By Kyle Jahns (@KyleJahns)
WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers gave their fans exactly what they expected in their final regular season game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Unfortunately, that expected result was a 37-7 blowout loss in front of an announced crowd of 26,316.
“This has got to be the most painful season, just because you know, looking at the guys we have in the locker room and the camaraderie we have, for us to continually go out there and put forth performances like today,” said Blue Bombers offensive lineman Glenn January. “This is our job and whenever you’re failing at your job on a national stage it is extremely, extremely painful and it’s tough to deal with.”
The Bombers opened the scoring with a field goal and would hold a 6-3 lead early in the second quarter. However, the Ti-Cats clawed through a beaten Bomber team for the remainder of the game, putting up 34 more points while the Bombers could only muster a single from punter Mike Renaud.
There were plenty of big plays, but most of them came at the expense of the home team. Ti-Cats running back Chevon Walker scampered for a 70-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, finishing the game with 116-yards on 11 carries.
Winnipeg drove into Hamilton territory late in the fourth quarter and attempted to put up a major score in their last game of the regular season. Quarterback Max Hall attempted a pass into the end zone to Clarence Denmark but the Ti-Cats snagged the ball for the interception.
Hall was good on 18 of his 35 pass attempts and accumulated 160 yards, giving up one interception. Second-string quarterback Jason Boltus took some snaps in the fourth quarter but was ultimately ineffective, making no completions on three attempts and threw an interception that put a good chunk of Bombers fans on their feet and heading for the exits of Investors Group Field.
The loss cements Winnipeg with a league-worst 3-15 record and leaves many players and staff looking forward to improving during the off-season.
“We all had expectations of leaving here in December. So I mean, we’re playing the cards we’re dealt,” said Bombers defensive back Brandon Stewart. “You know, we had a bad season, no sugar coating it. So you’ve just got to work in the offseason and see where it goes from there.”
Bombers head coach Tim Burke said he and the coaching staff will evaluate the roster, determine which players they will protect in the upcoming dispersal draft and prepare for improving next season.