No easy pickin's

Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebacker Barrin Simpson celebrates his team's victory over the Saskatchewan...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebacker Barrin Simpson celebrates his team's victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006 at Canad Inns Stadium. (Winnipeg Sun/Jason Halstead)

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Most people stop bleeding with a Band-Aid.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers close their wounds with a little Milt Stegall, some Charles Roberts and a dose of timely defence.

Stegall had seven catches for 110 yards and his 135th career touchdown, Roberts had 21 carries for 103 yards and a major, and the Winnipeg defence held Saskatchewan to six second-half points en route to a much-needed 27-23 win yesterday in the third annual Banjo Bowl at Canad Inns Stadium.

"When you need to make plays and you need to win games, you need to put it on our backs," Roberts said. "They didn't tell us that going into the game, but tonight the philosophy definitely was a 1-2 punch with me and Milt, and it worked."

The dynamic duo helped the Bombers stop a pair of nasty, four-game losing streaks -- overall and at home -- and improve to 6-6 in front of 30,026 spectators. That leaves them two points back of the East Division-leading Montreal Alouettes (7-4) and Toronto Argonauts (7-5).

The Roughriders dropped to 6-6 and remain third in the West Division.

"It's definitely a turning point," said Stegall, who is now three touchdowns shy of breaking the CFL record. "We're 6-6. It's a whole lot better than 5-7.

"It puts us back in the race and takes a little pressure off us. We still got a long way to go, but we made a nice stride today."

The Bombers face another stiff test this Friday night, when they will take on the Calgary Stampeders (7-5) at McMahon Stadium.

"Going into Calgary with a loss wouldn't have been good," Roberts said. "(Yesterday) we did something to help our confidence."

The Bomber offence was enjoying great field position in the first half, but all it had to show for it were 13 points on four Troy Westwood field goals (from 24, 46, 44 and 33 yards) and a single when he missed a fifth attempt from 46.

Saskatchewan trailed 13-10 with 1:11 left in the second quarter (Kenton Keith had a seven-yard touchdown catch and Luca Congi a 41-yard field goal), but quarterback Kerry Joseph marched his team 70 yards for the go-ahead score with seven seconds left.

The Bomber defence simply looked overwhelmed on the drive, which was capped by Joseph's 13-yard touchdown strike to Jason Armstead and gave the 'Riders a 17-13 edge at the break.

After Congi's 26-yard field goal gave Saskatchewan a 20-13 edge, the Winnipeg offence finally started to finish.

Stegall showed some fancy footwork in hauling in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Glenn late in the third quarter that tied the game.

On the first play of the fourth, after Glenn found Stegall for a 46-yard hookup, Roberts dashed into the end zone from five yards out to put the Blue and Gold up for good.

Congi's 40-yard field goal with 2:50 left in the fourth was all the Roughies could muster as the Bomber defence clamped down, and cornerback Omar Evans' interception with 15 seconds left sealed the deal for Winnipeg.

With only two-thirds of the regular season complete, the Bombers now have more wins this year than they did during last year's dismal 5-13 campaign.

"Everybody wants to get that sixth win, based on last year and everything," Bombers head coach Doug Berry said. "The sixth win was important for us.

"... I'm still excited right now."

Glenn completed 20 of 32 passes for 247 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Joseph was good on 16 of 29 attempts for 264 yards, two touchdowns and the last-minute pick.


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