Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–3–0

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'D' rebounds from shredding in Calgary

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Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke has seen both his offence and defence improve the last two weeks.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke has seen both his offence and defence improve the last two weeks. Photo Store

THE Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence have almost doubled their number of interceptions this season in the past two weeks.

With a rare interception on Saturday of Toronto Argonauts QB Ricky Ray -- just the second INT thrown by Ray in 2013 -- the Bombers have five picks in their last two games after having just seven in their first 14 games.

Alas, the interception by Bombers DB Alex Suber in a 26-20 Bombers loss to the Argos at Investors Group Field on Saturday was the only Argos turnover on a day the Bombers offence turned the ball over five times, pushing Winnipeg's league-worst turnover ratio to minus-25.

 

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The Bombers defence as a unit has been vastly improved over the last two weeks.

After getting shredded by the Calgary Stampeders for 622 yards three weeks ago, the Bombers defence gave up just 295 yards of net offence in a win over Montreal two weeks ago and just 256 yards in the loss to the Argos.

Put those numbers together and the Bombers defence surendered 71 fewer yards in their last two games combined than in that one game against Calgary.

 

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The Bombers outscored the Toronto Argonauts 17-3 in Saturday's second half but simply could not overcome the 23-3 lead they spotted the Argos at halftime.

"You just can't do that in this league," said Bombers defensive back Jovon Johnson. "It's tough to come back when you're down like that. We almost did, but we can't kill ourselves with turnovers and penalties in the first half. It comes back to haunt you."

 

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Johnson was surprised on Saturday to hear that Winnipeg has now missed the CFL playoffs four of the last five years. "It doesn't really feel like that, but I guess that's true," said Johnson. "It feels like we've had more competitive teams than that. But maybe that's just me being a defensive player, and each year our defense has been competitive.

"It doesn't really seem like it, but that's true and we have to find a way to get it done."

 

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The Bombers lost nickelback Jeremy McGee to a hamstring injury against Toronto. Slotback Terrence Edwards also left the game with an undisclosed injury and did not return, but said after the game that he expects to play this week in Toronto.

 

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Bombers defensive back Brandon Stewart, who has been critical in the past of his team's sputtering offence, said he could find nothing wrong with the 466 yards of net offence Winnipeg generated against Toronto.

"From the sideline watching, they played well -- good enough to win this game today. I feel we should have won this game today. We had a couple miscues on special teams that were costly, they had a couple big returns and this game is about field position.

"We just have to play sounder football when we're playing the top team in the East."

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 21, 2013 0

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