Let’s start with an update on Blue Bomber quarterback Buck Pierce.
Uh, there isn’t really one.
“I haven’t even seen Buck today,” head coach Paul LaPolice told us, Monday afternoon. That was around 1 p.m.
If you’re wondering whether or not Pierce had X-rays on his ribs, well, can’t tell you that, either.
“I don’t know,” the coach said.
Seems Coach LaPo wasn’t even sure what part of his quarterback’s body was at issue.
“He got hit in the stomach, or wherever he got hit,” LaPolice said.
So there you have it, fans. Your team is about to engage the rival Alouettes for the first time this season, a much-anticipated tilt that will decide, at least temporarily, first place in the CFL East, and we’re a little fuzzy on who’ll be the starting quarterback.
Coach LaPo thinks Pierce will be OK.
Those who saw him assisted to his car after the game, though, could tell this was one sore No. 4.
The good news: Pierce drove himself home.
Asked if he can play, he’ll say yes unless his right arm is hanging by a thread. Even then, he might offer to run the wishbone offence and keep the ball every other play.
That’s just the way Pierce is. A bit like the alcoholic in denial who’ll take the car keys after a night at the bar and point himself towards the parking lot every time.
In Sunday’s Banjo Bowl, Pierce took yet another hit no quarterback should take more than once in a career.
Pierce has taken two in 10 games.
“He came off the field,” LaPolice recalled. “And I said, ‘You fine?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’ The next series I think he was three for three.”
Actually, over the next four series Pierce completed one measly pass for five yards, was sacked again and threw an interception, his first of five on the day.
Two series later, another interception, and next thing you knew the Riders had scored 24 consecutive points.
If that wasn’t a clue something was wrong with Pierce, I don’t know what would be.
Yet, he was allowed to stay in the game.
After he completed seven straight passes and led the Bombers to 10 points, Pierce’s first-half numbers after the big hit by Riders safety Craig Butler were dismal: 5-of-11, with two interceptions and a sack.
He clearly wasn’t himself, whether from that hit or the one that damaged his ribs on Winnipeg’s first series.
Yet, Coach LaPo didn’t see it.
“The hit he took was on the first drive of the game. He threw phenomenal the next two quarters,” LaPolice said, Monday.
After the game, I asked Pierce if he’d considered taking himself out.
“I’m not a fan of pulling myself out,” Pierce said.
No surprise, there. The man is a competitor, and if you don’t believe that you didn’t see the way he threw himself into the tackle after his third interception, a play that saw him come up wincing, again.
Coincidentally, it was Butler he took down. Perhaps he wanted a little payback.
“I don’t advise that,” LaPolice said. “Let somebody else make the play.”
But that’s not in Pierce’s nature.
So once in a while, somebody else has to make decisions for him, for his own good, and that of the team.
A rival coach put it this way: “I don’t know if he gets how valuable he is to their team.”
Pierce shouldn’t have been in the game for that third interception.
Sunday’s second half called for Alex Brink, who seems to have improved from his debut a year ago. He might have stopped the bleeding, Sunday.
And saved more damage to No. 4.
Buck Pierce isn’t Superman. Sometimes he just thinks he is.
It’s up to the coach to recognize when to grab him and sit him down.
After all, leaping over tall buildings with a torn cape can be hazardous to your health.