It happens in just about every horror movie. Early on — just to get the chills going and the blood flowing — some unsuspecting, completely clueless chump has a very scary beast/bad dude sneak up and promptly tear him to shreds.
In a related story, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are now 1-3 after being thoroughly gutted by the Toronto Argonauts 35-19 with 31,257 horrified witnesses in attendance at Investors Group Field on an absolutely beautiful night for a mauling.
Yes, watching the Bombers of late — actually, all the way back to Labour Day 2011 — has been a little like taking in the same slasher flick over and over again... with the guys in Blue and Gold repeatedly getting a machete sliced through them.
A little over the top, you say?
Consider this: since Sept. 4, 2011 — when the Bombers strutted into Regina with a 7-1 record — they have gone a woeful 10-22, fired a head coach, missed the playoffs and now stumbled out of the starting blocks in 2013.
And there is hardly a sense the script will change any time soon: Winnipeg plays host to the Calgary Stampeders next Friday — the same Stamps side that have whipped the Bombers in seven consecutive games — and then travel to B.C. to face a Lions squad that is 15-2 in its last 17 games at home.
Cover your eyes, kids, this could get even more gory.
GUNSLINGER VS. GUNSLINGER
The quarterback matchup — Ricky Ray of the Argos vs. Winnipeg’s Buck Pierce — teased everyone early into thinking the game might be one of those classic CFL track meets, with the offences galloping up and down the field and the numbers on the scoreboard rolling over like the digits on a gas pump.
Ray was seven of eight for 118 yards in the first quarter — the lone incompletion a blatant drop by John Chiles — while Pierce was six of seven for 118 yards. And then things went sour for Pierce & Co.
Working behind max protection, the Bomber pivot attempted to hit Clarence Denmark but the throw, into double coverage, was intercepted by Jamie Robinson and returned 48 yards to the Winnipeg 30-yard line.
One play later Ray hits Spencer Watt for a TD and badda-bing, badda-boom, the game starts to unravel for the home side. By halftime the Argos were up 21-6, Ray was 15 of 16 for 196 yards and two TDs and business at the Rum Hut was brisker than usual.
GOLTZ UP NEXT?
Pierce took a hellacious hit from Argo linebacker Shane Horton near the end of the first half and when the third quarter opened, Justin Goltz was at the controls of the Bomber offence.
Pierce finished the night with respectable numbers — 10 of 14 for 139 yards — but with the one back-breaking pick. Just FYI, Pierce has thrown for two TDs against five interceptions on the season.
In stepped Goltz, who looked every bit the raw untested pivot. To just about perfectly sum up the Bombers’ night, Goltz looked to have two receivers open late in the game but his pass attempt clanged off the left upright.
All that said, he did finish 13 of 15 for 170 yards and led the offence on its one scoring drive — capped by a Chad Simpson run. Whether the Bombers like it or not, they have a bona fide quarterback debate now cranked up to full.
YES, THERE IS A SILVER LINING...
Winnipeg may be staring up at the rest of the East Division at 1-3, but the Argos are 2-2 and — with Ray having left the game in the second half with a knee injury — may be looking at a stretch with Zack Collaros at QB.
The Montreal Alouettes, also 1-2 and looking like shadows of their former selves, limp into Calgary with Anthony Calvillo nursing a bum thumb and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are gearing up for a doubleheader with the unbeaten Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Welcome to the CFL, where doom may be lurking around the next corner, but hope — however fleeting — takes months to be snuffed out officially.