No worse than before
SO, remember how the biggest concern among Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans last week was about the greener than green offensive line the club was sending into battle against the Edmonton Eskimos Friday night at Investors Group Field?
Well, it turned out that the Winnipeg offensive line was perhaps the least of the Bombers problems on a night when the offence as a whole -- not to mention the defence and special teams -- combined for an epic collapse that led to Winnipeg blowing a 20-0 lead and losing 35-27 in overtime.
While an offensive line that included a pair of tackles making their first CFL starts and a guard making just his second was not without blame in Friday's debacle, they were as a unit at least as serviceable as any other five-man offensive front combination the Bombers have sent out this season.
With CFL rookies Jarvis Jones and Dan Knapp at left and right tackles respectively, second-time starter Tyson Pencer at right guard and veterans Justin Sorensen at centre and Chris Greaves at left guard, the Bombers O-line yielded three sacks, but for the most part provided QB Max Hall decent protection and sprung running back Will Ford for a couple of big runs, particularly in the first half.
Jones was looking for the silver lining late Friday night, talking about the chance the game provided him to learn the CFL game under duress.
"It was a good opportunity. It was a good way to learn and stuff like that," said Jones. "I feel bad about the outcome, of course. We've got to get better and learn from it and start all over again tomorrow."
Pencer, who's now started two games in a row after missing all his rookie season and half of his sophomore year, said he loved what he and his mates were able to do in the first half.
"We definitely came out good. We put 20-something points up in the first and second quarters.
"As a group, there was some stuff we did good together and there's some stuff that we need to work on."
A new rock-bottom
SLOTBACK Terrence Edwards has known no shortage of disappointment in his seven seasons as a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
But even for Edwards, Friday night's epic Bombers collapse broke new ground.
"This is probably the worst," said Edwards. "This probably takes the cake. There's no way we should have lost this game. We as a team did not make enough plays to win this game. Period.
"Because there's no way we should squander a lead like that and end up losing in overtime."
Edwards -- whose first-quarter 12-yard TD reception was his first catch for a major this season -- was asked how his team picks up the pieces after such a devastating loss.
"We've got no choice," said Edwards. "You let it hurt for a day or so, but we've got to get back to work. You flush this game, as bad as it hurts, and we got to be ready to play next week."
A few bright lights
LOST in the disappointment of Friday's defeat were a couple of big personal performances by some Bombers defenders.
Defensive back Alex Suber, for instance, had a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a knockdown to go with six defensive tackles, which also tied for the team lead on this night.
And defensive lineman Greg Peach, who the Bombers picked up as a cast-off free agent a couple of weeks ago, had two of Winnipeg's four sacks, as well as two defensive tackles.
Predictably, both men said they'd trade in the personal numbers for a victory Friday night. "This is the worst I've ever felt after having a game like that," said Peach, shaking his head.
Suber struggled to put Friday's game in some context.
"When you lose games like that, you can't really compare them to other losses," he said.