Bombers hope to end losing ways in clash with Lions
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will try to bring an end to a three-game slide on Monday night as they pay a visit to the British Columbia Lions at BC Place.
Tied with Hamilton for last place in the Eastern Division standings with just a single win in five opportunities, the only victory coming against Montreal on the road back on July 4 by a score of 19-11. In every other contest the squad has given up at least 25 points, with 37 being permitted to the Calgary Stampeders in a 13-point setback the last time out on July 26.
Prior to that contest, Winnipeg held a players-only meeting in an effort to clear the air and get on track but it didn't help on the scoreboard.
Filling in for an injured Buck Pierce at quarterback, Justin Goltz threw a pair of touchdown passes to Jade Etienne in the first and second quarters, respectively, the receiver finishing with a total of three catches for just 18 yards. Goltz hit on just 19-of-35 passes for 194 yards, was picked off once and sacked three times as the team controlled the ball for less than 22 minutes.
Running back Chad Simpson, who finished with 13 carries for 73 yards, notched a two-yard scoring run in the fourth period.
Defensively, the Blue Bombers had no answer for Bo Levi Mitchell, a backup quarterback himself for the Stampeders, who missed on just four of his 33 pass attempts, leading to 376 yards and three majors. Jon Cornish was allowed to roam free as he not only registered a game-high 88 rushing yards on 16 carries, he also caught a game-high six passes for another 87 yards.
In the case of the Lions, they just played on Tuesday night against Toronto at Rogers Centre and based on the key injuries to Argos quarterback Ricky Ray and running back Chad Kackert, BC figured to have an edge even though it was on the road. Unfortunately, the visitors simply could not get their offense on track as they suffered a 38-12 defeat.
Filling in for Ray was Zach Collaros who threw a trio of TD passes, while subbing for Kackert was Curtis Steele who ran for 74 yards and two majors, not to mention coming up with a team-best five catches for another 35 yards.
The first half saw the Lions score just six points on a pair of short field goals by Paul McCallum. The kicker added two more field goals in the third frame, but clearly quarterback Travis Lulay was not finding his receivers with any regularity as the team saw a six-game win streak in the series versus Toronto come to an end.
Lulay, who finished the 2012 campaign with the second-best efficiency rating in the league at 100.7 as he completed close to two-thirds of his pass attempts, was in the same neighborhood versus the Argos as he converted 20- of-29 for 226 yards, but had one pass picked off and was sacked three times.
Nick Moore stepped up with six receptions for a game-high 116 yards, while Andrew Harris continued to assault defenses by generating a game-high 107 rushing yards on 16 attempts, but still neither was able to get into the end zone.
Harris, who ran for 1,112 yards on 187 carries a season ago, is now up to 403 yards on 70 attempts in 2013 thanks to a trio of 100-yard efforts.
Lulay and the offense suffered a significant setback late in the first quarter when guard Kirby Fabien, who earlier in the period recovered a teammate's fumble, went down with an apparent knee injury and was carted off the field. Fabien was taken to a local hospital for additional evaluation.
The least penalized team in the league after four weeks of play with a total of just 21 miscues, for a loss of 250 yards, the Lions were hit with a hefty 13 flags for a staggering 126 yards on Tuesday night, compared to just five penalties for 45 yards assessed to the Argonauts.
Last season, the teams kicked off the campaign against each other in British Columbia, with the hosts capturing a convincing 33-16 triumph. In Week 9 action, the Bombers made the game much more competitive before bowing in a 20-17 final at home.
Even with the sweep in 2012, the Lions still trail the all-time series between the teams, taking into account only regular-season bouts dating back to 1954, by a count of 83-73-2.
These two clubs are set to meet once more during the regular season in late September in Winnipeg.
07/31 11:45:09 ET