Justin Goltz is a football player, not a miracle worker.
And what emerged from a 37-24 loss to the Calgary Stampeders before a crowd of 31,567 at Investors Group Field Friday night is the 2013 Winnipeg Blue Bombers need a full-blown water-walker if they’re going to salvage a season that is already starting to spiral out of control at 1-4.
The Bombers’ offence under first-time starting quarterback Goltz looked much like it has under veteran starter Buck Pierce, which is to say inconsistent and ineffective.
But even worse was the performance of a Bombers defence that made Bo Levi Mitchell, Calgary’s first-time QB starter, look like a seasoned Hall of Famer instead of a starter as green as their own.
By night’s end, the fans were angry, the Bombers sideline looked utterly defeated and you had to wonder if it even matters who starts at QB for Winnipeg next weekend in B.C.
What about Goltz?
First, the good news. Goltz moved the Bombers’ offence as well as anyone has moved it this season so far. The bad news is Goltz managed to do it for a span of only about five minutes in the first half, during which he found young Jade Etienne in the end zone on back-to-back drives to give Winnipeg a brief lead.
The TD catches were Etienne’s first and second of his career and the short-lived 14-8 Bombers lead marked just the second time in their last eight games against Calgary that Winnipeg had a lead of any kind over the Stamps.
The Bombers extended two nasty losing streaks with last night’s loss to Calgary.
For starters, it was Winnipeg’s eighth straight loss to the Stampeders, a drought that goes all the way back to July 2009.
But at least as bad, it was also the third loss in a row at Investors Group Field — fourth if you count the pre-season — as Winnipeg continues to look for its first win in its shiny, new $200-million football palace.
Will the real Winnipeg defence please stand up?
Remember back in Week 2 in Montreal when the Winnipeg defence authored one of the Top 15 stingiest defensive performances in the CFL of the last two decades? The game was Winnipeg’s lone win this season.
Remember how people thought at the time that this 2013 defence had the makings of a game-breaker, the kind of unit that could drag the team to a championship game all on their own?
Yeah, never mind. Because that same defence followed up a lousy performance in a loss to Toronto last week with an even worse performance last night against Calgary — all of it suggesting it was the strong performance against Montreal, not the weak one against Toronto, that was the anomaly.
The numbers speak for themselves: Playing against a third-stringer in Bo Levi Mitchell, the Bombers defence gave up 482 yards of offence.
Adding insult to injury
Calgary placekicker Rene Parades, whom the Bombers cut in training camp in 2011, set the all-time CFL record for consecutive field goals with his first two FGs last night to get to 31 in a row.
Then Parades added three more FGs to finish the night 5-5 and run his string to 34 field goals in a row.
Things just get tougher from here for the Bombers, who play next in Vancouver on Aug. 5 against a Lions team that is 16-2 in their last 18 games at BC Place.