Bombers put fun back in gameWin over Als displays attitude adjustment
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
|Bombers receiver Chris Matthews goes airborne to make a catch during Monday's game. (BEN PELOSSE/QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG - So it turns out all the Winnipeg Blue Bombers needed was an attitude adjustment.
Could it really be something as simple as putting the fun back in the game transformed this inconsistent outfit into a world beater?
In the week leading up to the game, interim head coach Tim Burke urged players to return to their roots and play with unbridled enthusiasm and the Blue Bombers unequivocally took the message to heart.
After securing a 27-22 victory over the East-leading Montreal Alouettes that kept their long-shot playoff dreams alive, the Blue Bombers, to a man, spoke of playing with a different frame of mind.
“Same team, same players. Look, we just had fun,” Blue Bombers defensive back Jonathan Hefney said matter-of-factly.
This was about having the Blue Bombers channel their inner 10-yard-old, playing like they once did on the school yard.
“The theme for our team this week was just to go out there and have fun and we did that,” said Blue Bombers quarterback Justin Goltz. “Anytime you can come into Montreal, against a team that is a perennial at the top of the East and come out with a big team win like that — where everybody showed up and made contributions — it’s a great feeling in the locker room right now.”
Burke recognizes his team still faces an uphill battle, being two games out of the final playoff spot with four games left to go, but he’s choosing to stay positive in that pursuit.
“Montreal is one of the best teams in the league and to beat them at home, that tells you that you can beat anybody,” said Burke. “We just need to play like that all the time. Be relaxed, go out there and have fun and not press. That’s what we’ve been doing, pressing too hard.”
Burke then used a golf analogy to emphasize his final point.
“You go up there and you’re thinking, I’ve got to hold my hand this way or I have to do that and then you shank it, instead of just going out and hitting it,” said Burke. “That’s the way we are, we just have to go up there, address the ball and swing away.”
Veteran receiver Terrence Edwards was asked if he thought Monday’s win might end up being a turning point for the Blue Bombers season?
“It has to be,” said Edwards. “For us to try and sneak into the playoffs, we have to play like this every week to give ourselves a chance to win.”
In recent weeks, several Blue Bombers have spoken up about the need to show their true character in times of duress.
For this week at least, it looked like a lot of players took a long look in the mirror and asked more of themselves.
“It was attitude, we were just ready to play,” said Blue Bombers running back Chad Simpson. “We’re tired of (losing). We got tired of it as a team. If you look at the games we have won, everybody contributes and when everybody contributes, we’re going to win.
“Nobody can beat us when everyone contributes.”
That’s a pretty bold statement from someone on a 4-10 team to throw out there, but we’re about to find out if the Blue Bombers can actually back it up during the final four weeks of the CFL season as they attempt to sneak into the post-season.