Winnipeg Blue Bombers Lose Game And QB

WINNIPEG, MB. — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers not only lost a football game on Saturday, they might have lost their quarterback.

Saturday afternoon at Investors Group Field, B.C. Lions quarterback Jonathan Jennings completed 30 of 40 pass attempts for 408 yards, four touchdowns and one interception as he led the B.C. Lions, a team that won’t be participating in the post-season, to a 36-27 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

For the Bombers, it was their third loss in the last four games as Winnipeg fell to 11-6 on the season and blew a wonderful opportunity to clinch a home playoff game.

Now, if the Bombers intend to play host to the West semifinal in two weeks, they have to go into Calgary this coming Friday night and beat the West’s first-place Calgary Stampeders. It will not be an easy task. Especially if quarterback Matt Nichols doesn’t play.

However, they could back in. If Saskatchewan beats Edmonton next weekend, the Bombers will play host to the West semi without a victory in Calgary.

Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea called it “a lower body injury,” and that isn’t a lie. Without taking any contact, Nichols injured his calf/ankle in the first quarter and did not return to the game. O’Shea believes Nichols “will be fine,” so I guess Bomber fans can assume he’ll play this coming Friday against Calgary.

Before leaving the game, Nichols had completed 14 of 18 pass attempts for 158 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

“I think he’ll be fine,” O’Shea said after the game. “It’s too early right now but I don’t consider it anything serious. I don’t know about next week because I don’t have all the information yet, but we think he’ll be fine.”

In the meantime, the Bombers also lost safety Taylor Loffler and runningback Andrew Harris to injuries, although Harris Tweeted later in the day that he felt fine and would be ready to play on Friday night.

Starting the final week of the season, the Bombers were dealing with injuries to four of its stars – Nichols (probably), Harris (likely), Darvin Adams (out) and Moe Leggett (out).

And that’s worrisome, especially if Nichols can’t go on Friday. There is some question as to the readiness of the Nichols’ replacements.

Dominique Davis went seven-for-12 for 82 yards while Dan LeFevour went three-for-seven for 30 yards. In order to score any points at all, the Bombers relied on seven field goals from Justin Medlock.

Harris finished the game with eight carries for 64 yards and caught four passes for only nine yards as the Bombers struggled to move the football. Weston Dressler was the favorite target of all three quarterbacks, catching six passes for 66 yards.

Meanwhile, the Bombers defence had trouble slowing down the fifth-place team in the West. B.C. had 543 yards of total offence while Winnipeg had only 241. B.C.’s time of possession was 38:23 while Winnipeg’s was a measly 21:37.

“Obviously I didn’t put my best foot forward,” said LeFevour. “I would have rather been more productive when I was in there,” said LeFevour. “Our job is to go out and perform. My job description is to be ready at all times. You’ve got to be able to be resilient and bounce back from situations like that.”

Despite getting roasted for more than 500 yards, the Bombers defence did produce three sacks, forced a fumble and got an interception from Loffler. Still, in the end, they weren’t very good and have a lot of trouble on coverages and with simple tackling.

Ultimately, with the injury to Nichols combined with the struggles of the defence, the Bombers weren’t good enough. This team was better three months ago. Maybe it’s the length of the season or just the injuries, but while Saskatchewan and Edmonton seem to be getting better as the playoffs approach, the Bombers have lost three-of-four and Calgary has lost two straight. That’s not the way it should be for teams that believe they have the horses to win a Grey Cup.

The Bombers will have one more chance to get ready for the playoffs. Friday’s game in Calgary starts at at 8:30 p.m. CDT on TSN.

—Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports

Photo – Jeff Miller, MyToba Sports

Editor of the popular Game On Hockey Magazine and The Point After Football Magazine, editor of Canadian Meat Business Magazine, sports editor of Grassroots News, TV play-by-play voice of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and author of the bestselling book: The Winnipeg Jets: A Celebration of Professional Hockey in Winnipeg. He likes virgin pina coladas, long walks on the beach, puppies and thoroughbred race horses that run according to form.
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