Fumble haunts Roberts

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

TORONTO -- Milt Stegall went over to Charles Roberts in Winnipeg's deathly quiet locker-room yesterday afternoon with a simple message.

"If anyone (in the media) asks you about the fumble, tell them to come see me," Stegall said.

In other words, Stegall was saying: Don't blame Blink.

Roberts fumbled on Winnipeg's 33-yard line with 6:59 to go in yesterday's East Division semifinal, leading to Toronto's game-winning touchdown in their eventual 31-27 triumph.

The untimely fumble ruined a superb day by Roberts, who dashed 30 times for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

Roberts was appreciative of Stegall's concern, but he was more than willing to speak frankly about the turnover.

"I'm going to be thinking about it the whole off-season, because I've never found myself in this situation, where at the end of the day I'm going to be feeling like it was my (fault)," Roberts said.

"Even though we missed a lot of opportunities out there, the bottom line is I fumbled when we were still up by three points, deep in our territory.

"It was an easy touchdown for them, and then we find ourselves having to march the length of the field with two minutes left. That's tough to do in somebody else's home."

Winnipeg's potential game-winning march ended with 46 seconds remaining, when Argos safety Orlondo Steinauer picked off Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn.

Roberts, who led the CFL in rushing with 1,609 yards during the regular season, said he didn't have complete control of the ball, which linebacker Chuck Winters eventually stripped and cornerback Jordan Younger recovered.

"I never had control of the football from the time I got the handoff," said Roberts, the East Division's most outstanding player nominee. "I was bobbling it a little bit and was surprised that I busted through there for a little bit. Once I busted through there, the smart play probably would've been to just go down, because I knew I didn't have control of the ball the whole time.

"All the while I was trying to get through the hole, I was trying to gain control and tuck it, and I could never get it tucked."

LATE HITS: Glenn was good on 12 of 22 attempts for 224 yards, a touchdown but had two interceptions, while Damon Allen completed 15 of 28 yards for 219 yards, a touchdown and an interception ... The Bombers held Argos running backs Ricky Williams to 40 yards and John Avery to 48 yards ... Argos defensive end Eric England had seven tackles and a sack ... Derick Armstrong led the Bombers with five catches for 77 yards. Stegall was held to two catches, but they went for 76 yards ... Noel Prefontaine booted 37-, 28- and 38-yard field goals and a single for Toronto, while Winnipeg's Troy Westwood had 42- and 23-yard field goals ... Toronto had 432 yards of total offence, while Winnipeg had 415.


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