They won despite ...

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:58 PM ET

It had the earmarks of an upset of epic proportions written all over it.

And until there were 12 ticks left on the clock, it almost appeared as if we could not write it.

But the Winnipeg Blue Bombers recorded their first victory of this CFL season despite themselves.

They upset the mighty Montreal Alouettes 51-46 despite a brutal decision to gamble by Winnipeg head coach Jim Daley.

They won despite a questionable decision by Daley, or whomever, to kick the ball short after slotback Milt Stegall finally scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown on a 56-yard reception from quarterback Kevin Glenn.

POOR MANAGEMENT

They won despite poor management of the clock after defensive back Justin Coleman intercepted an Anthony Calvillo pass at the Winnipeg 10 with 34 seconds left.

They won despite a pair of picks thrown by Glenn. The second led to the Montreal TD that tied the game 37-37.

Daley gambled on third and short from the Winnipeg 44 while the Bombers enjoyed a 37-22 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Als stopped tailback Charles Roberts cold. Montreal said, 'Thank you very much,' took over on downs and four plays later, Calvillo hit Ben Cahoon with a 17-yard touchdown strike to pull within 37-29. More importantly, the turnover breathed new life into the Als and it was not long before they tied it up at 37-37. Then they took the lead.

"It was out of character for me to gamble on third-and-one in our own end," Daley admitted somewhat regretfully. "But we didn't have our first two punt snappers (Chris Cvetkovich, who suffered an injury during the game and Scott Mennie who did not dress). We had our third guy (Jon Oosterhuis) but maybe we should have tried.

"But for our team to not let that fluster them -- even the touchdown that they scored after that (turnover) did not even phase them -- showed that our team is mentally tough."

The Bombers, if you can believe it, blew a 37-19 halftime lead. Before the opening 30 minutes, the 0-4 schlubs stopped in a phone booth and suddenly switched into Superman's duds.

Before the second quarter was half over, the Bombers had scored 17 points -- more than their total in any other previous CFL contest this season.

Before the first half was over, Roberts had already hit the century mark in rushing. In fact, he scampered for 109 yards -- on only 10 carries! And finished five short of 200.

Before the first half was over, the Bomber offence had racked up a net yardage of 231 yards -- and they came into the match with a season average of about 160.

And before the first half was over, the much-pleased fans gave the Bombers several ovations, some even while standing.

But that cape must have gotten caught in the door on the way out to the second half as the Bombers seemed to give Montreal every chance to get back in the match. Give Glenn kudos for hanging in there and pulling this one out when a lesser quarterback may have quit.

FINALLY WON

But the bottom line is that the Bombers finally won. And they needed this one like a flatliner needs a jolt to revive him.

Now they head into the rest of the season knowing they can knock off the squads in the upper echelon and that sound you hear is opponents suddenly erasing that free space on the bingo card.

If the Bombers had blown their second straight game, they may have never recovered. The self-doubts that are only erased by victories would start to creep in.

Now, they should celebrate while they can. But that's just one win and they are still only 1-4.


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