Bob Irving has covered the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for CJOB Radio in Winnipeg since 1973. Bob is the Sports Director at CJOB and is in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, reporters division. Follow Bob on Twitter @BobIrvingCJOB
It was somewhat of an odd scenario on Saturday afternoon at Canad-Inns Stadium in Winnipeg. In a pivotal East Division matchup against the Montreal Alouettes with first place on the line, 30,000 Bomber fans were booing their home-town squad with the game by no means out of reach.
It should be pointed out that those “boos” were reserved for the Winnipeg offence.
Led by Buck Pierce, the group has gone through a season of agonizingly long dry periods during games where it appears to have absolutely no clue what they are doing.
However, much like it did on Saturday, the offence would magically awake from its slumber and suddenly come to life, seemingly outscoring their opponents at will.
Pierce and company produced 126 of their 289 total yards in the final 15 minutes in Saturday’s game. Aided by a strong wind, and a timely interception by Jonathan Hefney, the Bombers rallied from a 25-10 deficit to pull out a dramatic 26-25 win over the Alouettes.
As you know, the Blue Bombers are having quite the remarkable season.
Coming off a 4-14 disaster in 2010, they are now 10-6 into with just two weeks to go in the 2011 regular season. They are tied with Montreal for top spot, but the Bombers have an edge in that they won the season series against the Alouettes.
Head coach Paul LaPolice’s team has orchestrated this noteworthy turn-around with an offence that often tries the patience of everyone who watches it perform.
The unit ranked sixth in total offence per game, seventh in first downs produced and in passing yards. The Bombers are near the bottom in most of the league’s offensive categories as well.
What they have done well, however, is produce “big plays”.
Their good moments on offence have also been timely, as in Saturday’s monstrous win over the Alouettes. Mostly, though, the Winnipeg offence has benefitted from having a defence that has forced a league-leading 50 turnovers.
Nobody ever said you had to win pretty or with artistic flair. The Bombers have scored 101 fewer points than the Alouettes, but they have played superior defence, and have won more close games than they have lost.
For a team that lost nine games by four points or less in 2010 isn’t about to apologize for the methods it has used to win 10 of 16 games so far this season.
Can the Bombers end Montreal’s decade long domination of the CFL East Division? The next two weeks will tell us. But right now, the Bombers have gained the advantage, and have done so in dramatic fashion.
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|