abundantly clear they’ll be loading up the box to try and slow him down. Simpson has rushed for 721 yards in 10 games and is averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Establishing the run game would help keep the ball in the Blue Bombers hands and should open up some opportunities downfield for QB Joey Elliott.
3. Make the Alouettes one-dimensional — When Anthony Calvillo is at the controls, you expect to face a pass-first team, but in the first two meetings of the season, Alouettes RB Brandon Whitaker absolutely killed the Blue Bombers on the ground and in the passing game. Whitaker is out with an injury and the Als have been held to 71 yards or fewer in four of the past five games. Containing Victor Anderson would allow the Blue Bombers to try and focus on finding a way to limit Calvillo’s effectiveness, which is a monumental challenge in itself.
4. Be disciplined — The Blue Bombers have taken far too many boneheaded penalties this season and that lack of discipline has led directly to scores that have put them behind the 8-ball. If you give the Als extra chances, they will make you pay.
5. Foster reason for hope — When your team hasn’t won a game on the road in six tries and actually went an entire season without winning away from home in 2010, it’s only natural for questions to be asked about the composition and character of the team. The easiest way to answer those questions is to go out and post some road wins, especially one in a hostile environment. It’s clear that the Blue Bombers will need to run the table to have a chance to make the playoffs and even that might not be enough. However, with another loss, embracing the role of spoiler might be one of the few options remaining.