A rare win and a couple of trades - one involving a marquee player - made for another noteworthy week in the camp of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
In the middle of a lengthy losing skid, the Bombers turned in their second remarkable defensive effort of the season, and not surprisingly it propelled them to a 25-13 upset win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 10th annual Banjo Bowl.
A packed house of 33,500 fans at Investors Group Field consistently roared their approval as the Bombers sacked Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant 8 times, earning their first win in 5 starts in their new home in the process.
Equally as remarkable as Winnipeg’s defensive play was the first half troubles of their offence. In a weird and quite incredible development, the Bombers were only down by two points at halftime even though they failed to manage even one first down in the opening 30 minutes of football.
CFL statisitican Steve Daniel says since 2008, the only other team to go an entire half without a first down was the 2009 Hamilton Tiger-Cats. That was against Saskatchewan and it's a game the Ticats lost 37-19.
The Blue Bombers recovered sufficiently on offence to pick up 11 first downs in the second half, and score two touchdowns for the stunning win over the Riders.
And then, while fans were still celebrating the Bomber win, the club sent out a release stating the veteran quarterback Buck Pierce was going to the Lions in exchange for Canadian receiver Akeem Foster.
"It was best for both clubs. Buck will get a fresh start in BC, and we acquire in Akeem Foster a Canadian receiver. I think it's sound philosophy in the CFL, when you get a chance to add to your Canadian talent base, particularly at your starting positions, you do it to promote depth and competition," said Acting GM Kyle Walter.
"Buck has been a true warrior and a consummate professional during his time in Winnipeg, and we sincerely thank him for his four years of service to this organization," he added.
For his part, Pierce exuded the same kind of class he has since arriving in Winnipeg in 2010.
"I'm excited for another opportunity, but I'm also leaving a city and organization that is truly dear to my heart. I can't overstate how much I've enjoyed being a part of the Winnipeg organization, wearing the Blue and Gold, the tradition here has been really eye opening to me. Winnipeg will remain my home and hopefully somewhere down the road I can once again be part of this organization," said Pierce.
The other trade executed by Walters saw Canadian running back Anthony Woodson sent to Toronto for veteran Canadian offensive lineman Marc Parenteau.
But, with Pierce gone there is no veteran leadership at the quarterback position. the Bombers head into the final eight games of the season with three quarterbacks who have started a combined total of 5 CFL games.
Bob Irving has covered the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for CJOB Radio in Winnipeg since 1973. Bob is the Sports Director at CJOB and is in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, reporters division. Follow Bob on Twitter @BobIrvingCJOB