Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Game Balls

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ñº OFFENCE

It looked good at the start, when pivot Buck Pierce led a 59-yard drive that ended with Justin Palardy putting one through the uprights. But that was pretty much that: The Bombers' offence fell flat, getting stymied all over the field. Pierce struggled with an abdominal injury after the half, and head coach Tim Burke sent quarterback Justin Goltz in for much of the third: the backup would end up going 13 for 15 and 170 yards while helping the Bombers land their only touchdown of the game, a Chad Simpson dash with only 29 seconds left to play.

ñº DEFENCE

Rough night when you could nominate a knee injury for best defender, but that was the only thing that stopped Argos pivot Ricky Ray, who picked the Bombers' defence apart with lightning passes and made it look easy. The pass rush struggled to shut down Ray, who went 19 for 20 and 286 flippin' yards before being knocked out of the game in the third quarter, while a team that's been a sack machine for the first three weeks only put him down once. On the plus side, Henoc Muamba registered eight tackles and generally threatened white jerseys all over the field.

ñº SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker Justin Palardy came into Friday's game with whispers of last week's dismal performance against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats still swirling around his name. He silenced those with a solid bounce-back, putting it through the uprights on all three attempts, including the 34-yarder to open scoring in the first.

CRITICAL

NUMBERS

360

The Bombers' net yards

390

Toronto's net yards.

FAN-O-METER:

The real winner in Winnipeg on Friday night was the Rum Hut, which was absolutely swarmed after the half and remained that way for... well, the rest of the game, as fans drank their feelings and pledged never to have hope in this team again. (We may be making that last part up.) Hey, the crowd needed some fuel to toss out the spatterings of boos and heckles at the expense of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who was near the Argos bench.

MID-AIR COLLISION:

Sports fans face a tough choice Nov. 2: Do they watch the Jets host the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks? Or do they catch the Bombers' regular-season closer, which kicks off just an hour before?

The Bomber game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats could have critical playoff implications, and of course it'll punctuate the first season at Investors Group Field. The Jets game, on the other hand, will mark the first time Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has led his team onto hometown ice.

Jets spokesman Scott Brown said in an email Friday the team is aware of the conflict, but the contest is a Saturday game on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada and the timing is "out of our hands." Bombers spokesman Darren Cameron said the football team will "look at that situation in the coming weeks."

-- Melissa Martin

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 20, 2013 C4

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