Shot of confidence

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Keith Stokes is stopped by Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Renard Cox during action in...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Keith Stokes is stopped by Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Renard Cox during action in Winnipeg Saturday, Aug. 13, 2005. (Winnipeg Sun/Brian Donogh)

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

There is joy in Bomberville once again following their second-straight home win.

However, thoughts are already focused on making it three in a row at Canad Inns Stadium this Friday night when the East Division-leading Ottawa Renegades (5-3) come to town.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers produced a much-needed 44-14 blowout of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday night at the Stadium that improved their record to 2-6.

BACK IN PLAYOFF HUNT?

"It wasn't just the win," head coach Jim Daley said. "It's the manner in which we won it."

While their record is nothing to truly celebrate, the fact the Bombers are just two points out of a West Division playoff spot has them geared up and ready to go.

"Somebody might say we beat Hamilton," slotback Milt Stegall said. "It doesn't matter who we beat. We just wanted some momentum.

"We wanted to get back in the playoff run, and we feel we're back in it now. We just have to keep it rolling."

The Bombers were certainly rolling against the Ticats.

Their revamped receiving corps, featuring three new starters in Chris Brazzell, Keith Stokes and Gilles Colon, hauled in 386 yards worth of passes and accounted for three touchdowns.

Quarterback Kevin Glenn was intercepted once -- and almost had three more picked off -- in the first half, but he responded in the second with pinpoint precision that resulted in 374 passing yards, which are the most he's generated in a game since joining the Bombers last season.

"Kevin has been a guy who, in our minds, has clearly established himself as a starter," Daley said.

Running back Charles Roberts dashed 15 times for 99 yards and three touchdowns, while the defence kept the Tabbies off the scoreboard until midway through the third.

All in all, it was a dominating performance that the Bombers must duplicate if they're going to run with the league's big dogs.

"It gives us that confidence that we can play well, that we can be that team that we've always thought we could be," defensive end Tom Canada said.

"We have lots to do," Daley said, "but a win like (Saturday) night helps you bring the energy to do it."

Stokes had 276 all-purpose yards Saturday, including a dazzling 68-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the third quarter. Daley gave the game ball to Stokes for his heroics.

"Stokes had to get player of the game with the night he had," Daley said.

It was just one of many solid efforts from a Bomber squad that responded well to a must-win situation.

'MENTALLY TOUGH'

"This is a mentally tough team," Daley said. "We challenged them mentally from Day 1 of camp. The guys that are here are tough.

"They've withstood a lot of challenging circumstances and we have many more to still withstand."

That includes improving areas of their game that faltered Saturday. Daley said his team surrendered two deep balls too many, lost contain of the quarterback too often, didn't open enough holes for Roberts and allowed Glenn to get hit more than he should have.

With spry Renegades quarterback Kerry Joseph next up, Daley said containing the quarterback Friday night is essential.

"It had to be better (Saturday) night," Daley said. "We do have an issue with containing the quarterback, and we cannot have that issue with Ottawa.

"He is too athletic and too mobile to allow him to run around like that. It's a concern."


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