Canadian Football League

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bombers win first Canadian Football League road win of season

Charles Roberts broke the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the fourth straight season Friday night, then he broke the back of the Ottawa Renegades and the heart of Renegades coach Joe Paopao.
Roberts scored on a four-yard run early in the fourth quarter to lead the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to their first road victory of the Canadian Football League season, 37-21 over the Renegades.
The touchdown, 19 seconds into the final period, capped a strong second-half showing and eventual come-from-behind win for the Blue Bombers before a crowd of 17,567 on a cold, wet night at Frank Clair Stadium.
It also stopped Winnipeg's three-game losing streak, improving the Blue Bombers to 4-9 on the year and 1-6 on the road, after it rallied from a 21-14 second-quarter deficit.
The Bombers had not won away from home since a victory in Regina on Sept. 5, 2004 and kept alive their slim playoff hopes.
"We came down here and played a team that was as desperate for a win as we were. It feels good to come out with a victory," Roberts said.
Roberts carried the ball 22 times for 125 yards - his first 100-yard rushing game since a 195-yard performance against Montreal on July 22.
Meanwhile, the Renegades hurt their playoff hopes by dropping their fourth straight decision to fall to 5-7 in the East Division.
Their slide began with a loss in Winnipeg on Aug. 19 and, despite Josh Ranek's two-TD performance, they didn't do themselves any favours Friday.
"I'm very concerned," a downtrodden Paopao said. "We have six games to go. We have to right the ship as soon as possible. Tonight was the game to do it but we came up short."
Turnovers hurt Ottawa as Winnipeg linebacker Gavin Walls intercepted one Kerry Joseph pass for a TD and returned a Joseph fumble 79 yards for another. The Renegades also gave up a safety.
"All the guys on the front line kept working all night," said Walls, who scored for the first time since his high-school days as a receiver. "At half, we came out and said we were still in the ball game. We just had to buckle down and do the best we could."
Kevin Glenn, who finished 15 of 29 passing for 198 yards and no interceptions, connected with Milt Stegall for another TD, Troy Westwood added a pair of field goals and Glenn combined with Chris Brazzell for a two-point convert on Roberts' winning TD.
"We were able to keep the ball in our hands and keep the defence off the field," Roberts said. "It's great to get (the win) on the road. It keeps our (playoff) hopes alive."
Ottawa got off to a poor start and, despite eventually regaining its feet to go in front, didn't do much following halftime.
"I can talk about our miscues, but give them credit, they made the plays when they had to and I give (Bombers coach) Jim (Daley) full credit for that," Paopao said. "It was one of those back-forth games.
"We never generated anything on offence in the second half. They made some adjustments and took things away from us."
Early on, with the ball at his own 10-yard line, Joseph dropped back to pass and threw straight into the outstretched arms of the onrushing Walls. The Bombers linebacker only had to close his hands and rumble a couple of steps into the end zone to give Winnipeg the first lead.
"I got one in practice earlier this week and I thought it would be nice if I did it in a game," Walls said.
However, the Renegades came back to tie the game right away with Ranek catching an eight-yard TD pass from Joseph, who completed 19 of 29 passes for 280 yards and also rushed for 100 yards.
Ranek then put Ottawa into the lead as the first quarter came to a close with a three-yard scoring run.
Winnipeg made it 14-14 thanks to a costly flag against Ottawa. With Troy Westwood in to kick a 36-yard field goal following a stalled Bombers drive, Renegades defensive back Greg Moss jumped offside and gave Winnipeg a first down. From there, Glenn lofted a 24-yard pass over the middle and Stegall outleaped his coverage to make the TD catch.
With Ottawa up 21-14 in the last minute of the first half and the Renegades with possession near their own goal line, kicker Matt Kellett conceded a safety in order to relieve the pressure. The Bombers then charged down field for Westwood to make an 11-yard field goal as time ran out and it was 21-19 at the break.
After Winnipeg took the lead in the fourth quarter, Joseph threw to a streaking Yo Murphy, who was wide open up the middle for what would have been a possible scoring play, but the ball sailed through the receiver's hands to end Ottawa's best chance to come back.
Westwood hit an 18-yard field goal before Joseph, with Ottawa threatening one last time, coughed up the ball while being sacked and Walls scooped it up to run untouched, 79 yards, into the end zone.
"It seemed like 1,000 yards," he said.
Notes: Ottawa's next game is Thursday in Calgary. . . Winnipeg travels to Montreal next Sunday. . . Renegades DB Crance Clemons made his season debut after recovering from a knee injury.


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