EDMONTON -- Throw out that first quarter when it looked like deja vu all over again for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Just like last year, the Bombers could do little to stop the Eskimo passing attack -- especially when Ricky Ray was at the helm.
Just like last year, Bomber receivers were dropping balls into the waiting hands of happy Edmonton defenders.
Just like last year, the Bombers had trouble putting together long drives. And just like last year, they failed to convert a turnover in enemy territory.
But, unlike last year, the Bombers did not lose here.
And it was not all bad. A number of Bombers did make a case for employment. Defensively, linebacker Willie Fells -- who had not played since last year's training camp in Calgary, stood out. Not only did he recover two fumbles and force another, he was always around the ball. So was defensive end Marcus Jones, especially when he knocked Ray out of the game with what looks like a hyper-extended knee. Safety Shawn Gallant read one play perfectly, picking off a Khari Jones pass and laying licks on everyone within his vicinity. Defensive back Cedric Dickerson seemed solid in the secondary while defensive linemen Tom Canada and rookie Martin Lapostolle had sacks -- although Canada took an ill-advised spearing penalty.
Offensively, Spergon Wynn was the best of the quarterbacks as, unofficially, he completed seven of 14 passes for 60 yards. However, Russ Michna engineered a 73-yard TD drive in the fourth quarter, capping it off with a 35-yard pass to wide-open wide receiver Dimitrius Breedlove.
Gilles Colon and Keith Stokes were the best receivers. Even if Stokes still has problems hanging on to the ball, he's a keeper. Stokes caught three passes for 25 yards while Colon had two receptions for 33 yards in the third quarter alone. Wide receiver Derrick Smith served notice in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Troy Westwood did little to make an argument for handling punting duties and Bomber quarterbacks were, at times, under siege when the offensive line failed to hold off defenders. And no Bomber kick returner even so much as threatened Stokes.