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Best of times, worst of times for Bombers

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Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce sits on the team bench during first half CFL action as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats take on the Blue Bombers in Guelph, Ont., Saturday.

AARON LYNETT / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce sits on the team bench during first half CFL action as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats take on the Blue Bombers in Guelph, Ont., Saturday.

The Blue Bombers landed in Winnipeg on Sunday morning, first in the CFL's east division but also last, tied with the competition and still wearing long faces from Saturday's stumbling loss.

After a night to reflect on how his squad managed to sack the Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris seven times and still lose 25-20 - though, to be fair, Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce was sacked six times too - Bombers coach Tim Burke was measured. It was the offence again, he said, that couldn't light up to help out defence that wore down from keeping the squad in the game.

The Bombers' passing plays couldn't shake the Tiger-Cats coverage. They tried to get receiver Chris Matthews - who has been cold for the first three weeks of the CFL season - involved, but those attempts fizzled out. The offensive line got beat in different ways, at different times. So there's a list of things - and it starts with getting Pierce a stronger bulwark. "The scheme's fine, but we have to do a better job," Burke said of his quarterback protection. "Technique-wise, No. 1 our guards have to play with better technique. On the two-linebacker blitz, we've got to pick it up."

Even the bright spots - those seven sacks, say - didn't give Burke a warm 'n' fuzzy feeling on Sunday. "I'm pleased and displeased with the defence," he said bluntly. "We did get to him. But we also allowed him in the fourth quarter... to extend plays and that's where all their passing yards came. We had him covered, there was nobody to throw to, and then we let him out of the pocket."

Burke also touched on the decision to give backup quarterback Justin Goltz more time on the field. "We're trying not to run the ball with Buck to keep him healthy," Burke said. While that means the Bombers do telegraph their plans when Goltz is behind center, "we're going to have to break our tendencies," the coach said.

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