WINNIPEG - Two things we would never have expected in the first week of the CFL regular season: Adarius Butterfingers Bowman’s huge game, and the public near-beheading of Buck Pierce.
If either one of those trends continue, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be second-guessed like the federal Liberals in 2011.
Bowman’s Week 1 exploits with the surprising Eskimos — he led the team with seven catches for 103 yards and a touchdown — is, in all likelihood, just one of those things.
Apparently, Edmonton is where all former Bomber receivers go to cure the dropsies (Kamau Incompleterson, we hardly knew ya).
That Pierce, only the holder of all of Winnipeg’s playoff hopes this season, was the victim of one of the most hellacious quarterback hits we’ve seen in a while is another story altogether.
Was protecting No. 4 not going to be Priority No. 1?
Blue Bomber fans will be pleased to know Pierce woke up without a headache the next day, or the next, and was back on the blistering plastic at Wrecking Ball Stadium, Monday, taking all his reps, as usual.
Still, seeing him dazed on the turf at Ivor Wynne Stadium, reaching for his noggin as if to make sure it was still attached, had to create a province-wide panic attack, Friday night.
Pierce compared the hit to being in a crash, believe it or not, admitting it’ll probably go down in CFL history — at the same time saying he’s been hit harder.
“Anybody that gets hit like that, or been in car accident or anything, you’re going to have cobwebs for a few seconds,” he said. “I’ll be the first to say you don’t want to take too many hits like that. But you don’t need to worry. I’m good.”
Don’t need to worry?
Another moment like that and there’ll be a Manitoba rush on blood pressure medication.
“Overwhelming,” is how receiver T.J. Harris described his own feelings at the time. “I was worried. I don’t like to see any quarterback take such a shot, especially my own.”
So how does something like that happen? Like night-time security forgetting to lock the main vault at Fort Knox, how does a team leave its most important asset exposed?
The man in charge of the keys, head coach Paul LaPolice, said three people were to blame: Pierce, who didn’t get rid of the ball quickly enough; receiver Greg Carr, who didn’t cut his route short and give Pierce a quick target; and himself, the coach, for calling a play with minimal protection and putting the onus on Carr who, because of injuries, was in a relatively new position.
“We were bummed out about that one,” LaPolice said.
Not as bummed as they would have been had Pierce not got off his without the help of a stretcher. That’d make the rest of this team’s injuries, and there are lots of ’em, look like hang nails.
“You just go on to the next guy,” LaPolice said of his body count. “It’s out of our control.”
With many of them, it might be.
But with the QB, it’s particularly NB they don’t slip up.
A guy can only walk away from so many car accidents.
So as nice as the road win and the two points were, the Bombers received an even more valuable reminder, Friday.
Now, how about that Adarius Bowman?