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Tait: Blue Bombers unleash rallying cry ahead of Redblacks game

But team must remember old CFL mantra that 'no lead is safe.'

The Blue Bombers celebrate their 41-40 come-from-behind victory over the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday night at Investors Group Field.

Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press / CP

The Blue Bombers celebrate their 41-40 come-from-behind victory over the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday night at Investors Group Field.

Four days after the fact — after one of the greatest comebacks in Winnipeg Blue Bombers history — football fans in this town are still buzzing.

The Bombers remarkable 41-40 victory over the Montreal Alouettes last Thursday, a game in which they trailed by 12 points with 95 seconds remaining before rallying for two late touchdowns, is the kind of performance that can resonate for eons with the fan base and also change a season.

Winnipeg is 3-2 now and still very much in the picture in the super-competitive West Division, where it could be argued the five best teams in the CFL all reside.

A win like that can galvanize a team, and confirm to the collective the old CFL mantra that "no lead is safe."

What it shouldn't do, however, is mask some of the deficiencies have plagued the squad through the first five games of the season. Look, for all their ups and downs this season, the offence and special teams have done enough to not be a worry through the 3-2 start.

But a defence hampered by injuries and searching for the right personnel combination, particularly in the secondary, is a concern — even after a win like last Thursday's over Montreal.

"If you're asking me about the goal-line stand (the Bombers stuffed Montreal on two cracks to start the fourth quarter), I think it was bloody awesome," said Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea when asked about the defensive effort against Montreal after the team returned to practice on Monday.

"If you're asking about something else, obviously, there's some areas we need to work on. To a man, they want to two-and-out them (make the opponent punt) in the fourth when they ran the ball on us five or six times in a row for 90 yards. They recognize on film what they did wrong and how they can fix it and how they could have got off the field sooner and given the ball back to the offence even sooner than they did. But they also understand that it's a team game and there will be times they will be called upon. They'll be better."

The Bombers rank eighth in points against, yards per game and passing yards per game.

Part of that is the byproduct of a secondary in a constant flux and a linebacking corps that has missed both Ian Wild and Moe Leggett for much of the last two games. But this is also a crew works by a "Next Man Up" philosophy and that injuries will never be floated as an excuse or a crutch.

It's the only approach they can take. The Ottawa RedBlacks are up next Friday night in the nation's capital. And they could care less if the Bomber defence is healthy or banged up after an assortment of hurts.

That's how pro sports works, after all. The Bombers see their defence as a work in progress. Their opponents, meanwhile, are hungry and eager to pounce on a defence they see slathered in barbecue sauce.
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Ed Tait is the Blue Bombers Director of Content. His columns appear
weekly in the Metro. Follow him daily at bluebombers.com.

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