Long bombs away

Stampeders QB Henry Burris pumps his fist after completing a touchdown pass to Jeremaine Copeland...

Stampeders QB Henry Burris pumps his fist after completing a touchdown pass to Jeremaine Copeland on Sunday. (Sun Media/Stuart Dryden)

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:19 AM ET

When Henry Burris went down with a dislocated shoulder, the entire Calgary Stampeders were a little disjointed.

Now that their star quarterback is set back in place, every player on the offensive side of the ball looks like an all-star.

Burris threw for five touchdown passes and 401 yards as the Stampeders beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 38-25 in front of 30,897 spectators yesterday at McMahon Stadium.

If there was any doubt about Burris' MVP candidacy, he erased them all yesterday.

"He's burning right now," said receiver Ryan Thelwell, who scored a 70-yard TD on a perfect pass.

"If you sit down next to him, you might get burned. It's unbelievable.

"He looked great all week ... The whole attitude changed right from the first day of practice. You can see what he brings to this team. Amazing."

With the win, Calgary (7-7-1) snaps a three-game losing streak that essentially began the moment Burris was injured in the late stages of a crushing defeat in Hamilton.

However, Winnipeg (8-6-1), which has lost two in a row and three of four, erased a nine-point halftime deficit yesterday thanks to their offensive stars.

Kevin Glenn found all-time touchdown leader Milt Stegall open for a 42-yard major, giving the Blue Bombers their first lead.

But Burris quickly hit Thelwell to take the lead back, then engineered a long drive on the next possession to set up Jeremaine Copeland's second TD reception.

Glenn, who finished 19-of-33 passing for 349 yards, said the Bombers offence felt it needed to score on every possession to have a chance. It could be the same thing that happens Friday when these teams have a rematch in Winnipeg.

"Hank's a great quarterback ... one of the best in the league," Glenn said. "He showed it today. I hate to give him that much credit, but we're friends off the field.

"We have to get ready for next week because we have them back in Winnipeg right away."

Burris finished 25-of-35 passing for 401 yards with only one interception, picking up right where he left off as one of the hottest players in the CFL. The Stamps had seven different plays of more than 20 yards.

"It's just one game," said Burris in deflecting the credit. "It was easy for me today because of the way the offensive line protected me.

"The guys fought their tails off all day with the way they protected, especially against a really tough front four."

The one thing Burris didn't do was run with the ball, which was the Stampeders' game-plan all along.

Plus, Burris was only sacked once, but he felt good after it anyway.

Head coach Tom Higgins was all smiles afterwards, despite his concern over the 21 penalties for 146 yards handed out to his club.

"Henry moved the pocket very well," Higgins said. "He played within the structure of what we wanted.

"We didn't want him doing a lot of running. We wanted him to be protected, and our offensive line did a good job of keeping him clean for the most part."

It seems, with Burris back, the pressure's off the entire Stampeders organization.


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