Pierce Bucks skeptics

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:20 AM ET

HAMILTON - The long and winding road back for Buck Pierce begins with a long-awaited road victory.

This was about a lot of things for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who earned an impressive 24-16 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night before a crowd of 23,852 at Ivor Wynne Stadium, but to see their star quarterback survive a bone-crunching hit and get right back up had to lift the spirits of a team that hadn’t won on the road since Oct. 12 of 2009.

Pierce didn’t have eye-popping statistics (12-of-26 for 151 yards with another 24 yards rushing to go with his one touchdown and one interception) but for a guy who hadn’t played a real game since going down with a fractured elbow on his throwing arm on Labour Day of 2010, this was special.

“It feels amazing,” a jubilant Pierce said outside the visitors locker room. “For me personally — and I don’t want to make this about myself — it was a long journey to this point and time right now.

“To have this feeling, it was all worth it and I’m excited for the weeks to come.”

The signature moment of the game saw a blocking breakdown that allowed Tiger-Cats linebacker Jamall Johnson get into the backfield and drill Pierce, who popped up to his feet and didn’t miss a play.

“I’ve been taking hits for years and I’ve had some bad luck with some limbs and stuff like that, things I can’t help,” said Pierce. “I don’t think my toughness has ever been in question. I’ve taken hits like that before. You bounce up and keep on going. That was a good hit and I’m sure it will be shown on CFL loops for years and years. Thanks Jamall Johnson for that.”

“Hopefully that’s a sign that his body is catching up with the rest of his toughness,” added Bombers defensive tackle Doug Brown, who had five tackles and a sack. “I don’t know many people who would be able to respond and play the rest of the game after a hellacious shot like that.

“I’ve seen harder hits, but blind-side, that can end a career, let alone end a season. He’s never been a guy you’ve had to worry about being mentally tough enough. He’s in the condition now where he can withstand a shot like that. It was incredible. I thought he was done.”

Bombers defensive end Odell Willis isn’t worried about Pierce’s injury history.

“Buck’s a soldier,” said Willis. “It gets to me a little bit because everybody is always on him, (saying) is he going to do this, is he going to do that? I’ll take him. He’s one of the best. Look at his winning percentage. The proof is in the pudding.”


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