'Peg back in hunt

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

A beautiful, gold harvest moon rose over Winnipeg Stadium last night, and if you looked closely, you could have sworn the man in it was smiling on the Blue Bombers.

And why not?

The team that tripped all over itself out of the gate this season had finally strung together back-to-back wins, beating the first-place Ottawa Renegades, 38-17, and satisfying a season-high crowd of 26,595.

And while a 3-6 mark at the midpoint won't draw any comparisons to star-studded Bomber teams of the past, it does vault Winnipeg right into the thick of the playoff race in the CFL West.

More importantly, head coach Jim Daley's much-criticized rebuilding effort continues to make progress, leaving the door open as to how good this team can become by the time the frost hits the pumpkin.

An opportunistic and, at times, explosive offence, a determined defence and dynamite special teams added up to Winnipeg's most complete victory of the season, and this time it wasn't against lowly Hamilton.

Start to finish, sideline to sideline, the Bombers didn't leave any doubt they meant business.

Coming into the game, they'd been out-scored 71-19 in first quarters. Talk about your bad openings. Britney Spears' first marriage got off to a better start than the Bombers usually do.

Last night was different, though. The Bombers took it to the Renegades in the opening 15, beginning with a Wes Lysack interception on Ottawa's first possession.

Old Lefty, Troy Westwood, and Old Reliable, Milt Stegall, also did their thing, and it was 10-zip Bombers after a quarter.

"It's always good to jump on a team early," Lysack said. "And keep them down the rest of the game."

In case you'd forgotten, Bomber fans, that's how you establish yourself at home in a big game.

And just when it appeared the Bombers would go into half-time nursing a 13-7 lead, their offence produced a game-changing play.

With a mere dozen seconds left before the break, quarterback Kevin Glenn reared back and found a streaking Chris Brazzell down the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown.

You could hear the air going out of the Renegades, taking any remaining doubt the Bombers may have had with it.

But when you only give up only 17 points in the CFL, you know the dirty dozen on defence has ruled the day.

Bending oh-so-slightly against Renegades quarterback Kerry Joseph, but refusing to break until giving up its only touchdown in the final minute, the Winnipeg defenders got fooled once, on a trick play, and that was about it.

When the pass rush wasn't either pounding Joseph or giving him a case of happy feet, the secondary was giving him neck cramps from looking for an open receiver.

It was just enough to throw the quarterback off his game. And when he was a little high and behind receiver Pat Woodcock early in the fourth quarter, the ball bounced off Woodcock's hands and into the arms of Bomber defender Justin Coleman for a critical interception.

Glenn and the Bomber offence pounced, with Brazzell pulling in another scoring toss, and the home side was on its way.

Oh, Glenn made one bad decision on the night, throwing into what looked like an Ottawa team meeting and getting picked off in the first half.

But Daley will take Glenn's overall night -- better than 350 yards and three majors -- anytime.

"Outstanding," Daley said. "He operated at a different level. He had a great game."

Oh, the offence had trouble getting Charles Roberts untracked. But even Miss Universe has the odd imperfection, right?

"We're starting to get to know each other," Glenn had said going into the game. "It comes with time, and it just seems like the time is now."

It certainly was.

And not a minute too soon.


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