Canadian Football League

Friday, July 01, 2005

Bombers lose Canadian Football League home opener

Edmonton wide receiver Jason Tucker thought he was making an ordinary catch, but it ended up being a 105-yard touchdown reception for a team record as the Eskimos defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 27-8 Thursday night.
Edmonton Eskimos' Deitan Dubuc collides with Winnipeg Blue Bombers' William Fields during the second half of CFL action in Winnipeg on Thursday. (CP/Marianne Helm) "It was a simple catch, a breakdown in their coverage and I knew I just had one guy to beat and if I got by him it would be a touchdown," Tucker said. Tucker burned past safety Wes Lysack and sped down the side of the field into the Edmonton record book.
It was the longest pass reception in Eskimo history since Henry (Gizmo) Williams notched a 102-yarder from quarterback Damon Allen in 1993.
"I feel honoured to be in the stats that way," Tucker said. "I feel good."
The play began with the Eskimos starting at their five-yard line to open the second half. Quarterback Ricky Ray's toss to Tucker was only about 25 yards. The TD made the score 17-1 and had some of the 22,087 spectators at Canad Inns Stadium groaning.
Edmonton (2-0) last won a game in Winnipeg (0-2) on Aug. 13, 1999.
Ray completed 28 of 40 passes for 469 yards, including a 19-yard TD pass to Derrell Mitchell with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
Ray saluted his defence after the victory.
"Our defence has been the strength of our team so far this year," Ray said. "Offensively, we've just got to protect the football and just score enough points because they're going to do a great job defensively."
Eskimos kicker Sean Fleming had a pair of field goals, including the 465th of his career that took him past Dave Cutler for first on Edmonton's all-time field goal list.
On Edmonton's second possession of the game, back-up running back Mike Bradley made it 10-0 at 8:15 when he found a hole and rushed 60 yards untouched up the middle of the field for his first CFL rushing TD.
Starting running back Elvis Joseph had left the game with a suspected rib injury.
Winnipeg got a single from a Jon Ryan 79-yard punt in the first quarter.
The Eskimos' total net offence at the half was 246 yards compared to Winnipeg's 47 yards.
Bomber quarterback Tee Martin was sacked three times in the first quarter. Martin, 26, was making his first CFL start after replacing Kevin Glenn, who suffered a high ankle injury last week against Saskatchewan.
Martin recorded his first CFL touchdown pass late in the third quarter. The Bombers blocked a Fleming punt, taking over at Edmonton's 26-yard line. The drive ended with lineman Jon Oosterhuis catching a one-yard pass in the end zone as time expired to close the gap 17-8.
"I felt comfortable, but we lost," said Martin, who was 12-of-29 for 107 yards. "I didn't feel like I played as good as I would have liked to play."
Yet, he was going to stay positive for himself, and his teammates.
"It's a new system, new coaching staff and some new guys on the team and as the year goes on and we continue to practise with each other, we're going to get better," Martin said.
Martin joined the Bombers last September after being released by the NFL's Oakland Raiders. The former University of Tennessee star led the Volunteers to a U.S. title in 1998.
Mitchell led all receivers with nine catches for 145 yards. Bomber slotback Milt Stegall, who was shaken up with about a minute left in the game, had a team-high two catches for 26 yards.
Note: Edmonton receiver Derrell Mitchell passed Rocky DiPietro for 12th on the CFL all-time receiving yards list with 9,892 yards. DiPietro had 9,762 yards


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