HAMILTON - So much for all that Buck Pierce was going to need to shake off in his first game since last September.
Though his numbers weren’t flashy, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback got the job done, leading his team to a 24-16 road win Friday at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
The longest offensive foray was a 49-yard touchdown reception from Terrence Edwards, who snuck behind safety Jason Shivers and hauled in his first major to get the Bombers on the board after Hamilton put up the first 10 points.
“That was on a second-and-long too. We attacked them, went after them and it was a great play call in that situation. We had a feeling they would give us that defence and I have a great trust factor with Terrence, I gave him a lay-up up there and he did the rest,” said Pierce. “We made some plays when we had to. We need to make more and we need to sustain some drives a little better. We fought through some tough moments and that’s the important thing to take away. We didn’t fold at the end. We finished a ball game on the road, which is one of the more difficult things to do in pro football.”
Edwards had three catches for 68 yards before he left the game with a rib injury.
Pierce was 12-of-26 for 151 yards, but would have eclipsed 200 if it weren’t for at least four drops.
“We’ve got to catch the ball better,” said Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice. “It’s hard to drop the football and stay on the field, obviously.”
Pierce wasn’t about to plan a parade after one win, albeit an important one.
“This is just a step and there’s so much more that we have to do and so much more to grow,” said Pierce. “We have to be better than this to win. You do. I don’t want to put anything negative on this because this is a complete, hard-nosed win. When you get those wins, it’s very character building.
“And on the road, it sets a tone for our season.”
SPECIAL AND NOT: The Bomber special teams had an adventurous day.
It wasn’t as bad as the 2010 season opener when Marcus Thigpen took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, but punter Mike Renaud had an early shank — a 15-yard punt that resulted in a net of five yards after his punt sailed out of bounds beyond the 20-yard line — and a punt blocked and recovered by the Tabbies, leading to a Justin Medlock field goal.
However, Perry Floyd was a force in the return game for the Bombers, Justin Palardy hit a pair of field goals (from 34 and 39 yards) and added a 76-yard single, while Renaud bounced back and pinned the Ticats deep, forcing them to concede a safety and also added a 59-yard single in the fourth quarter to stretch the Bomber lead to eight.
NO WORRIES: LaPolice assured that he wasn’t concerned when his star quarterback was leveled and had his helmet knocked off by Ticats linebacker Jamall Johnson in the third quarter.
“Buck is going to get hit and he’s going to get up,” said LaPolice.
STEADY FREDDY: It wasn’t a flashy day for Bombers running back Fred Reid but he had some important carries and helped his team moved the chains.
The 2010 CFL rushing champion had 16 carries for 87 yards and added three catches for 27 yards for 114 all-purpose yards.
In his Ticats debut, Avon Cobourne had 15 carries for 75 yards and five catches for 36 yards, giving him 111 all-purpose yards.
NEXT UP: Should Kito Poblah, who left Friday’s game late in the first half with a knee injury and didn’t return, be unavailable for Week 2 look for fellow rookie Jade Etienne to make his CFL debut.
While it’s likely Etienne would back up Aaron Hargreaves, the fourth overall pick in the 2011 CFL Draft would certainly be eager to get in the lineup after sitting out the opener as a healthy scratch.