CALGARY — So, you know how when you’re watching a cheap horror movie and the cheerleader goes for a walk in the dark house and you just know she’s about to get her head chopped off by an intruder — but you’re still kind of startled when it happens anyway?
This was like that.
You could see this slaughter coming from 1,500 kilometres and a week away — a season-high 16-point spread told that tale — and yet there was still something stunning in the Calgary Stampeders’ 38-11 throttling of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at McMahon Stadium Saturday.
Maybe it was how defenceless the Bombers defence looked in the face of a Calgary offensive onslaught that looked like men toying with boys?
Maybe it was how quick the Bombers rolled over, yielding two TDs and a field goal on Calgary’s first three possessions and falling behind 17-3 before the first quarter was over? Or maybe it was just a simple matter of always being surprised by how much that cheerleader bleeds?
Whatever it was, this one was a bloodbath and the only small mercy that came of it is there is now an end in sight to this horror show of a 2013 season, with the 2-12 Bombers now facing playoff elimination when they face the Alouettes in Montreal on Thanksgiving Monday.
Go ahead, give it to me straight
The Bombers loss to Calgary was their fourth in a row since a win over Saskatchewan in the Banjo Bowl. It was also their sixth road loss in a row since a win in Montreal in Week 2 and their 11th loss in their last 12 games. And the Bombers have been outscored 91-28 in their last two games.
Oh, and it was also the 11th consecutive Bombers loss in a West Division stadium, a drought that goes back to July 2011.
Wow, that is bad. Was there any reason for hope?
Look, this season is over. But yeah, a Bombers offence that has been almost completely useless all season actually showed some traction, generating 194 yards in the first half and finally showing signs of a running game, with RB Will Ford rushing for 156 yards and returning a kickoff 100 yards for a TD — Ford’s second kickoff return for a TD this season.
That doesn’t sound so bad. So how the heck did the Bombers lose so bad if they put up those kind of numbers on offence?
Well, for starters, all that offence came in fits and spurts instead of sustained drives and so didn’t result in much in the way of points.
Quarterback Max Hall went 15-of-34 for 147 yards and one INT and wasn’t great — but then what Bombers QB has been in the last couple of years? Still, Hall did move the ball at times, had a couple of long passes dropped by his receivers and the lone interception he threw was Winnipeg’s only turnover — a huge improvement for a team that was a league-worst minus-28 in turnover ratio coming into the game.
But the larger problem was a porous Bombers defence that was just as hopeless against the Calgary run — the Stamps had 261 yards rushing — as the Calgary pass — they had 361 yards through the air.
Put it together and it was — by far — the worst performance by a Bombers defence in recent memory.
Wonderful, so now what?
Rest easy Bombers fans — this will all be over soon.
The combination on Saturday of a Montreal win over Edmonton — which improved the Als to 6-8 — and the Bombers loss to Calgary leaves the Bombers eight points behind the Als for the third and final playoff spot in the East Division.
One more Montreal win or one more Winnipeg loss this season will eliminate the Bombers and officially shift what’s left of this miserable season into a rebuilding mission.
Perhaps fittingly, the Bombers next play in Montreal on Oct. 14.