The Winnipeg Blue Bombers' thin playoff hopes were all but dashed by the Calgary Stampeders, who defeated the Blue and Gold, 32-21, at Canad Inns Stadium on Saturday, October 13. Oh well, at least there's hockey -- wait, scratch that thought. Here's a look at the Bombers' report card for week 16.
Offence -- The offence looked sharp in the first half, as Joey Elliott led a pair of touchdown drives, including a 10-play, 52-yard march early in the second quarter to make it 16-7. Later, the Bombers zipped 52 yards on three plays to pull within 19-14. Both drives were capped by touchdown runs from Chad Simpson, who finished with 84 yards rushing. However, Elliott (22-for-33 passing, 284 yards) tossed four second-half interception, including three in the end zone, to kill potential scoring drives. Give Terrence Edwards a gold star for nine catches and 143 yards receiving. Grade: C
Defence -- The defence was on its heels in the first half, partly due to turnovers by the offence and special teams. The Stamps (9-6) took full advantage, racing out to a 16-0 lead after the first quarter. Nik Lewis, who pulled in a 25-yard TD catch in the final minute of the first, dominated reigning Defensive Player of the Year Jovon Johnson. But Winnipeg made adjustments after intermission and limited Kevin Glenn, who accumulated most of his 286 yards passing in the first two quarters. Still, the "D" could have done more. Johnson and Jonny Sears each dropped interceptions, as the Bombers failed to make the game-changing play they needed. Marcellus Bowman made a team-leading 11 tackles. Grade: C+
Special Teams --Demond Washington muffed a punt early in the first quarter for his eighth fumble of the season (lost four) and Calgary promptly stuck it in the end zone for a 7-0 lead. Nothing much else happened on special teams, not even a field goal attempt, but that was enough to set the tone for the game. The enigmatic Washington nearly broke a return on his next chance. Grade: D+
Coaching -- I have nothing against Tim Burke, but have the Bombers (4-11) improved one bit since he replaced fired head coach Paul LaPolice? Absolutely not. Yes, Burke was put in a tough spot, but we are seeing the same mistakes (eight turnovers) and lack of discipline in week 16 that plagued the Bombers from the start of the season. At least the team played to the final whistle. Grade: C+
Next marking period -- The Blue Bombers visit the Toronto Argonauts on Friday, October 19 (7:00 p.m. CT). The Argos have won both meetings with the Bombers this season, the latest coming in week 14, 29-10. Toronto has won four straight games against Winnipeg dating back to last season.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter and supporter of all Winnipeg sports teams. The coldest sporting event he ever attended was the 2011 East Division final between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Canad Inns Stadium. Adam follows back Bombers fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.
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