55 Yard Line

Bombers’ offence comes up short yet again as they slip to 1-5 with loss to Montreal

Andrew Bucholtz
55 Yard Line

View photo

.

Alex Brink, shown being sacked by Montreal's John Bowman, and his team struggled Friday.

Scores can be deceptive at times, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' 36-26 loss to Montreal Friday certainly is evidence of that. If you only saw that scoreline, you'd think that the Bombers were okay and that they performed acceptably on offence, well ahead of the 20.2 points they'd averaged to this point at least. That's not the case, though. This game was a scathing indictment of the Winnipeg offence, which couldn't move the ball through the air all night, mysteriously elected to abandon the ground game after they got it working, and trailed 29-10 at the three-minute warning. Two garbage-time touchdowns (sandwiched around a defensive failure that gave Montreal seven points of their own) shouldn't change that, and those late touchdowns shouldn't distract from the serious questions that have to be asked about the Bombers.

As with most CFL offences, the story starts under centre. Alex Brink got the start again Friday despite a less-than-ideal 294-yard, two-interception showing last week against Edmonton, likely because the Bombers snuck out of that one with a less-than-convincing win. If you only look at his overall stats, Brink was fine; he completed 25 of 39 passes (64 per cent) for 311 yards and two touchdowns. However, both of those touchdowns came in the final three minutes, and they came at least partly thanks to defensive failures from the Alouettes (who seemed to let up on the final drive in particular, logical considering that the game was well in hand by that point). Brink particularly struggled early on, completing just seven of 16 passes (43.8 per cent) for 66 yards in the first half. He showed he's tough (perhaps even foolhardily so), taking a ridiculous hit to the head from Rod Davis and heading back out there on the next series without even talking to trainers, and his play late in the game was promising, but this game as a whole is anything but a complete endorsement of his abilities.

It's not all about Brink, though, as there were problems elsewhere as well. The Bombers' offensive line continued to struggle in the passing game, and many receivers were unable to establish separation. One bright spot came from running back Chad Simpson, who picked up 65 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries (9.3 yards per carry) and added 40 yards on three catches, but he inexplicably wasn't featured much. The ground game was the only thing working before the half (57 of Simpson's rushing yards came then on just five carries), but offensive coordinator Gary Crowton bizarrely decided to go away from it, only giving Simpson two touches down the stretch and pulling him from the game completely partway through the fourth quarter. TSN's Shawn Churchill reported that Simpson wasn't injured, so it's hard to figure out why he was pulled; there was speculation it was over his failure to block Davis on the hit on Brink, but still, Simpson was generally the most productive person in this offence Friday night. Pulling him is a curious move, and it combined with the team's offensive struggles to date means questions have to be asked of Crowton, a CFL rookie who was an unusual choice for the offensive coordinator job.

The defence had issues too, certainly. As Doug Brown and Chris Schultz pointed out on the TSN halftime show, Montreal's offence continually suckered Bombers' rookie defensive end Alex Hall by getting him to bite on play-fakes and crash down too far, and the rest of the defensive line wasn't much better. They clearly missed defensive tackle Bryant Turner, who missed the game to return to Alabama and attend funeral services for his grandmother. Linebackers Henoc Muamba and Pierre-Luc Labbe in particular also struggled to cover Alouettes'  running back Brandon Whitaker, who had an amazing night with 18 carries for 115 yards and six catches for 64 yards. Still, the crucial problem facing this Bombers' team is how to get the offence back on track. They may have picked up 26 points Friday, but their offence was much worse than that would suggest, and it will need to be better if they want to improve their 1-5 record.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Tom Shields sets American record in 100-yard butterfly

      Olympian Tom Shields has set an American record in the 100-yard butterfly at the U.S. Winter Nationals. Shields, who won a gold medal in Rio as part of the 4x100-meter medley relay, became the first swimmer to break 44 seconds in the event. … More »

      AP - Sports - 21 minutes ago
    • Road rage ends in McKnight's death; criticism of case looms

      Road rage ends in McKnight's death; criticism of case looms

      A road rage incident possibly sparked by a driver cutting off another on a nearby bridge spiraled into a shooting that left an ex-NFL player dead, authorities said, amid criticism the shooter was allowed to go free. Joe McKnight, 28, was shot … More »

      AP - Sports - 33 minutes ago
    • Golf-European Tour Dunhill Championship scores

      Dec 3 (Gracenote) - Scores from the European Tour Dunhill Championship at the par-72 course on Saturday in Malelane -17 Brandon Stone (South Africa) 67 66 66 -14 Chris Hanson (Britain) 69 65 68 Keith Horne (South Africa) 69 66 67 Charl Schwartzel … More »

      Reuters - 34 minutes ago
    • Solid Stone extends Alfred Dunhill Championship lead

      Solid Stone extends Alfred Dunhill Championship lead

      Brandon Stone edged closer to a second European Tour title with a fine 66 in the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Saturday to lead by three shots at Leopard Creek Country Club. The 23-year-old South African moved to 17 under par … More »

      Reuters - 35 minutes ago
    • Rain and sorrow accentuate memorial for dead at Brazil club

      The accident Monday in the Colombian Andes claimed most of the team's players and staff as it headed to the finals of one of Latin America's most important club tournaments. ''I've been here since early morning,'' said Chaiane Lorenzetti, a … More »

      AP - Sports - 37 minutes ago