July 7, 2012
Bonehead mistakes cost Bombers against Alouettes
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
MONTREAL - Too young, too fast would be the easy way to chalk up Winnipeg’s latest loss.
The only problem with that is it was a five-year CFL veteran who took the first of two penalties that cost the Bombers dearly in their 41-30 loss to the Montreal Alouettes at hot and sticky Molson Stadium.
Brady Browne’s offside infraction during an Alouettes punt on third-and-six in the third quarter allowed the hosts to extend a drive and take a 24-13 lead. Then, in the fourth quarter and with the Bombers on the Alouettes one-yard line with five minutes to go, rookie right tackle Jordan Taormina moved to soon, pushing Winnipeg back to the six.
Winnipeg, which trailed 34-23 at the time and went for it on third-and-goal from the six, failed to get any points when quarterback Buck Pierce fumbled on the play.
Browne was nearly in tears after the game.
“It’s the most embarrassing moment of my football career, to let my team down like that,” Browne said. “It sucks right now. It hurts.
“(His teammates) are supporting me. It’s nice for them to say that, obviously. We have a great team. But I’m a special team captain and I do something like that? It’s embarrassing, and it’s going to be a very long night for me and day tomorrow and the rest of my career. I’ll always remember that play.”
Taormina, to his credit, stood and faced the music as well.
“It was on set, hut. I heard the first sound and just made a reaction,” he said. “It definitely feels terrible right now. I let down my teammates and most importantly myself.”
The Bombers fell to 0-2 and will continue their four-game road trip to start the season next Friday in Edmonton. Winnipeg has never made it to the Grey Cup when starting a season 0-2. They’re the youngest team in the league, and injuries have made them even younger. That was evident on Friday night, as the Bombers never could get over the hump.
The Bombers once again started slowly, trailing 14-0 after one quarter, but they kept bouncing back and never letting Anthony Calvillo and the Alouettes pull away even as they piled up the points and yardage. Demond Washington’s 82-yard punt return in the third quarter made it a 24-23 game for the Alouettes, but that’s as close as the Bombers got.
Quarterback Buck Pierce, who completed 18 of 26 attempts for 255 yards and a touchdown but turned the ball over twice, admitted the youth on the team is playing a part in the team’s struggles so far.
“We’re just not very disciplined right now. That’s what it comes down to,” Pierce said. “You look at the penalties, the execution at times … it seems like we’re still in a learning phase instead of understanding what we’re doing and going out there and just executing our jobs.
“Last year we won these games on the road like this. So we have to get to a point to where we were, to understand that these games are in our reach and just learn how to overcome and win.”
Rounding out the punishing penalty hat trick was cornerback Johnny Sears, who went offside in the first quarter with the Alouettes on the Bombers one-yard line and gave the hosts a first down. The Als, who ended up scoring a touchdown, probably would have gone for it on third down anyway, but it was just another example of excitable youth hurting the Blue and Gold.
And like heartache, the only thing that will cure it is time. Head coach Paul LaPolice, however, isn’t willing to wait.
“I don’t care how young you are, how little football you’ve played,” he said. “We’re grown men. We can’t make those mistakes. It’s unfortunate, because you can’t do that against a good football team.”