Westwood could put off retirement

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

It looks like Troy Westwood might be able to put off those retirement plans for at least another week.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers' struggling placekicker was scratched last night for the first time in his 17-year career, with second-year CFLer Rob Pikula taking his place.

Pikula did both the punting and placekicking against the Montreal Alouettes, and it was a roller-coaster ride of a debut.

"Definitely," Pikula said. "The nerves got ahold of me in the first half, and you could tell. I was trying to kill the ball. I wasn't stroking it well."

His first four punts travelled an average of only 35 yards, and two of them went out of bounds in the air, which this season is a 10-yard penalty.

Pikula's first field-goal attempt was nothing to write home about either. Two plays after the Bombers recovered a fumble on Montreal's 31-yard line, Pikula missed a 30-yard field goal.

"I wish I could have that 30-yarder back, because I could hit that probably nine times out of 10 any day," he said.

Boos rained down on the 25-year-old, who was acquired in a trade last weekend to at least replace the released Pat Fleming.

TSN, obviously knowing a good story when it sees it, kept going to Westwood standing on the sidelines by himself in his civvies.

Pikula made up for his early blunders by lauching a 55-yard bomb in the second quarter that turned into Winnipeg's first touchdown of the game. Returner Mike Imoh bobbled the ball, and Bomber backup safety Greg Bearman recovered it for his first career score.

He settled down in the second half, and then he made amends for his field-goal miss in the first half by nailing a 39-yarder with 1:47 left in the fourth quarter that gave the Bombers a key nine-point lead.

"It's always good to make them when you need them," he said.

Pikula finished with a 39.5-yard punting average.

BROTHERLY DRUBBING: Terrence Edwards wanted to badly beat his older brother, Robert, the Alouettes starting tailback, in every aspect of last night's game.

Consider it mission accomplished.

Edwards, whom the Alouettes released in February, had his second straight 100-yard game to start the year, making three grabs for 119 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter.

Robert finished with only 28 yards on nine carries and a TD.

"We got the win, and that's the most important thing," Edwards said. "I got one up on him now, but we gotta go to Montreal in a couple weeks."

Their father, Robert Jr., was in the crowd last night after making the trip from the family's home state of Georgia.


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