Roberts holds key to success

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

It used to be that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers would win every time running back Charles Roberts rushed for at least 100 yards.

That quirky yet undeniable stat took a serious hit in 2005, as the Bombers compiled a wobbly 2-4 record when the man they call Blink reached the century mark.

Life, however, has returned to normal for the Bombers and their 5-foot-6 water bug. The Blue and Gold were 7-1 this season when Roberts hit triple digits.

"If I rush for a lot of yards, we win games. Simple as that," Roberts said yesterday.

And the team he runs the best against, the Toronto Argonauts, is Winnipeg's opponent on Sunday in the CFL's East Division semifinal.

The health of quarterback Kevin Glenn might not matter if the Bombers give the ball to Roberts all day at Rogers Centre. Many observers, including some of Roberts' teammates, believe Winnipeg's offence will rest on his shoulders.

"It should be the key," Roberts said.

"I would expect for us to be coming out of Toronto with a win that Charles is going to have to have a decent day for us," added Bombers head coach Doug Berry. "He's had a few of them this year, so he's certainly capable.

"He's healthy, our O-line is pretty healthy, and we should have a decent day if everybody does what they're supposed to do."

Rushing for a lot of yards doesn't always result in points, however. The Argos surrendered the most rushing yards this season but allowed the fewest points.

"Our red zone offence is a little bit more efficient now than even the last time that we played them," Roberts said, "so it should be good."

The Bombers are 5-2 against the Argos when Roberts rushes for at least 100 yards. One of those losses came in their last meeting, on Aug. 25 at Canad Inns Stadium, when Roberts had 120 yards in Toronto's 18-15 win.

"The first time I had 100 yards (against the Argos this season), it took me 33 carries or something like that," he said. "So they have the ability to maintain a guy if they want to. Hopefully they can't do it this Sunday."

Roberts added that his success running the ball doesn't happen magically. He needs help from all of his teammates, including those on defence.

"When a running back is rushing for a lot of yards, it's because the offence is doing good things and the defence is getting the offence plenty of opportunities to go out there and to be able to call run plays at the start of series," he said. "There's a lot of things that factor into why I rush for so many yards in wins."

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RUN, CHARLIE, RUN?

A look at Charles Roberts' rushing stats against the Argos and how the Bombers do in those games:

DATE ATT YDS TDS RESULT

Aug. 10, 2001 10 49 0 41-41 T

June 28, 2002 19 124 1 39-15 W

July 23, 2002 16 49 0 42-15 W

July 15, 2003 14 70 0 24-14 L

Sept. 7, 2003 18 136 1 34-30 W

Aug. 17, 2004 14 59 0 14-6 L

Sept. 18, 2004 30 154 3 44-34 W

Aug. 1, 2005 9 93 1 34-27 L

Oct. 16, 2005 24 176 1 35-32 L

June 23, 2006 32 133 1 16-9 W

July 8, 2006 18 105 1 24-17 W

Aug. 25, 2006 21 120 0 18-15 L


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