Lions 34, Bombers 23

- November 28th, 2011

VANCOUVER — I turned to my colleague, Paul Friesen, in the fourth quarter on Sunday night at B.C. Place and suggested the Bombers have simply had bad luck in their last two trips to the Grey Cup.

Four years ago they losing starting quarterback Kevin Glenn to a broken arm in the East Final. On Sunday they simply ran into the hottest team to ever go into a Grey Cup.

The football gods simply don’t want the Bombers to win, I told Mr. Friesen, who understood where I was coming from but disagreed.

He said the Bombers could have beaten the Lions. They could have been better. They could have come up with a better game plan.

He’s right.

The Bombers didn’t deserve to win the Grey Cup this year. Yes, they had a remarkable turnaround that shouldn’t be dismissed. However, they didn’t have the horses on offence to be the best team in the league. After Sunday night’s game, it appears they didn’t even have the best defence this season, either.

The best team won the Grey Cup. The Lions overcame an 0-5 start and showed, by winning 12 of their last 13 games, they deserved to be called the champs.

The Bombers will regroup and will have as good a chance as anybody to win the East Division again in 2012 when they open up their new home at the University of Manitoba.

A few post-game thoughts before looking too far into the future …

• Bombers punter Jamie Boreham accepted responsibility for the loss afterwards, even though he didn’t have to do that. Yes, he failed to boot an onside kick the required 10 yards, and yes, his punting was not very good, but other areas of the Blue and Gold were just as much to blame.

• Good for Boreham for stepping up, though.

• You have to feel for Doug Brown. Because he was always the best quote in the CFL, we in the media usually went to him first after every loss because he had the ability to put everything in perspective. He never said no. A class act all the way.

• Brown failed to record a single stat in his two playoff games.

• Two things I heard whispered throughout my travels on Sunday. The Bombers will host the 2014 Grey Cup, and next year’s Hall of Fame game, where Milt Stegall and the late Tyrone Jones will be inducted, will be played in Winnipeg.

• The Bomber offence needs an overhaul, because what is has right now isn’t working. Is it the talent? Is it the scheme? Sportnet’s Arash Madani tweeted Sunday night that Jamie Barresi is toast as Winnipeg’s offensive co-ordinator after the dismal performance against the Lions, but Paul LaPolice calls the plays. If Barresi is let go, that sounds like a scapegoat to me.

• Is Odell Willis wearing Blue and Gold next season? The overwhelming consensus among media types is not a chance. He had a rough outing on Sunday.

• Does Brendon LaBatte re-sign with the Bombers, or does he wait until free agency and put his signature on a deal with his home province Saskatchewan Roughriders? If I’m Winnipeg GM Joe Mack, I offer LaBatte the farm. And I don’t say that because the three-time top offensive lineman is from Weyburn. Seriously, offer to give him a farm where he can hunt and race his cars around a track. That’ll make him happy.

• If you’re a free agent, would you rather go to Regina or Winnipeg, where they’re opening a brand new stadium in 2012?

• I didn’t attempt to interview him, but Bombers running back Chris Garrett offered a no comment after Sunday’s game. That can only mean he was livid about not being included more in the offensive game plan and didn’t want to ruffle any feathers. Why else would someone who has played only a handful of games blow off the media after they praised him every day for the last week?

• Here’s Jovon Johnson after the game: “We came out and pretty much laid down for them to do whatever they wanted to do.”

• We must give credit to the Lions. Granted, the Bomers made plenty of mistakes and failied to capitalize on numerous opportunities, but Wally Buono’s crew played a great game.

• Bottom line: There should be plenty of optimism surrounding the Bombers. They went from 4-14 to 10-8, and if they can get their offence going they have the potential to be among the league’s elite in 2012.

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1 comment

  1. Theo says:

    I said at the half they should have started Brink in the second Half. I really like Pierce but there was no offence and they needed to shake things up. They could have always gone back to Pierce if need be. Give him a couple series from the side lines to get some perspective.

    Not a fan of Lapo’s. I haven’t liked the play calling all year, and forgetting about the run game?? Especially in the first half?? He know’s how we got there right? He seems like nice enough guy but I don’t think he’s head coach material :s

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