Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 08/7/2014 11:48 PM | Comments: 0
Dominic Picard and Brendon LaBatte may be cheap and dirty, as Bombers defensive lineman Zach Anderson pointed out this week, but they’re not sexy.
Not in the football sense of the word or in any sense imaginable. Believe me, I’ve seen them both in various stages of undress and it ain’t easy on the eyes.
But let them do their thing and they win football games.
Mid-summer games, day games, night games, cold weather games and yes, championship games, all happen to be of the type the Saskatchewan Roughriders and their offensive line can win.
At its very core, football is about pushing the other guys out of the way. Thursday night the Winnipeg Blue Bombers got pushed halfway to Regina.
The Roughriders and their big boys gave Winnipeg’s grunts more than they could handle and eventually took over the game.
Late in the fourth quarter with the score still tight, Riders offensive co-ordinator George Cortez put his exotic playbook in a drawer and called one run play after another.
Eventually, power football won out over Hail Mary football.
While the Riders were content to plod and grind and wait for mistakes, the Bombers were forced to take chances. Chances that ended up in errors and points against.
One brand of football makes for highlights. The other ends up with an organization forking out for chunky rings smiling diamond smiles.
Sooner or later the line of scrimmage tells the tale and for the Blue Bombers the story turned sour on Thursday night.
They collided head on with the CFL’s best defensive lineman in John Chick and the top offensive line in the country. Chick was wild and unharnessed all night, collecting three sacks. LaBatte, the CFL’s best on the offensive line, et al swung open the gate for Jerome Messam to gallop through.
Messam finished the night with 126 yards while Winnipeg’s running backs Nic Grigsby and Paris Cotton had a collective eight yards. Yup, eight yards.
The Bombers have been a great story to date. A page-turner. The Riders, however, are a heavy tome which will last well into the winter.
One could call hot-type reads such as the Bombers perfect beach books. Eventually though, fall rolls around and the heavy lifting must begin. Enter much sturdier stock. Enter the Riders.
To date the Bombers and their 5-2 record have been a brilliant story. But, despite head coach Mike O’Shea’s insistence this wasn’t a measuring-stick game, June and July wins are only the beginning of the story.
As O’Shea also said this week, the wins become harder to come by as the season grows older.
The Riders are the Grey Cup champs. Of course, this was a measuring-stick game. Every team in the league is chasing Saskatchewan until they aren’t champs any more.
The Bombers faithful can now look ahead to two more games with these same Riders in the next four on the schedule.
Losing three in a row to your Prairie cousins would be less than palatable. But until the Bombers can figure out a way to handle the heavy going on the line of scrimmage they are going to have some trouble on their hands. Big trouble.
It’s unfair to call the Bombers a cute story. They’re more than that and there’s lots of season left to unfold. GM Kyle Walters watched this game and won’t be sitting still. He’ll be looking for ways to improve. To get bigger and faster and meaner on both his offensive and defensive lines.
Maybe Walters will even find a way to get a little cheaper and dirtier. Turns out, cheap and dirty gets the job done.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Lightning outshot but still down Jets 4-2
Raptors beat Knicks in pre-season play
Joe Maddon exercises opt-out, won't return to Rays
Impact end season with Di Vaio tribute
Bombers play must-win game against Lions
Players, coaches say Nash changed the game
Students: Nixing football sends no-hazing message
FIFA consultant defends use of turf
All-Time Blue Bombers Team sees Leo Lewis cloned to play 2 positions
Andre (Touchy) Fili no ordinary fighter
Whitecaps on the brink of MLS playoff spot
Royals shift Cain to tricky right field for Game 3
Toronto FC looks to end season with a win
Sens, Habs and Leafs to stage tribute
Wolves coach apologizes for using profanity
Canadian rugby team looks to step it up
Manager Joe Maddon won't return to Rays
Chara out four to six weeks with knee injury
World Series fan causes debate with Marlins jersey
Raonic falls in Swiss Indoors quarters
WTA semis: Williams-Wozniacki, Halep-Radwanska
Gagne becomes flexible forward for Bruins
Pistorius prosecutors consult expert over appeal
Manning, Sanders lead Broncos past Chargers, 35-21
PGA president refers to Poulter as 'lil girl'
Steve Nash ruled out for season with back injury