Behind Buck Pierce, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 34-12, on Friday, September 21 at Canad Inns Stadium. Pierce gave the offence a boost and the defence held Hamilton to its lowest points total of the season. The game had all the makings of a glowing team report card.
Offence -- Pierce (21-for-31 passing for 288 yards) engineered a pair of touchdown drives, capping the second one with a seven-yard dart to Kito Poblah with 3:18 left in the fourth quarter to make it 26-12. Alex Brink finished off the first one with a one-yard touchdown run to break Winnipeg's streak of 15 quarters without a major. The running game rolled behind Chad Simpson (192 all-purpose yards) and Will Ford, who broke the game open with a late 17-yard TD run. It all added up to a season-high 34 points for the Bombers, who scored 18 unanswered points in the fourth. Grade: B+
Defence -- Was the Bombers' defence good or is Hamilton's offence horrible? I'm leaning towards the Ti-Cats, but Winnipeg deserves credit, too. The Bombers held Henry Burris to 156 passing yards and Avon Cobourne managed only 77 yards on the ground. Alex Hall had a pair of sacks and Henoc Muamba was all over the field with five tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. In addition, the secondary basically played mistake-free football. Defensive back Johnny Sears had a noticeably strong game. Grade: B
Special Teams --Justin Palardy was perfect on four field goal attempts -- makes you think about the ill-fated Banjo Bowl non-field goal attempt, doesn't it? -- and Mike Renaud was solid. The biggest victory for the special teams, however, was limiting the dynamic Chris Williams to 37 yards on four returns. He entered the game averaging more than 15 yards per return with five touchdowns. Grade: B
Coaching -- I still have some issues with the play calling, which was predictable at times and questionable at others. For instance, a failed double-reverse knocked the Bombers out of field goal range late in the first half. However, the Bombers wisely gave the ball to Simpson in crunch time -- more of that, please! Furthermore, the team played with passion and discipline (no turnovers). Grade: B
Next Marking Period -- The Bombers (3-9) host the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday, September 29. Toronto defeated Winnipeg, 25-22, in week four of this season. The Argos and Bombers split four games last season with each team winning one game on the road.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter and supporter of all Winnipeg sports teams. The coldest sporting event he ever attended was the 2011 East Division final between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Canad Inns Stadium. Adam follows back Bombers fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.
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