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Blue Bombers hand Eskimos first loss

Aug 6, 2011 - 4:37 AM Winnipeg, MB (Sports Network) - Buck Pierce threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third to lead the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a 28-16 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos.

Pierce threw for 242 yards for Winnipeg (5-1), which got seven catches for 70 yards and a score from Terrence Edwards.

"We're just having fun," said Blue Bombers defensive back Jovon Johnson after the triumph. "When we're having fun its hard for anyone to compete against us."

Ricky Ray threw for 226 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in defeat for Edmonton (5-1). He was sacked four times in the tilt.

Jason Barnes caught eight passes for 125 yards and a score for the Eskimos.

Edmonton wasted little time breaking a scoreless tie, as Ray tossed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Barnes less than two minutes into the contest.

The Eskimos then intercepted Pierce on the ensuing Winnipeg possession, and the lead was pushed to 10-0 when Damon Duval hit a 37-yard field goal.

The Blue Bombers put together a solid drive and were in good position to take a chunk out of their deficit, but Pierce and company were unable to put the ball in the end zone. To make matters worse, Justin Palardy missed a 35-yard field, so Winnipeg had to settle for a single.

Edmonton led 10-1 after one quarter despite rushing for only four yards to that point.

After the Eskimos added a single of their own early in the second quarter, Winnipeg put together another long and fruitless drive. Palardy missed his second field in as many attempts and heard plenty of boos from the hometown crowd. The score stood at 11-2 in favor of the visiting Eskimos.

To Palardy's credit, he was able to take advantage of his third opportunity, a 33-yard field goal that he booted through the uprights.

Then, with just over one minute remaining in the second quarter, Pierce produced the most exciting play of the first half by scampering 48 yards for a touchdown. Suddenly, the Blue Bombers held a 12-11 lead.

The one-point advantage didn't last long, however, as Duval nailed a 21-yard field goal as time expired to put Edmonton back on top by a 14-12 margin.

Early in the second half, Duval pinned the Blue Bombers deep with a perfect punt. Winnipeg was unable to move out of the shadow of its own goal line and decided to take an intentional safety. That play pushed the Edmonton lead to 16-12.

That gamble paid off for the Blue Bombers, as they got the ball back quickly and capitalized. Pierce fired a 29-yard touchdown pass to Edwards, giving Winnipeg a 19-16 advantage.

With 1:40 remaining in the third quarter, Pierce and the Blue Bomber offense struck again, as the signal caller hit Cory Watson with a seven-yard scoring pass to push the team's lead to 26-16.

Winnipeg's defense was phenomenal in the second half, holding the Eskimos without a single offensive point. The Blue Bombers added a pair of singles in the fourth quarter and held on for a 28-16 triumph, handing the Eskimos their first defeat of the season.

"The hardest thing to do in life is staying humble and getting better," said Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice after the game. "We have to do that."

Game Notes

Pierce's 48-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the longest of his career and the longest run of the season for Winnipeg...Neither team registered a sack in the first half...Barnes had five catches for 83 yards and a score in the opening half...Edwards' third quarter touchdown reception was his fifth of the season...Winnipeg hasn't been 5-1 since 1987...Edmonton committed five turnovers in the contest, the same total as the club's first five games combined.