Much like his first NFL start, former BYU quarterback Max Hall earned his first start in the CFL because the quarterbacks previously in front of him on the depth chart had done little to manufacture offensive output or wins.
Unlike his first NFL start, though, Hall came out on the losing end when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers fell to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 37-18 Friday night.
With the loss, Winnipeg is now 1-6 on the season, losers of its past five games. Hall's insertion into the starting lineup came after Justin Goltz hadn't done enough to help the Blue Bombers earn a win in his two starts. Previous to that, Week 1 starter Buck Pierce had led the team to a 1-3 record.
Hall, who won in his first NFL start in 2010 when the Arizona Cardinals beat the New Orleans Saints 30-20, completed 18-of-30 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown, the most passing yards for a Blue Bombers quarterback since July 4. But Hall also turned the ball over three times, including two second-half interceptions.
"We moved the ball well, we didn't have as many two and outs," Hall told bluebombers.com. "But it seemed that when we made a little mistake it kind of got magnified and it turned into that sack fumble. Miscommunication on two routes caused two interceptions."
At halftime, Hall was 10-of-12 for 129 yards and a touchdown. His first CFL touchdown came on a six-yard pass to Rory Kolhert in the second quarter.
Hall's top target all night was slotback Terrence Edwards, who finished the game with eight catches for 172 yards. That included a 60-yard connection on a pass from Hall.
"I thought he played well, played better in the first half," Edwards told bluebombers.com of the former Cougar quarterback. "You just can't pinpoint the quarterback, we didn't play as a whole in the second half. That's been our Achilles heel right now."
At one point, Hall was banged up enough that Pierce came in. He completed two passes for nine yards in the game.
"I guess I have a little bit of a bruised sternum, but I'll be OK," Hall said. "They just wanted me to sit down and catch my breath."
Hall said he felt the team pressed a bit after being down 17-7 at halftime. But he also saw some positives among the negatives that led to the fifth straight defeat.
"The good thing is, there are things we can fix. Things that we can look at and get better at," he said. "I thought as an offense we got better this week. We got to stay hungry and keep working on it.
"We've got to score more points. We've got to finish drives when we get down there. There was a lot of positives to come out of this game, but it wasn't enough to win. We've got to step up and get this thing turned over to where we're scoring points and winning games."
On the heels of some staff changes in the Blue Bombers organization, Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke was asked whether former BYU head coach Gary Crowton would still be Winnipeg's offensive coördinator next week.
"I'm not going to get into that because there's no preconceived notion of what's going to happen or anything like that," he told bluebombers.com. "But like I said last week, every facet of this organization is going to be looked at. We'll go into this week and talk about everything that has to do with our offense and defense and special teams."
Burke also said there is no decision yet on who will start at quarterback next week when the Blue Bombers and Tiger-Cats play again.
Hall felt he did enough to earn another start.
"I think I got better. I think the offense is getting better," he said. "I'm just going to keep working harder. That's their choice, but hopefully I'll be out there next week."
Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd
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