GUELPH, Ont. — Well, you can’t say Tim Burke didn’t warn you.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach told reporters in Winnipeg earlier this week his decision to play mostly rookies in Thursday night’s pre-season game versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats could lead to the team getting "blasted."
By the end of a very long night at Alumni Stadium, there were probably more than a few Bombers fans who felt like getting blasted themselves Thursday night.
A 52-0 loss to the Ticats — in which Winnipeg failed, miserably, in all three aspects of the game — means the Bombers will head into their regular-season opener next Thursday against the Montreal Alouettes having been outscored in two pre-season losses by an eye-popping 76-6.
What didn’t work?
Good Lord, where to begin?
Well, the offence turned the ball over nine times in all and four times in the first half, including a pair of Justin Goltz interceptions — one of which was returned 115 yards for a touchdown as time ran out in the second quarter. By night’s end, the Bombers had thrown six interceptions, dropped two fumbles and turned the ball over on downs.
The special teams yielded a 76-yard punt return to end the first quarter.
The defence got shredded by Hamilton QB Henry Burris, who completed 13 of 17 attempts for 198 yards and two TDs in just two quarters of work.
Betcha Burke was thrilled
The always plain-spoken Bombers boss was blunt, as usual.
"If we were playing the little sisters of the poor, they’d have beat us."
Why shouldn’t a Blue Bombers fan give up right now?
Do what you want. We all have our burdens to carry.
But before you write these guys off just yet, remember that at least 22 of the players who started for Winnipeg on offence and defence last night will not be starting at Investors Group Field versus Montreal next week. Heck, lots of them won’t even be on the roster.
That’s all you got?
Well, there’s a few other things. Goltz — who will be Buck Pierce’s backup to start this season — threw two terrible interceptions.
But if you take those two bad throws away, Goltz actually wasn’t awful, putting together some drives, stringing some completions together and finishing his two quarters of work having completed 12 of 21 passes for 101 yards.
A few other things:
❚ The Bombers defence forced 12 two-and-outs.
❚ Bombers defensive linemen Jake Thomas and Freddie Harris both sacked Burris in the first half.
❚ Bombers receiver Jade Etienne continues to not look out of place, pulling down two more catches for 12 yards as he tries to wrestle a starting job away from Kito Poblah.
And Bombers receiver Brett Carter had three catches for 18 yards.
What about this Carter guy?
Good question. Burke said this week he doesn’t have room on his roster for Carter, but the 20-year-old former Winnipeg Rifles receiver followed up a strong performance against the Argos in a pre-season loss in Winnipeg last week with another strong game in Guelph.
The Bombers could do worse. Lots worse.
How’d Max Hall and Chase Clement play?
Clement threw almost as many interceptions — three — as he did completions — four. He finished the night a miserable 4-of-11 for 21 yards.
Hall was a little better, but that ain’t saying much, going 2-5 for 12 yards with on interception.