Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Let us weep joyous, grateful tears

Bombers' nauseating season comes to a merciful end

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DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 
Hamilton Tiger-Cats Onrea Jones (89) gives the ol� straight-arm to Bomber DB Brandon Stewart Saturday afternoon at Investors Group Field.

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DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Hamilton Tiger-Cats Onrea Jones (89) gives the ol� straight-arm to Bomber DB Brandon Stewart Saturday afternoon at Investors Group Field.

And with that, you can make it official -- this really was one of the worst Bombers teams of all-time.

With a 37-7 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Investors Group Field on Saturday, the 2013 edition of the Bombers finished with a regular-season record of 3-15, tying the franchise record for futility in an 18-game season set by the 1998 Bombers.

True to their underachieving form all season, Winnipeg went out with a whimper rather than a bang, perfectly encapsulating in one poorly played game everything that's been wrong with this team all season long.

Anemic offence? Tick -- Winnipeg had 57 yards of net offence in the first half.

Rolled over in the face of adversity? Tick -- Winnipeg was down 17-6 at the half and simply surrendered in the third quarter, giving up 10 quick points to the Ticats that included a 70-yard TD romp by Hamilton tailback Chevon Walker five minutes into the second half.

Throwing an interception on the last play of the season? Tick -- and perfect, seeing as the Bombers also threw one on the very first play of the season.

Outplayed on offence, defence and special teams? Tick, tick and tick. And by a Hamilton team resting 12 of their starters, no less.

The best that could be said about this Bombers on this day? We will never have to watch them play together again.

AN UGLY END: After showing some long-awaited signs of improvement over the last month, the Bombers were in full regression mode for their final performance of the season.

The offence was terrible and so were special teams, collectively turning the ball over five times to finish the season a league worst -- by a mile -- minus-27 in the turnover ratio department.

And then there was the Bombers defence, which gave up 181 yards rushing and got picked apart first by Henry Burris and then by backup Dan LeFevour, who combined to complete 26 of 34 passes while leading a Ticats offence that was missing all kinds of key starters, including slotback Andy Fantuz and tailback CJ Gable.

A LONG RECORD OF FUTILITY: With this year's 3-15 regular-season record, the Bombers finished below .500 and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.

Put it together -- if you can stomach it -- and Winnipeg is 30-60 in the last five seasons, an appalling .333 winning percentage.

NOT EVEN CLOSE: In 2010, the Bombers finished 4-14, but there was at least some consolation to be drawn from the fact nine of their losses that year were by four points or less.

But Bombers fans didn't even get that as a consolation prize this year. Get this: Winnipeg's average loss in 2013 came by a margin of 16.7 points. That eye-popping margin is worse even than the margin of loss by that other 3-15 Bombers team in 1998, which lost by an average margin of 14.7 points.

FANS THE BEST PART OF THE BOMBERS: With Saturday's announced crowd of 26,316, the Bombers set a new franchise record in 2013 with an average attendance of 30,637.

That eclipses the previous record -- set in 2011 -- of 29,556 and is also well above the CFL average of 26,994 fans per game.

Which is a lot more than this team deserved, given how little the Bombers gave their loyal fans to cheer about. A Banjo Bowl win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in September stood up as the only Winnipeg win all season at Investors Group Field and the 2013 Bombers now become the first Winnipeg team since 2006 to have more wins on the road than at home.

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 3, 2013 B7

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