They have lost their first game in seven weeks.
They were held to just seven points.
Simply put, they self-destructed.
For the first time this season, Winnipeg’s defense was not there to pick up what has been a struggling offense all season.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were held to only 232 passing yards and no touchdowns. Running back Fred Reid ran for 35 yards on 14 carries.
Sunday afternoon may spell the end of ‘Swaggerville’ as the defense gave up three touchdowns, their coverage was lacking and several big plays were given.
This is the defense that leads the league in sacks at 31 and has sack leader Odell Willis who leads with nine. Both were made to look average Sunday afternoon.
Through all the bad, however, there was some good for Winnipeg as rookie receiver and first overall in the supplemental draft, Kito Poblah, made his much anticipated return early and will cost the Bombers his salary but a move that is worth the change.
Returning on the day, Poblah caught nine catches for 89 yards, his longest on the day being a 25 yard gain. This was what the Bombers drafted Poblah for and look forward to more production from the young receiver.
Will Winnipeg Finish First in the East?
The work the rest of the offense put in, however, was lacking, for the most part.In his second straight start, Greg Carr contributed 42 yards on two catches, and Canadian Cory Watson had five for 41.
For Saskatchewan, their win came at no better time than Sunday. Losing seven of eight games and sitting at the bottom of the league, their win puts them in a temporary tie with Toronto.
Darian Durant was given the go-ahead from interim head coach Ken Miller to call the majority of his own plays and that paid dividends.
Chris Getzlaf caught two passes for 51 yards and two touchdowns on the night. Dallas Baker led all receivers with 82 yards on four catches.
This is a team that has won the last six Labour Day Classics before Sunday’s match-up and will head to Winnipeg next Sunday looking to make it two in a row; something they’ve done well at over years past.
The ‘swagger’ that Winnipeg has ran with for most of the season should by all means come to an end. It was a good ride that they enjoyed along with the fans, but it has hampered their ability to stay focused.
During their game against Hamilton, one that they almost lost, the defense was made to look average and was not the power defense most fans were accustomed to see in weeks past.
Can Hamilton Finish First?
Their schedule doesn’t get easier. Looking ahead after Saskatchewan in the Banjo Bowl, they will travel to play the Montreal Alouettes, who they play twice in three weeks as well as a game against Toronto.
If Winnipeg wants to keep their place atop the East division, they will need to focus their attention back to the field, look at the finer details and get back to the basics.
Hamilton is poised to get the respect they feel they deserve and will look to take out Montreal and Winnipeg and claim first place before season end unless Winnipeg smartens up.