December 13, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
BUCK PIERCE had some advice Friday night for his long-suffering former teammates.
The B.C. Lions backup QB -- who, of course, played in Winnipeg for three-plus seasons until being traded a few weeks ago -- was clearly dealing with some mixed feelings as he emerged from Investors Group Field Friday night after his new team had shellacked his former team, 53-17.
Pierce was asked if he felt sorry for his former Bombers teammates.
"I know the struggle. We've all been there. It's a tough time right now," Pierce replied. "I hope they can pull themselves up and continue to fight. I know those guys in that locker-room are fighters and I want them to look at each other in that locker-room and just continue to fight."
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The Bombers gambled Friday they'd finally be able to get a running game going if they went with three American offensive linemen -- a rarity at a position usually played by Canadians.
So how'd that turn out? Well, Winnipeg mustered 19 yards on the ground in the first half with Americans Glenn January, Dan Knapp and Jarvis Jones joining Canadians Justin Sorenson and Chris Greaves on the O-line.
Knapp sat out the second half with an injury and was replaced by Canadian Chris Kowalczuk, but the picture looked the same -- Winnipeg added 13 more yards on the ground in the second half and finished the game with a laughable 32 total rushing yards.
"Obviously, after our offensive performance tonight, there's nowhere to go but up," said January.
"I've got pride and it sucks losing like that," said Sorenson. "I gave my all out there. I gave a 100 per cent and this just sucks. I don't know what else to say -- no one likes being bottom of the barrel, right?"
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Lost a bit in the lopsided score of a game in which B.C. dominated from the first play from scrimmage was the fact the Bombers defence played reasonably well, yielding just 202 yards total passing, while forcing two turnovers and sacking Leo quarterbacks three times.
While some of that must be tempered by the fact injured starter Travis Lulay did not play, it's at least a small silver lining on a night when nothing else went right for Winnipeg.
"Our defence played pretty decent throughout the whole game," said linebacker Ian Wild. "We were put in tough spots a lot throughout the whole game. And I think that's what showed up on the scoreboard.
"But overall, I thought we did a pretty decent job against the B.C. offence. We forced a lot of two-and-outs and overall, played pretty consistently."
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The Bombers have now lost 10 of their last 11 and take a three-game losing streak into McMahon Stadium, where Winnipeg hasn't won since 2002 and where Calgary has won 11 of their last 12 regular-season games.
On the plus side, the Saskatchewan Roughriders -- and their always delightful fans -- will now have to wrestle with the fact they are the only team in the CFL not to win at Investors Group Field in 2013.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 29, 2013 B3