HAMILTON — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were quite content to go into the season with Steven Jyles as their quarterback, giving him a $100,000 base salary in free agency.
That was before they signed Buck Pierce, of course. Now that Pierce is nursing a knee injury, they might find out what life would have been like had Jyles beaten out Stefan LeFors in camp for the No. 1 job.
Pierce was knocked out of Friday’s 28-7 loss to Hamilton in the third quarter, marking the eighth time in his last 24 games that he has left due to injury. He was limping badly after the game and again on Saturday morning.
That probably means there’s a good chance Jyles will get his second career start on Saturday when the Bombers face a winless team for the second straight week, the Edmonton Eskimos, at Canad Inns Stadium.
Jyles completed nine of 13 passes for 85 yards in relief of Pierce on Friday night and guided the Bombers to their only touchdown.
“He managed the game well,” head coach Paul LaPolice said. “We got out of position and got a sack on one of the later drives, and then it’s tough to execute on second and 24 or whatever it was.
“But he moved us down the field well and put us in position to score and gave us a touchdown.”
Jyles’ only career start was in October 2008 for the Saskatchewan Roughriders against Edmonton. He completed seven of 13 attempts for 99 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, and was pulled at halftime of Saskatchewan’s 55-9 win in favour of Michael Bishop.
NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY: The Bombers had almost twice as many penalty yards on Friday night (161) as they did in their first two games (89).
The defence committed seven infractions for 82 yards, while special teams was guilty on five for 50. The offence had only three penalties for 29 yards, but Obby Khan’s procedure penalty, for instance, took the Bombers from second-and-one to second-and-six and led to a punt.
Combine the offensive penalties with several drops by the receivers, and the coach was none too pleased with his team’s offensive attack.
“When you do those things you hurt yourselves,” LaPolice said. “And we want to make sure that we don’t hurt ourselves, so that’s very frustrating.”
JOE LOW: Winnipeg middle linebacker Joe Lobendahn felt he could have been better on Friday night.
Lobendahn, a full-time starter for the first time in his three-year Bomber career, had four tackles and a special teams takedown on Friday but felt he could have done more in the leadership department.
“We didn’t come out. Well, I didn’t come out,” Lobendahn said. “They named me a defensive captain, and I just gotta be a leader out there and talk more and get them on the same page.”
BY THE NUMBERS: The Bombers were held under 10 points on Friday for the 19th time since 1989. So it happens, on average, about once per season … Hamilton’s Marcus Thigpen didn’t have any success in the return game, but he kept Winnipeg’s defence honest with 38 receiving yards on four catches and 18 yards on four carries … Bombers defensive tackle Moton Hopkins had three tackles in his pro debut.