Bombers not getting leg up

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:34 AM ET

They were knocked off-balance before the game even started.

Then the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were sent reeling 18 minutes into the game.

Just before Friday nightís CFL contest versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats started, the Bombers advised that their new kicker, Louie Sakoda, could not answer the bell because he pulled a calf muscle during the pre-game warmup.

Punter Mike Renaud and backup linebacker Chris Smith were then sent out to test their kickoff abilities. Renaud then kicked off to start the game and kicked four converts. Smith, however, kicked off twice.

And yes, it was Friday the 13th.

Sakoda was on the sidelines giving Renaud tips on how to kick field goals into a net during the game.

Former Bomber placekicker Troy Westwood, by the way, said during the game he had not been contacted by the club.

The Cats then pounced upon the off-balance Bombers early and often.

Hamiltonís Kevin Glenn, the quarterback the Bombers didnít want last year, completed a 49-yard pass to wide receiver Maurice Mann on the first play from scrimmage.

That set up a five-yard touchdown run by Marcus Thigpen.

It was the fifth different way heís scored this season, which is a CFL record for one season and three came against against Winnipeg.

Thigpen has also scored on missed field goal, kickoff and punt returns, as well as on a pass reception.

On Hamiltonís second possession, Glenn hit Arland Bruce III a 55-yard touchdown pass. Glenn then converted an Aaron Hargreaves fumble at the Winnipeg 17 into yet another major when he completed a three-yard toss to running back DeAndra Cobb.

Even Bruce got into the act as he completed a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Matt Carter to set up a 20-yard TD toss from Glenn to Marquay McDanielt.

Yes, the Winnipeg secondary has had better days, we just canít remember when.

PIERCE STRUGGLES: Throwing QB Buck Pierce back into the fray did not produce the desired results or spark a club desperate for a victory.

Pierce completed 7-of-12 passes for 63 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown toss to slotback Terrence Edwards, with one pick, and was pulled before the first half was even over.

SIN BIN: Bomber defensive end Phillip Hunt was flagged for a total of 60 yards in roughing penalties (including a facemask) ó two of them came on a critical Hamilton touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter. Yet the coaching staff left Hunt in the game to do even more damage to his own team.

BIG PICKS: Aside from the Edwards major, the lone bright spot in the first half came when cornerback Jovon Johnson picked off a Glenn pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown.

Trouble was, Hamilton was leading 31-7 before that ó in the first half.

In the second half, Winnipeg safety Brady Browne intercepted a Glenn pass in his own endzone and returned it to the Winnipeg 53.

His first CFL pick set up the only touchdown of the third quarter as Jyles finished off a 57-yard drive by connecting with wide receiver Adarius Bowman for a 10-yard TD that pulled the Bombers to within 32-21.

CHALLENGE CHALLENGE: Even Bomber rookie head coach Paul LaPolice had a bad day with the challenge flag.

He lost both challenges in the first half and his second one was questionable, meaning he lost his timeout in the first half and had no challenges left in the second.

That mightíve come in handy on a late pass in the end zone to Brock Ralph in which it appeared he did get a foot down in-bounds. The official ruling was that he was out of bounds.


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