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This article was published 19/10/2009 (4054 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Bombers starting pivot Michael Bishop drops the ball under a sack attack from the Lions' Korey Banks on Sunday. Bishop is tied for the league lead in fumbles this season, with seven.

TREVOR HAGAN / FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

Bombers starting pivot Michael Bishop drops the ball under a sack attack from the Lions' Korey Banks on Sunday. Bishop is tied for the league lead in fumbles this season, with seven.

Here's the thing about gunslingers: When they're on target, they can be deadly marksmen. But when they're not, well, sometimes the wrong things -- or people -- get all shot up in a bloody mess.

All of which is our clever attempt to segue into a conversation about Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Michael Bishop.

Bombers brass knew exactly what they were getting when they dusted him off in July and brought him in to jump-start a dormant offence -- an experienced, hard-throwing QB who fits in well with teammates and, if he can limit his own mistakes, can be a decent quick fix.

But the Bombers are also living now what all of Bishop's previous employers occasionally suffered through: His physical skills aside, the gunslinger in him means he doesn't always protect the ball well.

And here's the proof:

"ö In the five Bomber wins with Bishop as a starter, he has completed 59.1 per cent of his passes for 1,195 yards with eight touchdowns against four interceptions and an efficiency rating of 90.2.

"ö But in the six losses, he has completed just 47.1 per cent of his throws for 1,162 yards with three TDs and 12 interceptions and an efficiency rating of 46.3. As well, Bishop is tied for the CFL lead with seven fumbles, five lost.

In other words, when he's good, it's like the win over Hamilton on Thanksgiving. And when he's bad, it's like Sunday's disappointing loss to the Lions.

"Peaks and valleys and not a whole lot of just level," said head coach Mike Kelly in describing his QB. "I don't think I'm being disrespectful of Mike when I say that. Probably he would agree there. Mike's done an awful lot of good things for us and I believe in what we're all doing. Mike understands. And we just have to corral the stallion a little bit."

Kelly believes it's possible to have Bishop continue to work on protecting the ball better. But he was also disappointed in how the offence seemed to get away from what had worked in the three-game win streak and, not surprisingly, how many missed opportunities they gassed.

"I think, in a lot of facets of our game, we had a lot of guys wound real tight (Sunday) and maybe were trying to do too much," Kelly said. "And maybe Mike falls into that category a little bit. We all saw throws that we had receivers open -- a couple of them ridiculously wide open -- and we didn't complete the ball. Some of that has to do with Mike getting over-anxious and forgetting about his mechanics. Some of it has to do with Mike performing a little bit better in play action than he does as a true drop-back passer. And sometimes the ball just gets away from you when you've got an arm like that. All those things add up to what we saw yesterday.

"Realistically, it could have and should have -- and I hate saying that -- been a 35-0 ball game real early and we didn't capitalize on it. That's one of the things with a somewhat young football team."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca