Monday, September 23, 2013

48 Hours Later: Bombers Colossal Collapse Leads to O.T. Loss

Article written by The Comish - Winnipeg Correspondent
Jovon Johnson Autographed Mini Helmet - Winnipeg Blue BombersThe Winnipeg Blue Bombers are finding new and improved ways to make this nightmare season even worse after losing yet another CFL contest in less than heroic fashion. The Bombers jumped out to a 20-0 lead before a shocked but pleased home crowd on Friday night at Investors Group field. The Bombers would eventually be up 27-11 heading into the fourth quarter. Then the wheels and everything else associated with a motor vehicle came off resulting in a 35-27 loss.

The players will tow the party line that the Esk’s didn’t win this game but that the Bombers lost this game or gave it to them, which may be true but it is just another red herring that masks that which truly ales this football team; that's the lack of leadership from the coaches and the players with both sides being equally deficient and guilty of.

This game came down to that key intangible as the Bombers could not stop the bleeding much like how they failed to recover from the touchdown in Edmonton a week earlier that was called back because of a penalty. The Bombers showed grit and determination but failed to show stamina as they pounced on the Esk’s early and looked much better prepared on both sides of the ball.

However, it is a major concern that they have to actually play a team in back to back games to be competitive. It shows that they are not very astute when it comes to studying game film but I digress as that discussion is better suited for another occasion.

The lack of leadership by the players can be chalked up to inexperience. Case in point is Demond Washington failing to knock down Mike Reilly’s pass with a minute left and instead deflecting it into the waiting hands of Fred Stamps for a 50 yard catch, which set up the tying field goal.

This play alone did not cost the Bombers as the offence came to a standstill in the second half and on the only drive they could muster in the half resulted in failure. The veteran kicker brought into replace Justin Palardy ‘shanked’ a 35 yard field goal attempt with the wind at his back.

The Bombers also had 2 other chances to snuff out the Esk’s final drive of the game but let the ball slip away much like their playoff hopes did after back to back losses to the Eskimos.

If we are going to give the player a pass because of inexperience is it OK to give the coaches a pass? I do not think it is, as this was yet another opportunity for Tim Burke to step up, take charge and be a leader. We all know he cannot make the plays on the field but he is not expected to do that. He is expected to put his players in a position to win and that is where he is extremely deficient.

He may be a ‘rookie’ head coach but he is not a rookie coach. Unfortunately, he has failed to show leadership on the sidelines that either puts the fear of G-d into the players so they don’t make mistakes or inspire them to win one for the Gipper.

The Bombers offence did the best it could with 3 offensive linemen that have a combined 4 CFL games under their collective belts and a quarterback with 3 starts. As a result the defense was tired by the fourth quarter and had to dig deeper than a driller looking for oil in downtown Winnipeg to protect the lead in the face of continuous 2 and outs by the offence and a protecting a short field.

This is where the coach has to step up and recognize the issues, make the proper adjustments that puts the team in a position to win and not hang on the hair on his chinny chin chin!.

Unfortunately, it was more of the same from Coach Burke who failed to keep the team composed and then proceeded to blame the players in his post-game comments specifically by pointing the finger at poor Demond Washington for going for the interception instead of knocking the ball down.

This would be passable behavior if Burke himself didn't constantly look befuddled and confused on the sidelines. Perhaps he knows his fate is sealed and is just going through the motions. After all he has the inside scoop on the team.

In any event, he failed his team yet again by not being there for them or preparing them for the moment. Sure he had Goltz take a knee in the dying seconds of the game rather than throw a couple long bombs but then he proceeded to let a red hot Edmonton offence have the ball first in OT, which was yet another example of his strategic ineptitude given what had transpired on the Eskimo’s previous drive.

If Burke wants to blame anyone he must look in the mirror first and foremost. Until that day comes it will be more of the same under his tenure.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Lose in OT

Should Burke be fired now?

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