Ticats burn Bombers

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

HAMILTON -- Over the past two weeks, the rebuilding Winnipeg Blue Bombers built a solid frame, put in some beams, installed some drywall and slapped on some siding.

Last night, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats lit a match and burned it to the ground.

TICATS 41 BLUE BOMBERS 39

The Tiger-Cats, who had been averaging a measly 279 yards of total offence and 15 points per game, exploded for 532 yards and dumped the Bombers 41-39 for their first win of the season.

The victory, in front of 27,443 jubilant spectators at Ivor Wynne Stadium, improved Hamilton's record to 1-8.

The Bombers, who are 0-5 on the road, had their two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 3-7, although they remain tied for fourth in the West Division with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-5) and two points back of the third-place Calgary Stampeders (4-5).

Winnipeg's next game is the annual Labour Day Classic next Sunday in Regina against the Roughriders.

"This is a big, big loss and a very disappointing one," Bombers head coach Jim Daley said. "What it does now is put so much more pressure than already was there on the Saskatchewan series, because we're still right now in the mix with Calgary and Saskatchewan.

"Tonight would've given us a real edge."

Ticats quarterback Danny McManus, who missed the past three starts with a thumb injury, dissected the Bomber defence last night, completing 20 of 29 passes for 440 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.

Was it a coincidence that the Bombers lost their defensive co-ordinator, Rod Rust, last weekend for personal reasons?

"Any time you lose your head guy like that, you take a big hit," Bombers cornerback Omar Evans said. "Obviously we didn't know we'd take this big a hit.

"... For some reason, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers didn't come out with that sense of urgency -- defensively. Offence played great. Offence played amazing. Offence kept us in it."

Winnipeg's offence did play great, although a few key mistakes late in the game hurt.

Quarterback Kevin Glenn completed 22 of 37 passes for a season-high 416 yards and three touchdowns but had two picks. Those two interceptions, however, came in the last 2:04 of the game with the Bombers, trailing by two, attempting to get into field goal position to take the lead.

Glenn refused to speak to the media after the game, but slotback Milt Stegall, who had touchdown receptions of 75 and 38 yards to tie Allen Pitts for the CFL's all-time lead with 117, took the blame for the loss.

"We were trying to match (Hamilton's offence), but we didn't make enough," Stegall said. "We had enough chances at the end. I don't care what our defence did.

"They gave us a chance at the end -- two or three chances -- and all we had to do was get in field-goal range."

Bombers slotback Darnell McDonald, who was playing his first game in Blue and Gold for the injured Keith Stokes, dropped a sure touchdown late in the third quarter that would've given the Bombers their first lead of the game.

Hamilton had six possessions in the first half, and they scored touchdowns on four of them.

McManus hit D.J. Flick with a 72-yard pass on the Ticats first play from scrimmage, Julian Radlein had a two-yard plunge, Craig Yeast hauled in a 75-yard score, and former Bomber Khari Jones scrambled five yards for a major.

The Bombers offence countered with Glenn finding Stegall for his two touchdowns and Jamie Stoddard for an 11-yard score.

In the fourth quarter, Flick had a seven-yard touchdown reception, while Bombers running back Charles Roberts, who had 17 carries for 85 yards, added a one-yard major.


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