Offensive success a positive sign for rebuilding Blue

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:07 AM ET

It seemed like such a waste.

Winnipeg tailback Charles (Blink) Roberts rushed for 176 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries. Wide receiver Darnell McDonald caught six passes for 78 yards and a TD. Unofficially, Keith Stokes returned five punts for 82 yards and caught six passes for 48 yards and one highlight-reel touchdown as a receiver.

Yet, the Toronto offence still burned the Blue Bombers defence often enough to record a 35-32 victory in a CFL match last night.

"I don't think it's a wasted effort," said Roberts, who also had one catch for 11 yards. "It's important for us to come out and show that we're grinding and wanting to play hard, and wanting to be successful and doing the types of things that are going to make this a winning team in the near, near future. We host the Grey Cup here next year and we need to do everything we can to make a positive step forward."

But with that defence still needing giant leaps, you would suspect that Winnipeg's big guns would be frustrated with the result.

"It's not wasted," said McDonald, a healthy scratch the previous game. "I hadn't been out there for a while and I just had enough fun being out there with my teammates. It felt like I was a part of the team today so the loss is unfortunate but I'm just happy to be out there with my team.

"I love the organization and I love the game so I'm out there playing my best so I can stay around for a while."

Bombers are 2-3 whenever Roberts has rushed for the century mark this year.

"It's been a tough season for us because it used to be like clockwork for us, when we rushed for 100 yards, we'd win the game," Roberts said. "It hasn't gone that way for us this year."

But the Bombers were encouraged by the fact they held the reigning Grey Cup champs so close, losing on a last-second field goal.

"That means we can play with anybody in this league," Roberts said. "We beat B.C. last week, which was the No. 1 team in the league. We played well against Toronto tonight, which is in the top three in the league anyway. We played them well and could have won that game, and probably should have won that game. There's not that much difference."

Roberts, by the way, also put some distance between himself and Calgary's Joffrey Reynolds, who is challenging him for the CFL rushing title.

"I hope so," he said. "He's playing well over there, I've got to give him credit ... ( but) I'll hold him off."


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