Ryan just ran for his life

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:07 AM ET

It may have been the longest, scariest six-yard gain of the young punter's pro career.

Late in Friday's game against the Ottawa Renegades, Winnipeg's Jon Ryan picked up a bad snap 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage, then ran for his life, racing 21 yards for an official six-yard gain a key first down.

"It was a physical game and they just wouldn't quit," said Blue Bombers head coach Jim Daley. "An example was Jon Ryan when we had that bad snap (by Chris Cvetkovic) -- which we never have -- but the ball's wet and we had the bad snap. He had the intelligence -- they had a guy, an extra man coming free from the field side -- so he took off to the boundary side and stayed in-bounds to make sure he got the first down. That was a long run. He had to go a long way and he got that first down and that led to the winning points."

A few plays later, placekicker Troy Westwood booted an 18-yard field goal that gave the Bombers a 30-21 lead with time running out for Ottawa.

"The ball just came back and kind of hopped once before it got there," Ryan explained. "I didn't field it very cleanly. The ball was getting wet so it was getting tough to field and a little tough to snap. Just as soon as I caught it, I knew they were coming after the block and there was a guy right in my face. I kind of got past him and I kind of saw some open space and just tried to get to the first-down marker."

SLOW START: Like the defence, the Winnipeg offence got off to a slow start and did not record a first down until about 20 minutes into the match.

"We won the game, that was the most important thing, regardless of how we started or how we finished," said quarterback Kevin Glenn, who completed 15 of 29 passes for 198 yards and one touchdown -- and no picks. "We found a way to win and that's what you have got to do."

SCARE AVERTED: Bombers DE Tom Canada, who left Friday's game with an ankle injury, should be able to play next Sunday in Montreal.

"Tom's ankle was better than we thought," Daley said. "He got a scare more than anything.

"He has a slight sprain, and it doesn't appear to be anything significant."

If Canada can't go next week, Antwone Young will take his place.

SB Milt Stegall (thumb) and WR Gilles Colon (charley horse) suffered minor injuries as well but should be fine.

In addition, Daley is optimistic that DT Doug Brown (foot) will be able to play against the Alouettes after sitting out the last four games.

JUST PLAY BALL: Daley doesn't want his troops thinking about all the scenarios for his team to make the playoffs.

The Bombers (4-9) are four points back of the third-place Calgary Stampeders, who improved to 6-6 last night with a win over Hamilton, in the West Division.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders, who host Edmonton today, are fourth in the West at 5-6.

Winnipeg is also within two points of Ottawa (5-7) for a possible East Division crossover spot, although it would also have to overtake either Saskatchewan or Calgary for that to happen.

Regardless, Daley discussed the situation with the team captains, and they all agreed that such talk would be better left unsaid.

"Too much discussion of combinations and crossovers and what has to happen mathematically, all it does is create more pressure and stress," Daley said. "We want them to put their energy into performance.

"Be aware of the picture and all that stuff, but I've seen too many occasions where teams harp, harp, harp, harp, harp on that, and that isn't the issue.

"What we should be harping on is performance and give the guys a chance to concentrate on their job."


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