WINNIPEG — Terrence Edwards leads the CFL with eight receiving touchdowns.
Fred Reid tops all running backs with 909 yards rushing.
Defensive end Phillip Hunt has a league-high 10 sacks.
So why are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers struggling with a 3-8 record?
“I keep asking that,” Edwards said Thursday as the Bombers prepared to host the Montreal Alouettes today (TSN, 6 p.m.).
“I can’t even put a finger on it. In (five losses), we’ve been competitive. We’ve been right there in the game and had a chance to win. We just, for some reason, do something to derail us from winning, whether it’s a penalty, a dropped ball, an interception, a fumble.”
The Bombers have lost five games by seven or fewer points. They’re six points behind East Division foes Toronto and Hamilton and because they’ve lost the season series with both, their only chance at making the playoffs may be through the crossover in the West.
Montreal (8-3) tops the East Division standings.
“When we start eliminating those (mistakes), we’ll start winning some of those close games,” said Edwards, who is also second in receiving yardage with 959.
Reid said the top stats he, Edwards and Hunt have produced just show football is a team sport.
“It all comes down to everybody doing their part and everybody knowing their assignments and knowing what they’re doing before we can execute,” Reid said. “It’s not a one-man thing.
“All together, everybody has to be on the same page.”
Montreal head coach Marc Trestman has his own theory on Winnipeg’s woes.
“They’ve done reasonably well at home and they haven’t done well on the road,” Trestman said of the Bombers, whose victories have all come at home. “They’re in a first-year program.
“There’s, I think, a really fine head coach (in Paul LaPolice) who’s in the process of molding his football team and every team goes in different ways at different times.”
Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo isn’t taking the Bombers lightly.
“They’re not a normal team that’s only won a few games,” Calvillo said. “They are tough.
“Defensively, they bring a lot of different looks and, basically, their front seven, they’re beasts. Those guys at the end (Hunt and Odell Willis) can do a lot of damage and we respect them so much, so it’s going to be a challenge for the guys at the front.”
Calvillo knows firsthand the damage Willis can cause. It was the second-year Bomber who sacked Calvillo on Aug. 19 and sent him to the sidelines for two games with a bruised sternum.
“It was a freak play that happened,” Willis said, adding he’s glad Calvillo wasn’t seriously injured. “I didn’t try to cause no hurt on him.
“Like I said, it’s football. Injuries happen all the time and we just want to come out and keep playing. If he’s out there suited up, I’m sorry if he gets sacked and hurt. My bad, but I’m just doing my job. He gets paid to throw touchdowns and complete passes, I get paid to make tackles and sack quarterbacks.”
Willis, who was wearing a practice jersey with “Whatchoo Talkin Bout Willis” on the back, then laughed as he added it might be time the 38-year Calvillo goes home because “maybe he’s getting too old.”
When told of Willis’s observation, Calvillo smiled.
“They’re all saying that,” Calvillo said. “They’ve been saying that for the past few years.
“I’ve been hit many different ways and harder and it was just one of those fluke things that happened. And one day, the wish will come true — I will hang it up. But it won’t be tomorrow, I’ll tell you that.”
Calvillo led the Als to a 31-14 victory over Edmonton in his return to action last week. He said he wasn’t happy with his reads and hopes to improve against Winnipeg.
One of his targets will be slotback Ben Cahoon, who has a little bit more motivation to make catches these days. The 13-year veteran is five receptions away from 1,000 in his career, and needs 12 to surpass the CFL career record held by Terry Vaughn (1,006).
“It represents a lot of hard work and sacrifice by a lot of teammates,” Cahoon said. “You can’t do anything out here on your own.
“I’m grateful to have played this long and played with a great team and a great quarterback and great teammates.”
NOTES — Six-foot-six Bomber receiver Greg Carr will make his CFL debut Friday. Either Chris Davis or Adarius Bowman will take up another receiver spot . . . Montreal cornerback LeRoy Vann will be on the roster and should return some kicks. He was released by the San Francisco 49ers last month . . . Alouette Jamal Richardson leads the CFL with 68 catches … Just under 24,000 tickets had been sold by Thursday afternoon.