At first, Blink was sharing the glory with Keith Stokes as a double threat in the Blue Bombers backfield. But when Stokes was felled with an ankle injury, Charles (Blink) Roberts took it upon himself to lead Winnipeg to a 27-24 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Canad Inns Stadium yesterday.
The scatback not only racked up 159 yards and a major on 22 carries but added one 10-yard touchdown catch. After Stokes was lost, Roberts resumed his punt return chores, getting another 28 yards on three returns, including a 26-yarder.
"That guy is an exceptional player," said Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn. "When a guy's running like that, he gets the offensive line pumped because they're the ones making the holes for him. It hypes (the whole team) up. And it makes the quarterback's job easier when you've got a guy running like that because it helps out the pass because now the linebackers are up playing the run."
Roberts even continues to impress the teammates that have been blocking for him the past four seasons.
"He had a heck of a game," said veteran offensive tackle Dave Mudge. "Any sort of little crease that we gave him or sometimes didn't give him, he somehow found a way to make a heck of a play out of it. A lot of it is the respect the other teams have for him and they're really chasing him and if he can make a cut, he's out."
The Bombers are now 16-0 when Roberts rushes for 100 yards or more.
"I think they're (Bomber coaches) aware of that," said Roberts. "There's just been certain circumstances where I didn't get the ball as much in a game to get those 100 yards."
But the 5-foot-6, 171-pound dynamo got plenty of touches, especially after Stokes went out yesterday.
"I went back and said I was going to get vintage (yardage) on them," Roberts said. "(Head coach Jim Daley) asked me if I wanted to (return punts) or he could put someone else back there. But I said, 'No.' I wanted to do it and get vintage on them. It was fun but I hope that Keith is back next week because that's not something that I want to do full-time."
Roberts also surpassed the 10,000-yard career all-purpose mark in less than four seasons.
"Charles only knows one approach to this game and that's second, third and fourth (effort), and he was able to get us some first downs," Daley said. "He's a threat every time he touches the ball.
"And when Keith got hurt, Charles went in and returned punts for us and was very effective. Charles had a great, great game."
Before he got hurt, Stokes caught five passes for 100 yards after joining Roberts in the backfield.
"Yeah, I don't think they had an answer for that," Roberts said. "He's a legitimate threat as a receiver and as a running back. And when you can have us both on the field at the same time, it kind of loosens up the defence."
And the win has the Bombers thinking more positively now.
"We've just got to continue to play hard," Roberts said. "I think we can compete and beat any team in this league, even Montreal."