Bombers bomb season opener

After getting sacked four times in the first half, Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce left the game...

After getting sacked four times in the first half, Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce left the game with an injured knee. (ANDY CLARK/Reuters)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:34 AM ET

VANCOUVER - Well, it didn’t take long for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to require their depth at the quarterback position.

After getting through last season relatively unscathed, Blue Bombers starting quarterback Buck Pierce didn’t survive the first half on Friday night, suffering a suspected right knee injury after getting sacked four times while playing behind a highly-inexperienced offensive line that had only one returnee, guard Steve Morley, among its starters as Glenn January was a late scratch.

The B.C. Lions played the role of defending Grey Cup champions to perfection, cruising to a 33-16 victory over the Blue Bombers 29,351 at B.C. Place.

Pierce, who has now left 21 of his 56 starts due to injury, came to the sidelines late in the second quarter, was looked at by the Blue Bombers training staff and promptly replaced by Alex Brink on the final offensive series of the half.

As he made his way to the locker room at halftime, Pierce was walking gingerly and favouring his right knee.

Before he left the game, Pierce rushed three times for 23 yards and completed only three of his nine pass attempts for 11 yards as he was constantly under siege from the Lions.

Although the Blue Bombers are happy with the way Brink and Joey Elliott are developing, losing your starting quarterback in Week 1 of a CFL season is not a recipe for success.

The severity of the injury to Pierce was unknown and he’ll require further medical attention, so it’s a little early to sound the alarm bells — at least for now.

However, when you’ve got a new offensive co-ordinator and trying to install plenty of new concepts, turning to your back-ups isn’t the preferred path.

It’s a long season, but the Blue Bombers are going to need plenty of time in the film room to find their offensive groove as they were held to 185 yards on Friday.

The revamped offensive line endured some struggles as well, but that’s to be expected, given the lack of experience.

On Brink’s second series of the contest and first of the second half, he put together a seven-play, 63-yard drive that was capped by a 14-yard strike to Terrence Edwards, allowing the Blue Bombers to pull within three points.

That was as close as they would come, though Brink added another passing TD in garbage time to Chris Matthews.

The Blue Bomber defence held the team in there against Travis Lulay and company as long as they could, but the Lions turned it into a laugher during the second half.

As for the new-look D-line, Bryant Turner was a force, picking up three sacks in the contest.

Before the night was over, the Blue Bombers became the answer to a trivia question as Lulay connected with Geroy Simon for a 56-yard gain to leave him the CFLs All-time leader in receiving yards, surpassing former Blue Bomber great Milt Stegall.

“Most people don’t know this, but Geroy was once on the practice roster and now he’s the CFLs All-time leader in receiving yards,” said Stegall.

When Simon took the microphone briefly, he showed tremendous class, immediately giving a shout-out to his first CFL team.

“I want to thank the Winnipeg Blue Bombers because you gave me my first shot in the CFL,” said Simon.

BOMBERS REPLAY

B.C. Lions (1-0) 33

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-1) 16

Offensive player of the game

Lions QB Travis Lulay — Rock-solid with 233 yards passing and 44 yards rushing. Had two rushing TDs, one in the air and his lone interception came on a Hail Mary on the final play of the first half.

Defensive player of the game

Blue Bombers DT Bryant Turner — Three sacks for Turner represents an excellent day at the office.

Special teams player of the game

Blue Bombers returner Demond Washington — You could make the argument he was the best offensive threat for the Blue Bombers in this game, with six kickoff returns for 159 yards and four punt returns for 28 yards. Would added an 80-yarder but nullified by penalty to Dan West. Lions K/P Paul McCallum also solid, with four field goals.

Smack of the game

Midway through the fourth quarter, Lions DB Lin-J Shell came on a corner blitz and drilled Blue Bombers QB Alex Brink.

Highlight reel

Needing 18 yards to become the CFLs All-time leader in receiving yards, Lions slotback Geroy Simon snuck behind the Blue Bomber defence and comes up with a 56-yard reception at 4:57 of the fourth quarter, passing Milt Stegall.

Up next

The Blue Bombers play their second of four consecutive road games next Friday at Percival Molson Stadium against the Montreal Alouettes.


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