Hitting right notes

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

Turns out the hype was overblown, after all.

All week we heard how the addition of Juran Bolden and Ike Charlton was going to be a cure-all to the Blue Bombers' sickly defence.

The evidence presented in yesterday's rematch against Saskatchewan suggested something else, entirely.

The Bomber defence didn't need any NFL castoffs to string up the Roughriders in the Banjo Bowl. Because the same players who were badly out of tune in Regina a week ago hit all the right notes in a 34-15 rout that was probably the most complete game this group has turned in under second-year head coach Doug Berry.

Don't get me wrong: Bolden and Charlton made their presence felt, as much with their enthusiasm as anything. When's the last time you heard an entire section chanting the name of a defensive back, as Section S was doing in the second half, Bolden leading the way like a conductor with his symphony?

But the Bombers cut down the first-place Riders not because of two players, but because of 42. The special teams even contributed a couple of plays, a fake field goal and a big kick return, and when's the last time we saw either of those?

"We won all three battles for the first time," D-lineman Doug Brown said.

None moreso than the one on defence.

There was the human tank, Jerome Haywood, coming off his worst outing as a Bomber, turning into Riders quarterback Kerry Joseph's worst nightmare. Meanwhile, linebacker Cam Hall looked like the second coming of Brian Clark.

Joseph must have wondered if he wandered into the wrong stadium: the team he shredded for 348 yards through the air a week ago held him to 103 yesterday, generally treating him like an unwanted house guest.

At the same time, Kevin Glenn and the glamour boys on offence continued to chug along like a finely tuned V-8, actually getting off the starting line for a change, scoring two touchdowns and a field goal on their first three drives.

Even Milt Stegall's wife was impressed, and you know the harshest critics are always found in your own home.

"She said nobody had a big game, but everybody contributed," No. 85 said, after a cellphone chat with the missus. "That's what we do -- Kevin spreads the ball around. That's what we need to do. You want to be a championship team, you need everybody to step up.

POST-GAME MESSAGE

"We know we have the talent here, in all phases of the game now. We showed it today. We can't afford to take any more steps backward."

Funny thing is, yesterday's stomping of the CFL's No. 1 team creates a bit of a quandary for this group, as Berry's post-game message to his players indicated.

"He said, 'You guys are in trouble now,' " Brown said. "We're like, 'What? What? How is that, man? We won 34-15. How are we in trouble?' He was like, 'Cause now we've seen what we can do. You raise the bar, in terms of your expectations."

It's another kind of hype, altogether.

One the Bombers probably don't mind living with, for a change.


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