Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Jul 26 2015, Page 18

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - July 26, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE B3 winnipegfreepress. com FOOTBALL WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SUNDAY, JULY 26, 2015 B 3 BOMBER RECAP Eskimos 32 Bombers 3 KEY PLAY It might not have made a lick of difference, but the Bombers were dead in the water after Drew Willy left the game midway through the third quarter with a leg injury. KEY PLAYER Eskimos QB James Franklin came off the bench to throw three TD passes, two to Adarius Bowman, in a spectacular show of relief work. ¥ Next game Home: B. C. Lions, Thursday, July 30 7: 30 p. m, TSN KEY STAT Winnipeg has now lost eight straight in Edmonton and is winless in the Alberta capital in its last nine. E DMONTON — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have a problem. And it’s not only that there are once again doubts about the status of Drew Willy after the No. 1 ace was dropped again after another questionable shot missed by a CFL officiating crew. No, their biggest problem is this: when Mike O’Shea & Co. pick up the scalpel and bone saw and begin the autopsy on their third loss of the season, a 32- 3 spanking in Edmonton by the Eskimos Saturday night, they really won’t know where to begin to determine cause of death. After all, the corpse wheeled out of Commonwealth Stadium was oozing life from countless wounds across all three phases — offence, defence and special teams — and that’s a gory scene Bomber fans have witnessed already this season. So when the body is somehow jolted back to life again for next week’s home date with the B. C. Lions — yup, get your tickets now — there will again be countless questions about its collective health and mental fragility after being embarrassed by a West Division foe which has owned them the last few years. It could be said the Bombers, now 2- 3, missed out on a glorious chance to grab a piece of first in the division after losses by Calgary and B. C. on Friday. But, truthfully, after this one they staggered back to their corner far more resembling pretenders than contenders. QB DOWN... AGAIN The Bombers were trailing 4- 3 in the third quarter of an absolute snoozefest when Willy was hit high by Eskimos defensive lineman Marcus Howard — and low by Eddie Steele. He spent several minutes on the turf before being helped off the field. Willy did not leave the sidelines, spending the rest of the game sitting on the trainer’s table with an ice bag wrapped around his right knee, and hobbled to the dressing room afterward. “ We’ll see the doctor and probably have to see him again ( today),” said O’Shea when asked for a health report on his starting QB. “ We’ll let you know as soon as we know.” Asked for his thoughts about the hit — remember Willy was injured earlier this year against Hamilton and Tiger- Cats defensive end Adrian Tracy was subsequently fined for his gruesome hit to the head on the play — O’Shea bit down hard before saying: “ I can’t answer that question. I’ll get fined.” As to the question on everyone’s lips after this one — why didn’t thirdstring QB Robert Marve get a shot at the controls with Brian Brohm struggling — he was just 9- of- 19 for 71 yards with two picks — O’Shea said his No. 3 pivot is still dealing with an injury and was dressed only because new fourthstring QB Dominique Davis doesn’t yet have a grasp of the offence. TEAM FOLDS... AGAIN Willy was hardly moving the Bomber offence up and down the field before his departure — he was just 7- of- 17 for 81 yards with no TDs or interceptions — but the club was still very much in the ball game. But, as was the case against the Tiger- Cats on July 2, the Bombers showed as much resiliency as a wet paper bag after Willy’s injury. Brohm’s first pass attempt landed at the feet of Clarence Denmark and, on the ensuing punt, the special teams unit gave up a 53- yard return by Kendial Lawrence to Winnipeg’s three- yard line. Jordan Lynch scampered in on the next play and the Bombers were wobbling like a punch- drunk tomato can. “ It’s just so disappointing,” said Matt Bucknor. “ We come in at halftime down one point... and then we just let things snowball with one big play after another. “ Drew’s a great player and we have a lot of great players. That’s why we’re a team: it’s never going to be one player that’s going to win us a game or lose a game. Of course, you never want to see a quarterback go down — or any player go down — but when that happens you have to step up.” IT RAINED, IT POURED... AND THE WEATHER SUCKED, TOO Willy’s injury wasn’t the only concern post- game. Slotback Nick Moore, the CFL’s leading receiver entering the game, didn’t take a snap in the second half. Right tackle Devin Tyler pulled up lame as did linebacker Graig Newman. But players are hurt in every game. And while Brohm struggled mightily in relief, again, the Eskimos responded positively with electrifying rookie QB James Franklin coming off the bench to replace a struggling Matt Nichols. He completed five of eight passes for 83 yards, three of them touchdowns. But it was that Bombers’ response, or lack thereof, which had steam coming out of Chris Randle’s ears. “ We need to handle adversity a little bit better,” said the veteran linebacker. “ This is the second case where our leader, our quarterback, went down and we didn’t respond the way we’re supposed to. “ We are a better team than what we ( showed) out there. I know we’re better than that. Now we’ve got to go out there and prove it. It’s about understanding the situation. Our leader went down so everyone’s level has to raise up. That just didn’t happen, on special teams, on defence, on the offensive line... but it has to. “ When our leader goes down it’s on everyone else to fill that void.” ed. tait@ freepress. mb. ca Twitter: @ WFPEdTait ESKIMOS 32 BLUE BOMBERS 3 JASON FRANSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS The Bombers were dropping like flies in Edmonton. Here, LB Tony Burnett is helped off the field. He returned to the game. Blue Bombers have countless problems By Ed Tait More than Willy to worry about JASON FRANSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Drew Willy hands off to Paris Cotton in first- half action at Commonwealth Stadium Saturday night. B_ 03_ Jul- 26- 15_ FP_ 01. indd B3 7/ 25/ 15 11: 51: 08 PM

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