December 6, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Justin Goltz surveyed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers dressing room -- music blaring, a half-dozen teammates eagerly offering their take on a Banjo Bowl win to the media -- and grinned.
And that, in itself, has been a rare sighting in Bomberland this year.
"Man, it's a breath of fresh air. A gust of good wind came in here," said Goltz. "We needed this so bad. Our city needed it, our fans needed it. It was just so necessary. Guys stepped up and I'm just so proud of my teammates."
Goltz, making his fourth professional start, hardly painted the kind of quarterback masterpiece that will be showcased at coaching clinics -- he was good on just 8 of 17 attempts for 129 yards with zero TDs and an interception -- but he did just enough to lead the Bombers to their second win of the season. He also ran for a couple of scores and was able to connect with Aaron Kelly and Clarence Denmark for some big chunks of yardage to flip the field in a battle for field position.
Most importantly, he became the first pivot to get credit for a win this year since Buck Pierce, ironically traded to B.C. right after the Banjo Bowl, since July 4 in Montreal.
"It all snowballs and piles on after awhile," said Goltz of the seven-game losing streak that ended Sunday. "I'm excited, mostly for our fans. We get paid to come out here and do a job and this is the job we're supposed to do.
"Our fans, for good reason, have been disgruntled. We haven't got a win at home but we finally christened the stadium. It took a lot longer than anybody would have wanted, but at the end of the day this team played with a lot of heart and we got a win."
Goltz was just two of seven for 12 yards in the first half as the Bombers managed just 23 net yards offence. In fact, Winnipeg's first first down didn't come until the third quarter. But with the Bomber defence manhandling the Rider offensive line and getting in Darian Durant's face, the offence found a pulse in the second half and came up with some critical plays at critical moments.
"There were some plays I could have done better, we could have done better as a unit, but at the end of the day I do not care about stats," Goltz said. "I do not care about anything other than we got a win and this team needed a win badly.
"What you can take from this game is we've got guys with a lot of heart and they're going to scratch, claw, do whatever they can to pull out a win. It proved to ourselves that it doesn't matter what happened on the outside, there's a lot brewing on the inside of each of these individuals."
Bomber head coach Tim Burke didn't immediately commit 100 per cent to Goltz starting again this week in Edmonton, but also wants the starting QB carousel to stop spinning.
"Right now I'd probably say we'll stick with Justin," he said. "Obviously, you're always making that determination as you go along.
"I'd rather not have a rotating quarterback position."
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 9, 2013 C3