It's never over until final gun

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

A 26-point halftime lead is extremely difficult to come back from but the Saskatchewan Roughriders certainly couldn't treat it that way this weekend.

Since quarterback Ricky Ray returned from the NFL at the start of the 2005 season, no team in the CFL threatens comebacks like the Edmonton Eskimos.

The 'Riders let the Eskimos return from a 19-point deficit a week earlier but this time managed to put their foot on the gas for a 54-14 win.

In the past two-plus seasons, the Eskimos have mounted four comebacks of more than 10 points, tied with Saskatchewan for most in that time frame.

But Edmonton has engineered six game-winning scores within the final three minutes of games. That total would be seven if not for Milt Stegall. Bombers QB Kevin Glenn hit Stegall in stride and he ran for a 100-yard TD as time expired last season, stifling another Esks comeback.

Stegall was the main catalyst for the other two Bombers comebacks since 2005, including a game-tying TD this year against Edmonton.

Not surprisingly, woeful Hamilton has not recovered from a deficit of more than 10 points, while Calgary and Montreal have done it twice and B.C. and Winnipeg once each. The Lions have the fewest three-minute drill wins with just one but mostly because they don't get down often. B.C.'s biggest deficit last year was a 14-pointer against Calgary.

B.C. has given up its fair share of comebacks, including four to the Roughriders alone.

However, the biggest comeback in the league since Ray returned was the defunct Ottawa Renegades getting off the mat to erase a 20-point deficit against Montreal early in 2005. Still, if you need to take over a lead late in a game, Ray is your man.

OPENING DRIVE

Quite the moment in Winnipeg Friday when Milt Stegall broke the all-time touchdown record. Some of the arguments afterwards were about whether it was a running or passing play. Who cares? It's too bad he didn't wait because the diving TD grab he made later in the game was a beauty ... How many TDs will Stegall have when he retires? Our guess, if he finishes after this season, would be 145 ... The clean-living Stegall on how he would celebrate the historic moment: "If you can get drunk on water and lemon, that's what I'd do" ... During the ceremony honouring Stegall, the outstanding receiver asked the fans to keep filling Canad Inns Stadium now that his chase is done. Shouldn't be too hard, the Bombers have the most exciting team to watch this season ... Bombers LB Barrin Simpson felt robbed of player-of-the-game honours that went to Stegall. The Minister of Defence had 11 tackles, a sack and an interception but will have to settle for his second straight defensive player of the week award.

ENDZONE TOSS

Although Ticats coach Charlie Taaffe was upset at the Bombers kicking a field goal at the end Friday's win, he should take it as a compliment. Winnipeg coach Doug Berry obviously feels Hamilton has the tools to come back and challenge for a playoff spot despite the 0-5 start. The Bombers obviously want to take care of the point differential early and not worry about losing a tiebreaker. "I would hope that that's the way Hamilton takes it, because I certainly do respect their football team," Berry said ... No one in Eskimos camp complained when the 'Riders kicked a field goal at the end of a 54-14 blowout. Remember three years ago the Eskimos won the right to host a playoff contest by winning the differential by a single point ... Alberta teams have been beaten by a total of 103-22 this season in Regina ... A one-week benching of Nik Lewis in Calgary refocused the young receiver. He caught six passes for 128 yards against the Lions. Will the same thing happen for Montreal RB Robert Edwards? ... Outside of two losses to the Lions, the Stamps have won their past 11 on home turf.

EXTRA POINTS

Damon Allen received a birthday gift from Argos coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons by being named starter for Toronto's rematch with Montreal. The 44-year-old appreciated the early decision and should be much better with a week's preparation ... So much for Geroy Simon's slump. He will take 75 yards, a TD and win every time ... Stamps OL Tyler Lynem, who returned from a torn thumb ligament, said he was awake for the surgery. "They showed me my ligament, my bone, they cut a part off and put it back on. It almost didn't feel like my own hand it was so numb. It was fun" ... It was a nice surprise to Ticats WR Chris Bauman the organization flew his father in for his debut this week in Winnipeg. What shouldn't be a surprise is how the first-overall pick played. He caught six balls for 81 yards and is another bright spot in an otherwise dismal start to the Ticats season.

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QUOTABLE

WHAT DID YOU SAY?

"You can run 'em, fine 'em, take their money, so far nothing works."

-- Charlie Taaffe on penalty woes

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GO FIGURE

PLAYIN' THE NUMBERS GAME

6

Sacks given up by Winnipeg OL, allowing QB Kevin Glenn to complete 68.4% of his passes.

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THREE STARS

WEEK'S TOP PERFORMERS

1. Bombers SB Milt Stegall -- Is there any doubt after setting all-time TD mark and adding another score.

2. 'Riders QB Kerry Joseph -- Threw for two TDs and ran for another two in beating Eskimos.

3. Lions DL Cameron Wake -- Two sacks, one forced fumble and a blocked field goal.

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RANKINGS

(WITH PREVIOUS WEEK IN BRACKETS)

1. (1) B.C. Lions -- Starters dropping all over the place.

2. (2) Winnipeg -- End of record chase takes heat off.

3. (4) Saskatchewan -- Defence causing fits for even the best of QBs.

4. (5) Calgary -- Could be a championship contender if turnovers are cut down.

5. (3) Edmonton -- Everyone gets blown out at times.

6. (7) Montreal -- Fully earned win in Toronto but need to prove worth at home.

7. (6) Toronto -- Finally Allen and Avery get jobs back.

8. (8) Hamilton -- Frustration building but there are positive signs every week.

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CRYSTAL BALL

OUR PREDICTIONS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD

Toronto at Montreal -- Als continue to struggle on home turf. Argos by 3.

Saskatchewan at B.C. -- 'Riders get revenge for earlier loss. Roughies by 3.

Winnipeg at Hamilton -- Tabbies finally cut out penalties and get first win. Ticats by 3.

Calgary at Edmonton -- Esks get back to basics in beating provincial rival. Edmonton by 7.


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