Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke says an abdominal injury QB Buck Pierce sustained in a 35-19 loss to the Toronto Argonauts Friday night -- and not Pierce's play in the first half -- was the reason the Bombers starter was replaced by backup Justin Goltz to start the second half.
"He sustained an abdominal injury late in the second quarter. He was able to keep playing and at halftime we looked at him and thought he'd be able to continue to play in the second half. When he got out there and started warming up, we decided he wouldn't be able to go," Burke told reporters following Friday night's game at Investors Group Field.
"So the extent of the injury we don't know. We probably won't know until Monday."
The Bombers would not make Pierce available to the media, citing a team policy that injured players do not speak publicly. Pierce finished the game 10-14 for 139 yards, with one costly second-quarter interception that the Argos converted into a TD one play later.
With Pierce out of the game, Goltz took over with the Bombers down 28-6 and had some success moving the ball, although at that point the final outcome was no longer much in doubt and the Argos defence had decidedly softened.
Goltz was blunt in his assessment after the game of his play and that of his team.
"We're not good enough to make that many mistakes and win the football game -- it's as simple as that," said Goltz. "We have to come together as a team -- it's not an offence-defence thing. It can't be divided -- it has to be all three phases and we all have to be on top of our games...
"It doesn't matter about stats at this point. We sit here and (talk about) too many feel-good stories between the lines, when at the end of the day we didn't score more points than the other team. We didn't come up with the win, so we all needed to look at ourselves in the mirror as a cohesive team, a unit."
Burke said he thought Pierce was effective early in the game in moving the ball but lost his stride after he threw an interception in the second quarter.
"I think things bogged down at that point. And I can't give you a great answer as to why. I'm sure it's not one guy making all those mistakes," he said.
Burke said he thought Goltz's performance was also a mixed bag. "I think he did some good things and I thought he did some things that weren't so hot," said Burke. "Talking about the good things, he threw the ball well, didn't take any sacks, extended plays -- I think those are the things he does really well.
"I didn't think he allowed plays to develop on second and long. I think he got rid of the ball too quick instead of allowing plays to develop."