'Gades get rocked

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

WINNIPEG -- During last night's pre-game warmup, members of the Renegades defence wore 2-for-$15 green T-shirts they found at a local mall that boasted "I Am The Playmaker" across the front.

They should have slipped one to Kerry Joseph as a reminder.

In what was his worst performance of the season, the Renegades quarterback failed to connect on a handful of golden scoring opportunities last night at Canad Inns Stadium. The blown chances and difficulties Bo Rogers had covering receiver Chris Brazzell put the Renegades on the short end of a 38-17 score in front of 26,595 fans.

"Turnovers, the bottom line is you can't have them," said Joseph, who threw a season-high three interceptions and went a misleading 30-of-42 for 311 yards.

"We just missed plays when we had them. We just didn't finish drives. You move the ball up and down the field and you've got to punch it in. We didn't do that."

The loss put an end to Ottawa's three-game winning streak and sends the first-place Renegades to their bye week break at the midway point of the schedule with a 5-4 record.

The Bombers, under Ottawa-born coach Jim Daley, rediscovered their playoff chances and improved to 3-6.

The game was interrupted by a scare with just under six minutes left in the third quarter when Renegades linebacker Robert Grant suffered what appeared to be a neck injury. An ambulance was summoned to take Grant off the field and to a nearby hospital for precautionary purposes.

Coach Joe Paopao later said Grant might not accompany the team back to Ottawa today.

The second quarter was the most damaging for the Renegades. Trying to erase a 10-0 first-quarter deficit, they made it inside the Winnipeg 35 twice and as far as the Bombers' 15 twice, and all they had to show for their efforts were seven points.

They scored their first points five minutes into the second quarter. A 15-yard Mark Irvin field goal was set up by a flea flicker to Yo Murphy that covered 43 yards, but should have been a touchdown had the ball not been underthrown by Joseph.

On their next series, the Renegades again ventured deep and again were deprived of a touchdown when Joseph underthrew Frank Cutolo in the end zone. This time Ottawa came away with zero points, as Irvin hit an upright on a 42-yard field-goal attempt off the next snap.

"We missed a lot of opportunities," said Paopao. "We got the ball inside their 10 or 15 and we couldn't punch it in. You can't do that against a team that's playing well."

Winnipeg struck for another three points, making it 13-4, with the key play a reception by Brazzell, who retaliated to some early trash talk from Rogers by beating the 'Gades corner on a 43-yard gain.

The Renegades stormed downfield on their next possession, but a Joseph under throw with Pat Woodcock as his target and an overthrow with Jason Armstead open in the end zone left them settling for the three on a 17-yard Irvin field goal with just 12 seconds left in the half.

Teams that take a knee with the ball in that situation could learn from the Bombers' next move. Kevin Glenn went deep to Brazzell, who again beat Rogers, on a killer 75-yard TD that came with just two seconds left before the break.

Instead of trailing by six, the Renegades left the half down 20-7.

"We were in prevent defence, Cover 4," said Paopao. "That play should have never happened. But again, great throw, great catch."

The Renegades scored the only three points of the third quarter with the wind behind them. And any thoughts of a comebacker were effectively squashed early in the fourth when a Joseph pass to Woodcock slipped through the receiver's hands and to Winnipeg's Justin Coleman for an interception. A few plays later Glenn was again connecting with Brazzell -- who was again eating Rogers' lunch -- for a five-yard major that put the Renegades behind by 17.

Glenn had a superb night, hitting on 20-of-27 passes for 357 yards.

Ottawa's last hope was officially snuffed by a holding penalty that erased a 54-yard Joseph to Murphy toss with 2:39 left in the game.

The Bombers added a final insult when Omar Evans picked off a Joseph pass and ran it back for a TD with four seconds left on the clock.

The game started well for the Renegades, as defensive back Sean Weston forced a fumble that was recovered by Korey Banks on Winnipeg's first play. But a Joseph pass intended for Murphy was deflected into the hands of Wes Lysack, and the Bombers safety returned it 61 yards to the Ottawa 26. The defence held, forcing Winnipeg to settle for a 28-yard Troy Westwood field goal.

The 'Gades lost CB Greg Moss (left elbow) and Cory Hathaway (concussion) in the first half. Paopao said Moss could be out for a few weeks.

DT Johnny Scott also sat out the second half, and DB Sean Weston suffered an ankle injury.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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