July 8, 2012
Bombers have red-zone bluesOffence went 1-for-5 inside the Als' 20-yard line Friday
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - Offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton and quarterback Buck Pierce were having a long chat in the Bomber locker room after Friday’s game at Molson Stadium.
You didn’t have to be within ear shot to guess what they were probably talking about.
The Bomber offence looked prettier against the Alouettes than it did the week before in Vancouver, but it is still sporting a few zits after the 41-30 loss that dropped the team’s record to 0-2. That includes one nasty trend that showed up halfway through last season and did not disappear over the winter.
The Bombers made a whopping six trips to the red zone on Friday against the Alouettes and scored only two touchdowns, including one from backup Alex Brink in garbage time. So Pierce and the offence were 1-for-5 inside Montreal’s 20-yard line.
Oddly, the Winnipeg offence didn’t have a red-zone showing that bad last year or even in 2010, which is saying something.
“I’m frustrated at myself and at the loss. It’s tough,” Pierce said after the game. “We executed very well all the way up to the 20-yard line, and then we got to the 20-yard line and we couldn’t put the ball in the end zone.”
The red zone actually wasn’t much of a problem for the Bombers last year, as they put the ball in the end zone 55% of the time. That tied for the third-best mark in the league. In addition, they were 2-for-2 last week against the Lions, so Friday’s subpar performance shouldn’t be that much of a concern.
What the Bombers should be examining closely is their starts. They trailed 14-0 after one quarter on Friday night, and they fell to 0-7 in their last seven games when down after 15 minutes. The strange part is Winnipeg was 5-0 in the same situation over the first half of the 2011 campaign.
The Bombers were aided on Friday night by several pass interference penalties against the Alouettes, but the run game, with rookie Bloi-Dei Dorzon, was improved and the offensive line, while not great, was better than it was in Week 1. The injury absences of slotback Cory Watson and right tackle Andre Douglas have hurt.
“We made some improvements, and we looked like a pretty efficient offence at times,” Pierce said. “We just left a lot of stuff out there, and I’m disappointed in that.
“… We addressed issues last week, and we rectified them this week. We got (the Alouettes) three more times, and I’m excited about that.”
Veteran slotback Terrence Edwards was on fire against the Als, notching six catches for 126 yards versus his former team. It was his 21st career 100-yard game … The Bombers didn’t have a sack against the Als … Winnipeg continues its four-game road trip to kick off its season on Friday in Edmonton.