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This article was published 7/9/2016 (1866 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Captain Obvious would suggest the Winnipeg Blue Bombers — and any other football team worth their weight in salt — prefers sixes over threes.
It’s only natural touchdowns are far more desirable than field goals in football. Six points is always better than three — the math is simple.
The local football club isn’t claiming any different intentions than what the eight other CFL teams have on offence.
The field goals have been nice, even game-winning at times, and they’d love to score more touchdowns and increase their red-zone efficiency (in the lower half of the league), but all the work Justin Medlock has been receiving recently (he’s kicked 13 fields goals in the last two games) means one thing: a productive offence that is consistently moving into scoring position.
"On offence, we’re not going two-and out — we’re sustaining drives," said Bombers receiver Ryan Smith, who has missed the last six weeks due to injury but will suit up against his former club when the Saskatchewan Roughriders visit for the Banjo Bowl Saturday. "Sometimes we get three instead of seven, but hey, we’re still putting points up in the board and that’s all you can ask for. If we can turn those three into seven, that’s kind of the next step that we need to take."
The Bombers offence hasn’t been world-beating during their five-game winning streak — far from it. Quarterback Matt Nichols’ numbers through five games are similar to the output from fellow pivot Drew Willy during his five-game stint at the beginning of the season, save for Nichols touchdown-to-interception ratio — an important aspect — which the current starting pivot is winning by a landslide.
Nichols understands the need to find pay dirt, suggesting two or three of their red-zone opportunities should be converted into majors every game. Since taking the reins, Nichols and the Bombers offence are 7 for 16 in red-zone opportunities or 44 per cent. The league average through 11 weeks of the CFL season is 54 per cent.
"That’s why we’ve been in some of these close games over the past couple of weeks," Nichols said. "If we can just put some of those touchdowns in, we can be pulling ahead in the fourth quarter."
Even in victory, Nichols took the blame for the razor-thin margin of victory over the Riders in the Labour Day Classic, admitting he missed a couple of targets in the end zone that would have avoided an excitment-filled final minute Sunday afternoon.
"I missed Weston (Dressler) a couple of times with throws," he said, suggesting the lack of the duo’s time together on the field played a part in the missed chances. "Those things just come down to reps."
Getting away with seven field goals against the 1-9 Riders is one thing, but replicating the effort against top teams such as the Calgary Stampeders or B.C. Lions may not have the same result, according to running back Andrew Harris.
"Touchdowns are the focus, field goals won’t always make the cut," Harris said. "We got to clean that up. We need to get better in that aspect, focusing on the little details."
Nichols, meanwhile, told reporters Wednesday his team found a new way to win at the Labour Day Classic, perhaps a result that would have evaded them in the past.
"Those are games I felt that we found ways to lose last year," Nichols said. "I think we have that confidence that we’re supposed to come out on top. When things start to go against us — they had a couple quick touchdowns, two-point conversions and a punt return for a touchdown — there was no panic on our sideline. The guys knew we had time to go out there and get it done. You could feel everyone thought that way.
"It was a different feeling than in the past, where you were waiting and hoping you didn’t lose. We knew we were going to find a way to win… it something you see in great teams."