Winnipeg – The Winnipeg Blue Bombers fell to 1-3 on the CFL season with a 20-16 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos on Thursday night at Investors Group Field. There are two ways to look at the Bombers 22nd loss in 29 home games since they moved to Investors Group Field just over 3 seasons ago.
First is the glass half full view. Through this looking glass, you see a Blue Bomber team that competed hard, that played with enthusiasm, that scratched and clawed and never gave up against the defending Grey Cup Champs. A Bomber team that made some key defensive stops in the fourth quarter and that came within 4 points of knocking off Mike Reilly and company. A team that won the turnover battle for the second week in a row.
Then there’s the glass half empty. And this portrayal of the 2016 Bombers isn’t very flattering. It’s a team that once again gave up more yards of offence than it gained. Eskimos had 26 first downs and 501 yards to Winnipeg’s 18 first downs and 328 yards. Eskimos won the time of possession, 33 minutes to 27. Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly threw for 465 yards, Winnipeg’s Drew Willy passed for 299 and threw 2 picks. Willy also missed open receivers on 3 or 4 occasions and better throws by the Winnipeg quarterback might have made a difference in the final outcome. Teams rarely win when they are on the short end of stats the way the Bombers were.
Winnipeg’s special teams held their own, but there wasn’t one area of the game that the Bombers clearly won, and in the end, the more deserving team emerged victorious.
Fans on the 680 CJOB post game show were calling for blood. Get rid of O’Shea, give Nichols a chance to play quarterback were the common refrains. The sentiment of the paying customers is completely understandable. But I think it would be foolish for the Bomber brass to do anything radical at this point. We are only 4 games into the season. The Bombers are 1-3 but there is still plenty of time to salvage things. For many, that might just sound like wishful thinking. Fair enough. But in my opinion, the Bombers have to stay the course. As frustrating as things are right now for the Bombers and their fans, it is the prudent thing to do. Making any kind of dramatic change right now will solve nothing.