The Winnipeg Blue Bombers christened Investors Group Field Wednesday night and the early reviews of the 2013 edition of the home side might best be described by one phrase:
The Bombers fell 24-6 to the Toronto Argonauts in the first-ever game at Winnipeg’s spiffy new stadium and the visitors, even with star quarterback Ricky Ray back and 15 other starters back home in Toronto, looked every bit the defending Grey Cup champions.
The Bombers, on the other hand, still have plenty of work to do prior to their regular-season opener on 27th, right back at IGF, against the Montreal Alouettes.
Justin Palardy staked the Bombers to a 3-0 first-quarter lead with a 34-yard field goal, but the Argos scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, the first on a 20-yard run by Gerald Riggs, Jr., the second on a 10-yard TD strike from Zach Collaros to Trent Guy.
The Argos jumped ahead 17-3 on an Anthony Alix 12-yard field goal, but his next attempt was returned 91 yards by Jameze Massey to set up a Brett Cameron field goal from 37 yards. But the Argos answered immediately as quarterback Mitchell Gale connected with former Bomber Romby Bryant on a five-yard TD.
Buck Pierce started the game at quarterback for the Bombers and was 0-for-5 with an interception in three series of work. Max Hall relieved him with just over five minutes left in the opening quarter and drove the Bombers into position for Palardy’s second try of the game. His first, from 38 yards, was wide.
Hall exited after going seven for 15 for 69 yards and a pick before being replaced by Justin Goltz, who was two for two before Chase Clement came in to start the fourth quarter.
The Bombers wind up their preseason schedule next Thursday in Guelph against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.