Canadian Football League

     === Montreal plays final tune-up before beginning postseason push ===
 Winnipeg, MB (Sports Network) - With the postseason no longer a possibility,
 the Winnipeg Blue Bombers finish out the string as they meet up with the
 Montreal Alouettes in the regular-season finale on Saturday afternoon at Canad
 Inns Stadium.
 By virtue of their loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last weekend, 28-18, the
 Blue Bombers took themselves out of playoff contention as they dropped their
 second game in the last three outings. Even though it doesn't have any bearing
 on the immediate future, the Bombers are having trouble identifying their
 starting quarterback for this week with Buck Pierce being sidelined.
 Obviously, the Blue Bombers would like to finish a disappointing season on a
 positive note, but they are also using this opportunity to assess their
 current talent and figure out what their needs might be moving forward.
 Not only does Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke have to make a decision between
 Alex Brink or Joey Elliott as his starter this weekend, he also has to sort
 out how much playing time key performers need and when/if he can insert others
 who are further down on the depth chart. One of those players would be
 quarterback Justin Goltz who has a grand total of just nine pass attempts
 since joining the Bombers back in 2010.
 Judging by how erratic the offense has been this season for the Blue Bombers,
 due to injury more than anything else, the question might be why would Burke
 put anyone out there who isn't 100 percent healthy. With nothing on the line,
 this is a perfect opportunity to see Goltz and others in actual game
 conditions rather than the preseason where the talent level fluctuates greatly
 from week to week and team to team.
 After 17 games the Bombers are last in the league in overall passing with
 4,308 yards and have far more interceptions (22) than aerial touchdowns (16),
 resulting in just a 74.8 efficiency rating.
 Over on the other side,	Montreal has come on strong with three straight wins
 and five victories in the least seven outings. The Alouettes have played well
 enough to seal up the top spot in the East Division with a record of 11-6,
 thanks mostly to the exploits of quarterback Anthony Calvillo yet again.
 In the narrow 27-25 home win over Edmonton last weekend, Calvillo completed
 21-of-35 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns, although he was also picked
 off twice. Backup quarterback Adrian McPherson contributed to the scoring with
 his one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter as well.
 While it wasn't quite enough to alter the outcome, the Montreal defense went
 to sleep in the fourth quarter as they gave up three touchdowns as backup
 quarterback Matt Nichols converted just nine of his 15 pass attempts for a
 huge 230 yards and all three scores.
 With his effort against the Eskimos, Calvillo reached 5,000 passing yards for
 the season, the first player in league history to reach that lofty total in
 seven different seasons during his career. Calvillo, who currently has the
 most passing yards in the league and leads Hamilton's Henry Burris by 212
 yards heading into the final week of the season, could also tie Doug Flutie
 with a total of five seasons in which he has paced the league in passing, one
 behind the record held by both Ron Lancaster and Sam Etcheverry.
 However, now comes word that the Alouettes plan to sit Calvillo since they've
 already carved out their spot in the playoffs, which means McPherson will be
 the primary under center for Montreal against Winnipeg.
 Even though the two teams might not have anything to really play for this
 week, some individual players do have some goals that they can achieve, one of
 them being Montreal receiver Jamel Richardson. While a recap of the game
 between the Als and Eskimos notes that Richardson has eclipsed the 1,000-yard
 receiving mark for the fifth straight year, there seems to be a few
 discrepancies from several sources.
 Richardson's own stats say he caught three passes for 44 yards to give him 59
 grabs for 993 yards for the season, but the stats released by the league
 earlier this week state that he is ninth in the league in receiving yards with
 998 yards on 60 catches. Needless to say, it might be prudent to leave no
 doubt and for McPherson to get the ball to Richardson several times just to be
 These two squads met up less than a month ago in Montreal where the Blue
 Bombers slipped by with a 27-22 victory in order to snap a two-game slide in
 the series. Nevertheless, the Als still own a 45-35-2 edge, taking into
 consideration only regular-season bouts, dating back to 1946.
 10/31 11:31:14 ET

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