Bombers have Liegghio’s back after missing critical kicks in overtime loss
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/08/2022 (228 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Here we go again.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ kicking game is back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Through nine weeks, second-year kicker Marc Liegghio turned a lot of doubters into believers as he had connected on 18-of-20 field goals to give him the second best field goal percentage in the CFL.
But the script was flipped into an entire different direction in Week 10. Wide left and then wide right, to be specific.
It was the final play of regulation and the Bombers and visiting Montreal Alouettes were tied 17-17. The Bombers were a 32-yard field away from making history and starting a season 10-0 for the first time since 1960. But Liegghio’s boot had other plans. At first glance, it looked like the ball was tipped, but it wasn’t. It came off his foot awkwardly and fluttered to the left.
It wasn’t even close.
“I felt like I hit it with all my foot. I’m going to watch the film to see if I miss hit it or, you know, if there’s a slight adjustment I need to make in like my foot or something like that,” said Liegghio on his first botched kick.
“But it just felt like I got too much of the ball, you know, and obviously it went to the left and low.”
He didn’t have to wait long for a chance to redeem himself. The Als started overtime with a 43-yard David Côté field goal to take the lead. The Bombers could’ve won the game with a touchdown, but had to settle for a three-point play from 37 yards out to extend overtime. The game would end there as Liegghio’s kick bounced off the right upright to give the lowly Alouettes the upset victory.
“Obviously it doesn’t feel the best, you know, to not hit a game-winner. But, you know, just move onto the next one and that’s what pro football is. It comes with its ups and downs and that’s how the pros go further,” said Liegghio postgame.
“You wash it and move onto the next one. You can’t let it sit with you, and then you just keep on getting better from here. It’s a good learning point and every kick is a learning thing for me and I just take it to the next one, on what can I improve on the week after.”
Some fans might be calling for the 25-year-old Canadian to lose his job, but the Bombers’ locker room have a much different sentiment.
“Yeah, he’ll be fine. He’s kicking at a very high rate. He came back this year in his second year, you know, he developed his game and he’s turned into a good pro, right? As a lot of guys do in their second year,” said head coach Mike O’Shea.
“His progression’s been right on time and maybe this is that little something that’s right on time, too. Better now than later, right? He’ll bounce back and be good.”
O’Shea was asked if he considered having Liegghio punt the ball through the endzone at the end of the fourth quarter for a single point.
“Never a question,” O’Shea said.
Despite the nightmare finish, Liegghio’s teammates say they still believe in him.
“Just keep kicking. Same thing with quarterback. You throw an interception, you gotta get out there and keep throwing. You make some and you miss some, so again, we’re a tight-knit team,” said quarterback Zach Collaros.
“(Drew Wolitarsky) said it afterward… we’ve got a bunch of guys (with) a lot of love for each other. So, no need to point the finger. Again, like I said, there’s many, many things that we could have done better in that game. Many things that I could have done better to not be in that position.
“Marc would come in here and point the finger at himself. That’s the kind of guy he is but there’s a lot of things that go on in a football game, not just the last play. So, he’s gonna keep kicking. And we trust in him, we believe in him and we love him so he will be alright,” added the star QB.
Liegghio already knows the outcome if he finds himself in a similar position later this season.
“I’m just gonna bang it through the uprights and win us the game.”
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...
Updated on Friday, August 12, 2022 9:40 AM CDT: Corrects reference to 18-of-20 field goals
Updated on Friday, August 12, 2022 9:41 AM CDT: Minor edits, for clarity