Owens answers call with punt return TD

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

Chad Owens and his head coach, Jim Barker, both had something to say at halftime of Sunday's game versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

With his players losing 6-0, Barker got in their faces, ensuring they knew they hadn't nearly been good enough.

Owens told those who were near him that he would answer the call.

And the speedy returner did just that, taking a Mike Renaud punt back 80 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter, a scamper that swung the momentum to the Argos and kept it there.

"I said I'm going to make this play, and I went out there and it happens," Owens said. "The unit made it so easy. It was the easiest punt return touchdown I have ever had. It was amazing."

The play bailed out an anemic offence and was the third time this season Owens scored a touchdown on special teams.

"It totally changed the game," Barker said. "That guy is the best in the league."

Another big play by special teams co-ordinator Mike O'Shea's crew kept the Argos' surge going. Late in the third quarter, with the score still 7-6, the Argos got set to punt on third-and-16 at their own 38-yard line. But Jeff Johnson, who makes the calls on special teams, saw that the Bombers lined up with fewer players to the right side.

So Johnson called for a direct snap to Bryan Crawford. The latter shook off a tackle by Scott McHenry, gaining 30 yards for a first down. Three plays later, Justin Medlock, on his first field-goal try of 2010 for the Argos, calmly kicked a 50-yarder.

"I saw this look and I couldn't believe it," Johnson said. "They were just short over there. It was a simple play. If we're up by 20 or 30, then I don't call it."

Johnson, Crawford and newcomer Anthony Alridge were integral in another part of the game with running back Cory Boyd out. Barker went with rushing by committee, and Johnson finished with 62 yards on 11 carries, Crawford had 42 on two carries and Alridge 31 yards on seven carries.

But none was bigger than Crawford's 30-yard dash.

"I was able to brace myself and get out of the tackle," Crawford said.

"My job is to get the first down no matter who is there to try to stop it. That was a big play. We executed it just how we wanted."


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