Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Five storylines

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1. Will the real Joey Elliott please stand up?

The Bombers quarterback looked masterful in a 27-22 win in Montreal last week. His numbers were great -- 335 yards, 3 TDs -- but it was the poise he showed in running the offence and overcoming adversity that was perhaps most impressive.

Elliott was rewarded with player of the week honours, just as he was in August after a 406-yard showing against Hamilton. But in between the feasts, it's been famine for Elliott, who went five games between player of the week honours without so much as a touchdown pass.

So, what is it? Is Elliott the kind of game-breaking quarterback who can dominate CFL defences, like he did against Hamilton and Montreal? Or is he in so far over his head that the time between his touchdown passes is measured in months.

Today should provide some clarity as Elliott takes on a man-to-man defence that provides him with fewer bailout options than Montreal's zone defence.


2. Can a team that was drilled 44-3 come back and beat the same opponent?

The Bombers were throttled at McMahon Stadium on Sept. 14 by a Calgary team that so dominated in them in every aspect of the game, the only question by night's end was whether the horse on the sidelines would need a glucose drip.

So, were there any lessons learned that night? "We got our ass kicked, that's all we could take from that game," Bombers slotback Terrence Edwards said Friday. "We got beat down and took behind the shed. And we don't want to feel like that again."

Better than nothing.


3. What effect will all the moving parts in the Bombers lineup this week have on their performance?

With injuries last week in Montreal to defensive linemen Bryant Turner and Alex Hall and receivers Cory Watson and Kito Poblah, the Bombers will have a completely remade defensive line and aerial corps this week.

With Watson definitely out and Poblah expected to be out, expect to see non-import Rory Kohlert and import Kurt Adams both start. The addition of an extra American to the receiving corps in turn creates a ratio issue that the club intends to address by starting non-import defensive end Fernand Kashama in Hall's spot on what had been an all-American defensive line. Import J.T. Gilmore will get the start in place of Turner.


4. Can the Bombers -- finally -- contain Nik Lewis?

The Rubenesque Calgary slotback, who claims to be the only receiver in history to record 1,000-yard seasons in eight different weight classes, feasted on the Bomber defence as usual in the 44-3 victory, recording seven catches for 131 yards as he went over 10,000 career receiving yards that night.

What was hyped coming in as a showdown between Lewis and Bombers strong-side linebacker Jovon Johnson proved to be a hopeless mismatch as Lewis ran all over -- and, a couple of times, right through -- Johnson and the Bombers defence.

"I've never seen a receiver as big as him as athletic as he is," Johnson said Friday. "The plays that he can make, the problems that he causes -- I've never seen a guy as big as him that can create such a mismatch for defensive backs the way he does."


5. New life after a death-row pardon?

It seems almost unfathomable that after everything that has befallen this Bombers team this season, they are still very much in the playoff hunt after last week's win in Montreal. But it's true, with several plausible paths to the post-season available to them in the final four weeks of the regular season.

So, the question of the day: Having stared into the abyss and been issued a second chance at life, will this team make the most of it? Or will they just plunge right back over that same ledge?

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 13, 2012 C3

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