Blue have to play with desperation

Bombers QB Buck Pierce didn’t get much help from his supporting cast Friday against the Hamilton...

Bombers QB Buck Pierce didn’t get much help from his supporting cast Friday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, according to left guard Brendon LaBatte. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:37 PM ET

HAMILTON — How quickly things can change in the CFL.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers went into Hamilton for Friday night’s game against the Tiger-Cats without too many problems. It was the Ticats who desperately needed their first win of the season.

Well, after the Tabbies pummelled the Bombers 28-7 on Friday night at Ivor Wynne Stadium it’s now the Blue and Gold whose collars are a little tighter.

Defensive tackle Doug Brown believed Winnipeg would find out about itself in its first road game, and he said a harsh lesson was learned.

“We’re not capable of matching the energy and execution of teams that are more desperate than us,” Brown said.

“Well, now guess what? We’re in that hole ourselves. We just dropped two in a row, and we’ve got Edmonton coming in for a home game, and we absolutely cannot donate that one to charity.”

The Bombers (1-2) host the Eskimos (?-?) at Canad Inns Stadium on Saturday at 5:30. After that they have road games in Calgary and Hamilton once again.

Not only are the Bombers having trouble matching the intensity of their opponents, stopping the opposing quarterback or catching the ball, but now their starting gunslinger is hurt, too.

Buck Pierce reportedly limped through Winnipeg’s James Richardson Airport on Saturday on his way to “further evaluation” on his injured right knee.

The team might have an update on Pierce’s status on Sunday.

If Pierce is unable to go, backup Steven Jyles would get the nod against the Eskimos. He’s had one career CFL start, and that was a year and a half ago when he played for Saskatchewan.

Pierce got hurt late in the third quarter of Friday’s contest, but he had not guided the Blue and Gold to a single point when he was forced to the sideline.

An injured Pierce or not, it was a night to forget for the Bomber offence.

“It almost feels like the supporting cast around him wasn’t as strong as it should have been,” left guard Brendon LaBatte said. “Dropped balls, and he’s getting pressure. I just don’t think he ever got comfortable because we never allowed him to.

“I definitely wouldn’t put anything on Buck. He’s a warrior, and he’s going to be looking to play (against the Eskimos), that’s for sure.”

On the other side of the ball, the Bomber defence was on the field for more than 37 minutes.

Ticats quarterback Kevin Glenn sliced and diced the Blue and Gold defenders with his quick release, completing his first 14 pass attempts.

He finished with 340 yards and three touchdowns, and cornerback Jovon Johnson admitted the Bombers didn’t have any answers to stop him.

“I wouldn’t say it was a step back for us,” Johnson said. “They just stepped up and made plays when they had to. They were hitting on all cylinders, and it just felt like there was nothing that we could do to stop them. Sometimes that’s how games go.”

Still, any warts that might have been covered up by a dominating, season-opening win over Hamilton and a hard-fought, two-point loss at home to the Argos last week are now more exposed.

So the Bombers are about to learn another lesson: how they deal with real adversity for the first time in the Paul LaPolice era.

“Now,” Brown said, “we gotta be that team that’s wounded and needs to respond.”

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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