They're earning respect

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

All they really wanted was a little more respect.

Start with Winnipeg's Charles (Blink) Roberts. Although the Blue Bomber scatback rushed for 133 yards on 32 carries last week, he was snubbed as the CFL top offensive player of the week.

To make matters worse, Edmonton linebacker A.J. Gass suggested that the Eskimos could render Roberts ineffective just by hitting him hard early in the game.

Well, Roberts responded by rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries in last night's 46-10 drubbing of the Eskies at Canad Inns Stadium.

'I DON'T STOP'

"I was sure looking forward to seeing A.J. but I guess they cut him before the game," said a still-perturbed Roberts. "They knew he had pissed me off with those remarks about me, man, and he should never have spoken up if he wasn't going to be out there to help his teammates out. Usually, things like that don't really motivate me because I know I'm going to do what I'm going to do regardless of what people say about me.

"You know, I played against him over the years and he knows I don't stop. He should have known that. All he was doing was hurting his team. It was added motivation. Then, when I got out there and saw he wasn't even playing, it was a joke, you know what I mean? Never speak if you're not going to help your teammates out, man."

Gass was slated for special teams work and spot duty on defence but suffered a hamstring pull in the first half.

Roberts also caught four passes for 69 yards.

Then there was the Bomber defence.

"Last week, we played a hell of a game defensively and a lot of people kind of wondered, are these guys (for real)?" said defensive end Tom Canada. "Did they just get lucky because Toronto didn't have their (starting) quarterback? So this week was huge for us to come out and play like we did against the Grey Cup champion."

Canada recorded three defensive tackles and a sack and forced Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray to be called for intentionally grounding the ball -- on Canada Day.

"Who knows? I just feel fortunate that I went out there and played well," he said. "When all the stars are aligned and the football gods are happy, things just kind of work out for ya."

Bomber safety Ron Ockimey, who made a touchdown-saving tackle and recovered a fumble at his own three, said the Eskimos were talking trash when the game started.

"They kept saying, 'We're not Toronto, we're not Toronto,' " he said. "But we beat them a little worse than we beat Toronto (16-9)."


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