Heartbreak for Blue

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

EDMONTON -- It's tough being a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers these days.

Edmonton Eskimos placekicker Sean Fleming drilled a 23-yard field goal on the last play of the game to give his team a 14-12 win over the Bombers in front of 37,455 spectators at Commonwealth Stadium.

ESKIMOS 14 BLUE BOMBERS 12

It was a heartbreaking loss for the Bombers, who were 19 1/2-point underdogs and fell to 0-4. The Eskimos improved to 3-1.

The Bombers host the Montreal Alouettes (2-1) on Friday night at Canad Inns Stadium.

Winnipeg had taken a 12-11 lead with 2:21 left when rookie defensive back Stanford Samuels recovered Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray's fumble on the Eskimos three-yard line and took it into the end zone.

It was the only touchdown for the Bombers, whose offence sputtered terribly once again with quarterback Tee Martin at the helm.

The Eskimos faced a third-and-10 from the 55-yard line with 21 seconds remaining, and Ray found Derrell Mitchell for a 40-yard gain.

Two plays later, Fleming made amends for his second straight off night and drilled it through the uprights.

Mitchell's crucial reception was the lone trouble spot for the Bomber defence, which held the high-flying Eskimos offence in check for most of the night.

It looked like Winnipeg was going to blow its lucky break with 1:40 remaining in the fourth when Ray hit Jason Tucker with a long bomb over the middle.

Tucker was headed for pay dirt, but he fumbled the ball in the rain on Winnipeg's 10-yard line, and Bombers safety Wes Lysack recovered.

Edmonton got the ball back with 46 seconds left, and Ray, after tossing two incompletions, found Mitchell in a seam between Bombers cornerback Omar Evans and safety Wes Lysack.

Bombers head coach Jim Daley refused to pull Martin, despite the fact he completed just 11 of 29 passes for 138 yards.

The defence, meanwhile, came so close to winning the game. It intercepted Ray three times (William Fields had two and Samuels had the other), it held running back Ron McClendon to just 45 yards, and rookie defensive end Gavin Walls sacked Ray three times.

Ray completed 28 of 47 for approximately 322 yards, and he was sacked a total of four times.

Bombers kicker Troy Westwood had a chance to get the Bombers to within three points on the first play of the fourth quarter, but he pulled a 28-yard field-goal try -- his second miss of the game -- and had to settle for the single, which trimmed Edmonton's lead to only 10-5.

Fleming then had a 39-yard try with 5:40 remaining in the game that would have given Edmonton a 13-5 lead, but he pulled it.

Edmonton led 7-4 at half time after an ugly 30 minutes that included six turnovers and three missed field goals.

Ray fumbled the snap on Bombers one-yard line on Edmonton's first drive, and Winnipeg linebacker Lamar McGriggs scooped it up and returned it 20 yards.

The Bombers gave the gift back a few minutes later when fullback Scott Regimbald bumbled the handoff.

That led to Fleming's 40-yard field goal that put the Eskimos up 3-0 after 15 minutes. Winnipeg has now been outscored 41-0 in the first quarter this season.

Fleming added field goals of 26 and 18 yards, while Westwood had a 27-yarder late in the second.


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