The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were barbecued last weekend by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, 52-0, in the Labour Day Classic at Mosaic Stadium. It couldn't get any worse, right? Well, in many ways, the Bombers' last-play, 25-24 loss at Canad Inns Stadium on Sunday, September 9 in the Banjo Bowl rematch was much worse. The Bombers committed too many costly penalties and couldn't close out the game in crunch time -- sound familiar? Here's how the loss looks on the team's latest report card.
Offence -- Winnipeg (2-8) scored 24 points, but 15 of them were courtesy of Justin Palardy, who booted five field goals. Demond Washington returned a punt 82 yards to the house for the team's only touchdown. In other words, the offence failed to put the ball in the end zone for the second straight game. Joey Elliott passed for 241 yards and Chad Simpson rushed for 74 yards, but it didn't add up to enough points on the scoreboard. There's too much talent on this side of the ball not to put the ball in the end zone more often, especially against a suspect Riders defence. Grade: D+
Defence -- Jason Vega (three sacks) knocked quarterback Darian Durrant out of the game in the second quarter. But Drew Willy, who entered the game with 154 career passing yards, threw for 188 yards and a touchdown off the bench. Furthermore, the defence again had the game in its hands and failed to close it out, allowing the Riders (5-5) to drive into field goal range in the final seconds. I hate to single guys out, but Jonathan Hefney is giving up too many big plays. Grade: C
Special Teams -- Washington returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter to make it 10-3 for the Bombers, otherwise the special teams failed again. James Green was flagged for an idiotic 30-yard penalty in the third quarter. Furthermore, Mike Renaud failed to pin Saskatchewan in the final minute of the game, opening the door for the Riders to drive down the field for the game-winning, 40-yard kick by Sandro DeAngelis. Palardy was 5-for-7 on field goal attempts. Grade: C
Coaching -- The Bombers showed improvement from last weekend -- how can they not? -- but it wasn't enough to get the win. The team continues to take inexplicable penalties. Is it the coaching staff's fault? For some reason, the players aren't getting the message. However, this game will be remembered most for the ill-fated decision late in the game by Tim Burke to pass up a makeable field goal attempt. It resulted in a meaningless single, giving the Bombers a two-point lead. Grade: F
Next Marking Period -- The Bombers hit the road for a match-up with the Calgary Stampeders on Friday, September 14 (8:00 p.m. CDT). It's the first meeting between the two clubs this season. Last year, Calgary defeated Winnipeg both times they played each other, but the games were close. Both contests were decided by a combined seven points.