Buck Pierce didn’t stand up for his post-game interviews, Sunday.
It’s not clear whether he could have.
It’s also not clear that the Blue Bomber quarterback will be at the controls of his reeling squad for next Sunday’s game against the Alouettes in Montreal, a game in which first place in the CFL East is suddenly on the line.
“I’m just pretty beat up right now,” Pierce said, after he’d absorbed another horrific pounding in the Bombers’ 45-23 loss to Saskatchewan in Sunday’s Banjo Bowl. “In the next few days I’ll know more. I’m just pretty sore right now.”
The first quarter was a nightmare for Pierce, even as the Bombers built a 10-0 lead.
On Winnipeg’s first series, he injured his ribs on a scramble, and seemed to favour the left side of his body the rest of the game.
On the second series Pierce nearly lost his head on a hit he didn’t see coming, an almost identical shot to the one he suffered Week 1, in Hamilton.
His helmet went flying, but Pierce stayed in the game — only to throw a career-high five interceptions.
“I wasn’t seeing things clearly,” Pierce said. “Trying to force the ball down the field a little bit.”
At halftime, Pierce put on a flak jacket to protect his ribs.
But he threw three of his interceptions in the second half, all of them uncharacteristic of a player who’d thrown just six in the previous nine games.
“I’m sure there’s something hindering (him),” guard Brendon LaBatte said. “He got roughed up a lot more than you like to see.”
Head coach Paul LaPolice agreed his quarterback’s play was off.
“Those are decisions he hasn’t made before,” LaPolice said.
The coach, though, said he didn’t consider replacing Pierce earlier, and disagreed with the suggestion Pierce’s injury affected his passing.
“We fixed it up and Buck said, ‘I’m fine to go.’ And he was. He made some throws after,” LaPolice said. “I don’t think the ribs were the issue. They might have affected his mobility. I don’t think it affected how he threw the football.”
Instead, LaPolice said Pierce’s decision making was suspect.
“Bottom line, I’ve got to make sure he understands where we throw the football,” the coach said. “I’ll take the fall for that.”
LaPolice said the next few days will determine Pierce’s status for the Montreal game.
Alex Brink finally replaced Pierce for Winnipeg’s last offensive series, guiding the Bombers to a late touchdown.