Winters' strip of Roberts turns it around

DEAN McNULTY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

It was the play of unsung heroes and a big momentum change that ignited the Argonauts' drive to overcome a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the East Division semi-final yesterday.

Up until unheralded linebacker Chuck Winters stripped the ball from Winnipeg's all-star running back Charles Roberts, it looked as though the Argos would be done for the season.

But following that fumble, the Argos took control over the final eight minutes to earn a 31-27 victory.

And Winters called it.

"As we were lining up for the play, I said to my teammates: 'It's time for someone to make a big play,'" he said. "It was that moment in the game; I saw (Roberts) coming with the ball in his arm and I did what I have been practising, like forever. I stripped the ball out."

Roberts had owned the Argos defence to that point, finishing with 179 yards up on 30 carries.

"It could have been the quarterback, a receiver, anybody," said Winters of the fumbled. "But it made it extra special because it was Roberts and he's the best back in the league."

Winnipeg coach Doug Berry said the momentum swung on that play.

"(Winters) doesn't strip that ball, we have good field position and control of the clock," he said. "We had the momentum right up until then."

On the next offensive series, Argos' backup quarterback Michael Bishop found R. Jay Soward in the end zone for the winning touchdown.

Winnipeg tried to make a comeback in the final minutes, but Orlondo Steinauer picked off a Kevin Glenn pass to seal the deal.

"I don't think we threw it away; I think Toronto earned it," Berry said. "They made some big plays when they needed to with big play guys."


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