December 5, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Pivot Max Hall's third CFL start wasn't exactly a performance for the ages -- those two interceptions gotta go -- but surely it was enough to push this season's quarterback carousel to a halt, assuming his ribs are all right, of course. Hall completed 18 of 27 for 253 yards, the fourth-best Winnipeg air show this year. Heck, Hall gave fans hope right off the hop, as he connected on five of seven in Winnipeg's first drive, knocking on Edmonton's doorstep for backup Jason Boltus to plunge the ball home. Seven minutes later, Hall threaded two quick passes to slotback Terrence Edwards to give the Bombers their second touchdown. It was the Bombers' first TD pass since Aug. 16, but hey, who's counting?
Too bad a hungry defensive start seemed to fall apart as the Eskimos found their groove. Still, Alex Suber stormed all over Edmonton, forcing a fumble, snapping up another and making a majestic leap to knock down a ball late in the fourth quarter that had the crowd roaring. Meanwhile, Jovon Johnson only slipped in at safety to fill in for the injured Cauchy Muamba, but darned if the Bombers cornerback didn't look at home back there on his own. Not only did Johnson tie Suber to lead the team in tackles with six, but he gobbled up the third-quarter Fred Stamps fumble that Suber forced, and raced it 28 yards into Edmonton's end zone.
Not many fireworks on either end, as a whole bunch of guys kept the Esks returners mostly canned. Sandro DeAngelis didn't exactly cover himself in glory with a missed 35-yard field goal attempt in the fourth that would have allowed the Bombers to win the game.
The toll of a a 2-9 record and only one win at home prior to Friday's action was evident in this crowd. The stadium had lots of unsold seats and there were plenty of no-shows to boot. The announced attendance was 28,859 but the drop count would have been lower by a few thousand. Those who did show, however, were loud and proud. The reality of the damage inflicted on the franchise is now being reflected in a turned-off fan base. The financial repercussions won't be known until the Bombers release their annual report, but the Bombers' budget is predicated on ticket revenue produced by an average of 31,000 per game. If Friday's crowd is an indicator of future crowds, the Bombers will have a shortfall.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 21, 2013 C3