Riders play a happy tune after humbling Bombers
Banjo Bowl offers no deliverance for Winnipeg
Call it the revenge of the "banjo pickin' inbreds," if you like, but it was a lousy effort all around by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers that sent the Saskatchewan Roughriders home as easy 55-10 winners on Sunday.
Yes, it was Banjo Bowl 6 — a promotional vehicle that has worked well for the Bombers since former kicker Troy Westwood made his infamous comments about the people of Saskatchewan before a playoff game in 2003.
And there was a sell-out crowd in Winnipeg hoping the home team would come up with a decent effort.
"I feel bad for the players," Bombers head coach Mike Kelly said. "That may seem like a weird statement, but I know how hard they work every day."
"It was very, very embarrassing," Winnipeg defensive end Gavin Walls said. "I almost want to walk out of here with a bag on my head."
Barrin staying put: report
A source tells The Canadian Press the Bombers placed Barrin Simpson on the nine-game injured list on Sunday. The linebacker, who's nursing a turf toe injury, asked to be traded last week after the Bombers decided to reduce his playing time.
By going on the injured list, Simpson will finish the season as a Blue Bomber and receive the remainder of his salary in full. However, Winnipeg won't have to count it against the league mandated $4.2-million salary cap.
The Bombers, who seem to have an off-field distraction every week — this time it was linebacker Barrin Simpson asking for a trade — commited eight turnovers and fell to 3-7 on the season. They are tied with Toronto for third in the Eastern Conference.
Saskatchewan moved to 6-4, tied for first in the West, having taken both ends of the home-and-home with Winnipeg. The Riders had only won three times in Manitoba going back to 1991.
Starting quarterback Michael Bishop was booed off the field halfway through the third quarter by the Bombers' faithful, having completed nine of 19 passes for 98 yards and one interception. He was also sacked twice.
Brian Randall came in for Winnipeg and his first pass, under pressure, was tipped at the line, went up in the air and settled in the hands of the Riders' Tad Kornegay.
Randall later threw another interception and Bishop came in to finish up.
"Our defence played so well and we got pressure on the quarterbacks, whomever they happened to be," Saskatchewan head coach Ken Miller said. "And we got the Blue Bomber offence out of rhythm. Except for the Fred Reid touchdown, we were able to manage the run."
Durant earns early rest
Darian Durant ran an effective, balanced offence for the Riders, tossing 18 completions in 36 tries for 225 yards with one touchdown pass and an interception.
He was out of the game with 11 minutes to go, pads off and watching his backup, Steven Jyles, work the rest of the way.
Durant didn't throw the most spectacular touchdown of the day.
That was provided in the third quarter by receiver Jason Armstead who, after a double reverse, fired one downfield to the goal line that Andy Fantuz caught in double coverage for the score.
Forgettable first half for Bombers
Winnipeg matched an opening touchdown toss by Durant to Wes Cates with a 35-yard scamper by the CFL's leading rusher, Fred Reid, for a 7-7 tie.
The Bombers then turned the ball over four times and the Riders took advantage for 18 points.
"That was just a good old-fashioned whipping, I guess you could say," said Cates, who scored three touchdowns. "They really didn't help themselves out. They had way too many turnovers."
Durant hustled in off a nice play action for his third rushing touchdown of the year to make it 18-7, then after a fumble the quarterback found Cates on a little flip to make it 26-7 with the convert at the half.
Bishop was just seven-of-19 for 89 yards and an interception in the opening 30 minutes.