Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Injury-decimated Bombers lose 33-16 to Lions

  • Print

VANCOUVER -- Want to know what happens when four of your team’s five starting offensive linemen have the grand total of three CFL starts between them, and your opponent in the regular-season opener is the defending Grey Cup champion B.C. Lions?

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers learned the answer in the most punishing way possible here at BC Place Friday night, as Winnipeg starting quarterback Buck Pierce was sacked four times and did not even see the end of the first half of the first game of the 2012 season before he was sidelined with an apparent knee injury.

The final score in the game -- a 33-16 victory for the Lions -- was actually closer for a while than many were expecting in a game in which an already injury-decimated Winnipeg lineup was a heavy underdog. The Bombers were trailing just 16-10 heading into the fourth quarter, but a 59-yard punt return by the Lions’ Tim Brown early in the fourth quarter -- and a Bombers roughing penalty -- got B.C. to the Winnipeg 18-yard line. Three plays later, B.C. quarterback Travis Lulay scrambled for an eight-yard TD run, Lulay’s second rushing TD of the night.

That gave B.C. a 23-10 cushion at the time, more than enough on a night when the Bombers mustered just 51 yards of net offence in the first half and just 204 overall -- much of that coming on a late, meaningless TD drive -- in what was a horrendous debut for the much-anticipated new Winnipeg offensive scheme being implemented by new offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton.

As expected, Lions slotback Geroy Simon set the all-time CFL record for receiving yards, hauling down a 56-yard Lulay pass at 10:03 of the fourth quarter to vault him over the previous record-holder, former Bombers slotback Milt Stegall.

What no one was expecting Friday night, however -- although you could argue everyone should have been expecting it, given the woeful state of the Bombers offensive line -- was that the man the Bombers were counting on leading them to the long-awaited promised land of a Grey Cup this season would go down fewer than 30 minutes into the regular season.

The severity of Pierce’s knee injury wasn’t immediately clear last night. Officially, club spokesman Darren Cameron would only describe it as a "lower-body injury."

Sources indicated late last night that Pierce will be examined by doctors in Winnipeg today, but the club is cautiously optimistic he may have suffered only a knee bruise.

It’s not the first time Pierce has hurt his right knee. On July 16, 2010, Pierce hurt his right knee in a 28-7 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and missed three games before returning in mid-August.

The Bombers had to play last night without both of their projected starting offensive tackles for this season when Glenn January was a surprise scratch at game time. January has been hobbled with a leg injury for weeks, but unlike the Bombers' other injured starting offensive tackle, Andre Douglas, he made the trip to Vancouver and said as late as Thursday that he would start.

With January and Douglas both out and the Bombers offensive line already a major reconstruction work after the off-season departures of guard Brendan LaBatte and centre Obby Khan, the Bombers fielded an offensive line Friday night with first-time CFL starters Jordan Taormina and Paul Swiston at tackles, another first-time CFL starter in Chris Kowalczuk at centre, while Chris Greaves and his three career starts lined up at guard.

Only veteran guard Steve Morley had meaningful CFL experience last night and that wasn’t nearly enough against a B.C. front seven even Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice acknowledged this week was maybe the toughest in the CFL.

Pierce initially came up limping after B.C.’s third sack midway through the second quarter when he was crushed by B.C. tackle Eric Taylor.

Pierce returned for the next offensive series, but was crushed again, this time by Lions end Keron Williams. Pierce stayed in one more play, throwing an incomplete pass, and did not return again. Pierce finished just 3-9 for 11 yards.

Bombers backup Alex Brink entered the game for the final series of the first half and came out firing in the second half, leading the Bombers early in the third quarter on a seven-play, 47-yard drive that finished with Bombers slotback Terrence Edwards going up high in the end zone for a 14-yard TD catch -- the first Bombers major of the 2012 season.

The Bombers play again next Friday in Montreal against the Alouettes.

History

Updated on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 9:56 PM CDT: Updates after first quarter played

10:37 PM: Updates after the first half

11:27 PM: Updates after third quarter

12:31 AM: Updates with full game story

12:58 AM: Adds more information about Pierce injury, corrects Bombers' total yards to 204.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Gary Lawless & Ed Tait try not to bleeping cry over the woesome Jets

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- WINTER FILE. Snowboarder at Stony Mountain Ski Hill. November 14, 2006.
  • Goslings with some size head for cover Wednesday afternoon on Commerce Drive in Tuxedo Business Park - See Bryksa 30 Goose Challenge- Day 12- May 16, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you get out and vote for a new mayor and council?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google