Tiger-Cats Grrrreat!

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

HAMILTON -- The drought is over.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats ended their 2005 winless streak, beating the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers 41-39 last night at Ivor Wynne Stadium in front of a delirious crowd of 27,443.

That makes the Tiger-Cats 1-8 on the season. They next play on Labour Day at home in the first of back-to-back games against the Argos (6-3).

"Is it a relief? Yes. But it's far from what we need. It doesn't get any easier," said Tiger-Cats quarterback Danny McManus, who completed 20 of 29 passes for 440 yards and threw three touchdowns.

The Tiger-Cats made it harder to win than it should have been. They allowed the Bombers to climb back from a 31-18 deficit with 1:33 to go in the first half after Tad Kornegay took a missed field-goal attempt out of the end zone and then retreated back into it before getting tackled for a two-point safety. Winnipeg scored a touchdown on the first play after the kickoff.

And then, late in the game Hamilton rookie Chuck Tack shanked a punt 16 yards, giving Winnipeg possession at its 43 with 2:31 to go. Winnipeg quarterback Kevin Glenn gave up the first of two interceptions on back-to-back series, but Hamilton still gave the Blue Bombers one last chance. Two plays later, time ran out.

"It's huge, my stomach's just beginning to settle down right about now," Hamilton head coach Greg Marshall said afterward. "It was tough. They found a way, but they didn't go the easy way."

Winnipeg dropped to 3-7, ending a two-game win streak.

The Tiger-Cats scored at will in the first half. McManus connected with wideout D.J. Flick on a 72-yard play for a touchdown on the game's first offensive series. Hamilton had a 21-10 lead after the first quarter.

Winnipeg blew a shot to take the lead late in the third quarter when receiver Darnell McDonald dropped an easy touchdown pass in the end zone. Winnipeg settled for a 14-yard field goal to trail 34-32.

Hamilton scored a touchdown on the ensuing series with a seven-yard touchdown pass from McManus to Flick.

Winnipeg replied with a touchdown with 6:53 to go to make it 41-39. Hamilton's defensive backfield then held off the Bombers with an interception by Antwoine Sanders and another by Airabin Justin.

"It's great getting that first win," Justin said. "Hopefully, we go ahead and win the rest of these games. It was frustrating. We've been out here trying hard the whole time and we just kept coming up short."


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