November 14, 2018

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Record: 10–8–0

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Blue Bomber Report (10–8–0)

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Defence hopes to learn from mistakes

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Adam Bighill: “It’s all about execution”</p></p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Adam Bighill: “It’s all about execution”

It’s akin to a receiver dropping a sure touchdown pass, a kicker sailing a last-second field goal wide or a quarterback tossing an interception on a last-chance drive to victory.

Surrendering a late touchdown is excruciating for the men on defence.

Last Sunday, Winnipeg kicker Justin Medlock booted a 40-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to pull the Blue Bombers to within a point (24-23) of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Neither team had much success moving the football for the next five minutes — that is until the hosts took possession at their own 41-yard line with just 2:34 to go.

Riders quarterback Zach Collaros orchestrated a six-play scoring drive, highlighted by strikes to receivers Naaman Roosevelt and Jordan Williams-Lambert and capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Nick Marshall.

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It’s akin to a receiver dropping a sure touchdown pass, a kicker sailing a last-second field goal wide or a quarterback tossing an interception on a last-chance drive to victory.

Surrendering a late touchdown is excruciating for the men on defence.

Last Sunday, Winnipeg kicker Justin Medlock booted a 40-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to pull the Blue Bombers to within a point (24-23) of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Neither team had much success moving the football for the next five minutes — that is until the hosts took possession at their own 41-yard line with just 2:34 to go.

Riders quarterback Zach Collaros orchestrated a six-play scoring drive, highlighted by strikes to receivers Naaman Roosevelt and Jordan Williams-Lambert and capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Nick Marshall.

Some missed assignments by the Winnipeg secondary and shoddy open-field tackling paved the way for a major score that solidified Saskatchewan’s 13th triumph in the last 14 tries in the annual Labour Day Classic.

Four days later, the initial sting of not getting the job done has been replaced by a determination to clamp down, not just with the game on the line, but from the opening kickoff.

"That’s on our shoulders to preserve the lead. Those things do get frustrating, so we have to learn from it and be better," said linebacker Adam Bighill, who led the team with eight tackles Sunday. "We believe we have the right guys in the room with the right mentality, the kind of pros that are going to improve and get better. We have the right coaches with the schemes and detail that will get us to the level where we want to be.

"It’s all about execution. Our expectation is flawless execution. We know perfection is never going to be attainable, but we need to keep working toward that goal of being as perfect as possible."

Remove the decisive drive out of the equation, and the Bombers’ defence was relatively sound. The unit allowed 341 yards, including 91 on the ground. Collaros, meanwhile, made good on 18 of 30 passes for 250 yards and just one TD. But there’s no way to completely erase the memory of being unable to snuff out the final drive, so you learn from it, defensive back Chris Randle said.

"It’s not necessarily a motivating thing, it’s more an awareness thing. It’s like, ‘What could I have done better? What led to that situation? What can I do to fix it?’" Randle said. "We’re not dwelling on mistakes, we’re trying to learn from them."

The Bombers (5-6) are fourth in the West Division, and haven’t loss three straight games since the final three weeks of the 2015 season.

Saskatchewan (6-4) has won three consecutive games and shares second place in the West with the Edmonton Eskimos (6-5). Both teams trail the 9-1 Calgary Stampeders, while the B.C. Lions occupy the basement at 3-6.

jason.bell@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @WFPJasonBell

 

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Assistant sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).

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History

Updated on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at 10:59 PM CDT: Updates

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