Big Blue believers

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

MONTREAL -- This time, he raised a different digit.

Winnipeg head coach Doug Berry stood in the middle of the dressing room giving each of his players the thumbs up after the Winnipeg Blue Bombers upset his former team.

BOMBERS 17 ALOUETTES 14

The Bombers drew first in this showdown but kept shooting themselves in the foot before limping to a 17-14 victory over the Montreal Alouettes in a CFL contest before a sellout crowd of 20,202 at Percival Molson Stadium yesterday.

And this game was all about players making amends for mistakes that could have blown the game.

Kicker Troy Westwood, for example, blew two field-goal attempts, with Avon Cobourne returning the second 91 yards to set up Montreal's only touchdown of the game -- a 15-yard run by tailback Robert Edwards.

But Westwood then punched a 40-yarder through the uprights to give Winnipeg the winning margin.

"Westwood, nobody's jumped down his throat any deeper and harder than I have, particularly in this game," Berry said. "And to come back and kick that big one ... again, I'm showing him that I still have the faith that he's going to kick it and he delivered ... That kick helped win the game for us."

But first, the Bombers needed a big play from safety Kyries Hebert.

Bomber tailback Charles Roberts fumbled the ball away with Ricky Bell recovering at the Winnipeg 26. But Hebert forced Montreal quarterback Marcus Brady to fumble and recovered it at the Winnipeg 10.

Roberts then ran for a total of 94 yards on the ensuing drive when everyone in the ballpark knew he was going to get the ball.

"I haven't put the ball on the ground all year pretty much and it was the most critical time, when the offence needed to just hold on to the ball and we'd probably put the game away earlier than we did," said Roberts, who rushed for 159 yards and a one-yard TD on 19 carries.

"It was totally my fault. The defence responded for me and bailed me out, and I had to reward them."

Hebert, for one, relished the show Roberts put on in the last two minutes.

"You're not judged by the mistakes you make, you're judged by what you do after that and he proved to be a hell of player," he said.

Winnipeg improved to 7-7 and moved into a three-way tie for first in the CFL East with Montreal and Toronto, both 7-6.

"That's the way winning teams win football games," said Berry, who had been reminded about flipping the bird at Montreal head coach Don Matthews heading into the match. "You just never quit. Even though things appear to be going against you, you just stay with it, have the faith, keep at it, fight hard.

"Any win is satisfying, but when you win the close games you get really excited because those are the games that help to define your season."

It was the first time the Bombers have won in Montreal since 2001, the last time they appeared in the Grey Cup.

"That turns our whole season around," said Westwood, who kicked two other field goals and a 60-yard single. "We just went 180 (degrees) and now we're really, legitimately playing for first place from here on out.

"We bounced back pretty good from (mistakes). That shows a team that's coming together and playing together ... It's a close race here in the East and we want to make sure that we're at the top of it at the end of the year."

Montreal kicker Damon Duval booted field goals of 28 and 44 yards and added a single on a wide try from 37 yards.

Winnipeg plays host to the Alouettes, who lost their sixth straight game, in a re-match Friday.


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