The Winnipeg Blue Bombers collapse led to their elimination at the hands of the B.C. Lions on Sunday afternoon. Now they are left to pick up the pieces and look towards next season.
They might, however, be haunted by the decisions that were made near the end of the game. Decisions like having Matt Nichols throw the ball on their last second down rather than let Andrew Harris run. Or like having Justin Medlock try to kick a 61-yard field goal on third down, when the offence was more than capable to pick up the four yards needed.
Mike O’Shea’s decision making process is seemingly tied to his days as a special teams coordinator. Not many people would doubt Medlock’s ability to kick long field goals, but time and again this season, Nichols and the offence were more than capable of creating plays on short yardage and pick up first downs when necessary.
Sometimes a risk needs to be taken; fortune, as they say, favours the bold. But this decision will be analyzed, dissected, and criticized all off-season. Hopefully it will lead to some changes in the way O’Shea handles things in the future.
The Blue Bombers were up by 19 points through halftime, their defence making the big plays early on. It looked like they’d hang on and add a few points, punching their ticket to Calgary for the West Final. It wasn’t meant to be, as Jonathon Jennings and the Lions managed to erase the deficit and lead by one point with less than a minute to go in the game.
It seems the Lions are at their best with the backs to the wall, rising to the occasion. Manny Arceneaux, in a post-game scrum said it best: “No one gave us a chance.” With their comeback, the Lions face the Stampeders in the West Final. The Blue Bombers have little to do but empty their lockers, and contemplate what could have been.