Big loss for Big Blue

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:58 AM ET

The bottom line is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers lost Buck Pierce and then lost the game.

That has now been the case in half of Winnipeg's four losses this season.

Pierce left Saturday's 25-24 loss to the Toronto Argonauts in the second quarter after aggravating a rib injury he suffered in the Banjo Bowl. It was the third time this season he's left a game due to injury, and it's the second instance the Bombers have lost.

Now the big question is whether Pierce, who has started a personal-best 12 games in a row, will be ready for Friday's critical clash with the Montreal Alouettes at Canad Inns Stadium that is, for the second time in three weeks, a showdown for first place in the East Division.

Then again, there's a chance the Alouettes could be without their starting quarterback, too, as Anthony Calvillo was knocked unconscious during his team's 34-21 win over the Edmonton Eskimos on Friday night and didn't finish the game.

The Bombers also lost Alex Brink to a left shoulder injury on Saturday night in Toronto, which means there's a possibility third-stringer Justin Goltz could get the start against the Alouettes.

Pierce completed seven of 13 attempts for 68 yards and an interception against the Argos, Brink was 10 of 13 for 121 yards and a pick, and Goltz was 3-for-6 for 36 yards and a touchdown.

Former Bomber Steven Jyles, meanwhile, completed 11 of 20 passes for a paltry 88 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions before leaving late in the fourth with an injury.

CONTROVERSIAL CALL: It appears the interference call on Winnipeg's James Green in the fourth quarter was the right one. After Chad Owens let a punt glance off his hands, Green, instead of jumping on the ball, tackled the Argos returner before pouncing on the bouncing pigskin in the end zone.

Rule 9.4.1 states "a player shall not deliberately interfere with an opponent attempting to recover a loose ball following a blocked kick, a dribbled ball, a fumble or a wild snap from the centre."

The only way Green would have gotten away with it is if there were other players in the immediate area going after the ball, but they were the only two.

As for the whistle int he crowd on Noel Prefontaine's field goal try late in the fourth, there doesn't appear to be anything in the rule book stating the home team should be penalized.

LATE HITS: Pierce has now left 19 of 51 career starts due to injury "¦ Fred Reid, who got knocked out of Saturday's game with a left knee injury, has missed only one start since taking over as Winnipeg's starting tailback on Sept. 7, 2008 "¦ If you're keeping track, Saturday night marked the second time in less than a year the Bombers had to use all three quarterbacks in a game against the Argos. Winnipeg employed Steven Jyles, Alex Brink and Joey Elliott in a loss to the Boatmen last October at Canad Inns Stadium.

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