December 9, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
GUELPH -- Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke had very little good to say about the performance of his offence Saturday night in a 25-20 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
"I will say this -- we didn't turn the ball over tonight, so there's a positive. But offensively we've got to be better than we are," Burke said following the game.
"We're not being consistent."
The lone Bombers turnover Saturday night came when punter Mike Renaud threw an interception on a fake punt.
Burke said he never considered giving backup QB Justin Goltz the ball in place of starter Buck Pierce, who struggled in the second half.
That wasn't, however, because Burke was particularly enamored with Pierce's play. Saying bluntly that Pierce "didn't have his best game," Burke singled out one particular play in which he felt Pierce had tunnel vision when the primary receiver fell down.
"Buck's sitting there looking for him to come open and he can't even find him. Those are the kinds of things that are frustrating," said Burke.
"When (the primary receiver) wasn't there, you've got to go to somebody else. And I think he might have got sacked on that play."
Pierce agreed in the locker-room after the game the offence needs to play better.
"We just want to take pressure off the defence," said Pierce, who went 15-of-26 for 186 yards. "Offence is always a work in progress and you want to build and you don't want to repeat the same mistakes you made before. We've just got to continue to work."
SLOTBACK Cory Watson had a second straight strong game.
Watson -- who had his best game as a Bomber two weeks ago in a win over Montreal (six catches, 114 yards) -- had six catches vs. Hamilton for 72 yards.
But the big difference this time was they came in a losing effort. Watson said after the game he felt like the entire offence -- which had just 60 yards of net offence in the second half -- let down a Bombers defence that sacked Hamilton QB Henry Burris seven times.
"We have to help our defence more," Watson said. "They were playing great until we had some two-and-outs. We need to help them because the defence plays great when their legs are beneath them and they have their lungs. We need to help them stay off the field."
Bombers middle linebacker Henoc Muamba was having none of the blame game, however. Muamba said the Bombers defence also could have done a lot more to get themselves off the field, particularly in the fourth quarter when Hamilton went on a nine-play touchdown drive that covered 60 yards and lasted 4:49.
"It just comes down to getting off the field quicker. I know they had a long drive in the (fourth) quarter when we needed to get off the field and didn't. I think that really hurt us. It really drained us as well," said Muamba.
SO, what was that botched fake punt by the Bombers in the first quarter all about?
"Coach (special teams, Craig) Dickenson and I had agreed we'd do that early in the game," said Burke. "We had looked the first time we punted to see what they were doing and we thought we could get the fake on them."
Punter Mike Renaud threw an interception to Hamilton returner Lindsey Lamar on the play -- although that was actually a break for Winnipeg, giving Hamilton the ball on their own 44-yard-line instead of the Ticats taking over on downs on the Winnipeg 42-yard line.
"He should have just knocked it down," said Burke. "But not everybody's a smart guy on that field."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 15, 2013 C3