Flicker of hope

Ottawa Renegade Robert Quiroga (second right) Winnipeg Blue Bomber William Fields (right) for...

Ottawa Renegade Robert Quiroga (second right) Winnipeg Blue Bomber William Fields (right) for Renegades running back Josh Ranek (30) as he goes to the line for a touchdown during CFL football in Ottawa, Friday, September 16, 2005.(CP PHOTO/Fred Chartrand)

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:37 PM ET

OTTAWA -- The Road Kill that had been dressed as Blue Bombers finally arose from the pavement to slay a victim of its own.

And kept a flicker of playoff hope alive for Winnipeg.

BOMBERS 37 RENEGADES 21

Winnipeg placekicker Troy Westwood booted an 18-yard field goal with 2:41 left to play to salt away what turned out to be a 37-21 victory over the Renegades in a CFL match before only 17,567 rain-soaked fans at Frank Clair Stadium last night.

It was not only Winnipeg's first win on the road this season it snapped a nine-game losing streak away from home.

Rookie Winnipeg defensive end Gavin Walls returned a late-game fumble 80 yards for a touchdown with the last seconds ticking down.

The Bombers also snapped a three-game losing skid, extending Ottawa's to four games. Winnipeg improves to 4-9 on the season, moving to within two points of Calgary and Saskatchewan, who are tied for fourth in the West. Both play this weekend. The Bombers also moved to within two points of both Ottawa, which falls to 5-7, and Montreal, 5-5.

The Bombers took a 27-21 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter. Winnipeg tailback Charles Roberts capped a seven-play, 46-yard drive by scoring a touchdown on a four-yard run. Quarterback Kevin Glenn then threw to wide receiver Chris Brazzell for the two-point convert. The TD drive was set up by Matt Kellett's 33-yard punt after the Winnipeg defence stopped the Ottawa offence deep in their own territory.

The Renegades took a 21-19 halftime lead thanks to a Winnipeg defence that sometimes looked comical. Several times, two Bomber defenders knocked each other down in pursuit of a ball carrier. But the worst came when three of them collided while attempting to sack Joseph, reminding many of a Keystone Kops routine.

Ottawa tailback Josh Ranek scored touchdowns on an eight-yard shuffle pass and on a three-yard run. Ottawa quarterback Kerry Joseph also scored on a 14-yard scramble. The Ottawa majors came on scoring drives of 73 yards (seven plays), 56 yards (seven plays) and 80 yards (six plays). All three drives just looked so easy.

Walls actually opened the scoring when he picked off a Joseph pass and scored on a 10-yard return.

The Winnipeg offence did not get into gear until the second quarter. In fact, the Bombers did not get a single first down until their fifth series of the game. The Bombers got a break when Ottawa defensive back Greg Moss jumped offside on a field goal attempt. The offence took almost immediate advantage when Glenn completed a 24-yard TD strike to slotback Milt Stegall.

The Bombers were forced to settle for an 10-yard field goal from placekicker Troy Westwood when their last-minute drive of the first half stalled, thanks in part to poor clock management once again.

Ottawa kicker Matt Kellett, who kicked all three converts, also conceded a safety touch.

The Bombers play the Alouettes in Montreal next Sunday.

NOTES: Unofficially, Winnipeg tailback Charles Roberts eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark rushing for a club-record fourth consecutive season ... When tailback Josh Ranek scored Ottawa's second touchdown, it was the fifth straight major he scored for the Renegades. Kerry Joseph's TD snapped that streak ... Bomber linebacker Lamar McGriggs was knocked woozy when Ottawa wide receiver Robert Quiroga blindsided him with a downfield block. McGriggs lost his balance trying to get back into the huddle and had to leave the field. He later returned.


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