Blue pride shows

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:30 AM ET

Personal pride is a powerful tool, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last night used it to take a jackhammer to the walls of the CFL East basement.

Let's face it, a loss against the suspect and shorthanded Hamilton Tiger-Cats would have put the Bombers on the 42 Most Wanted list in this town. They couldn't have gone out for a Slurpee without hearing it from some frosty fan.

But with 1-7 staring them in the face, along with a two-week break that probably would have seen the winds of change howling across Maroons Road, a decent number of Bombers decided enough was enough.

It was far from perfect -- two dropped touchdown passes, an interception for a touchdown, more lousy kicking and a few defensive lapses -- but they'll take the 37-24 victory like a condemned man takes an eleventh-hour call from the governor.

This was a desperate team playing desperate, if disjointed, football.

It may speak to this group's belief in its head coach, something you couldn't help but wonder recently. Time will test the strength of Doug Berry's hold on the locker-room.

There's little doubt, though, enough players still carry some personal pride.

Take Charles Roberts, who finally got the chance to carry a game, and did just that. The little guy must have thought he woke up on a different team, as he got the ball some 30 times, churning out more than 150 total yards.

Apparently, quarterback Kevin Glenn, calling plays for the first time, knows upon which side the Bomber bread is buttered.

With offensive co-ordinator Kit Cartwright's main duties now officially toast, we're not sure what his job is, but that's not our problem.

Personal pride obviously fuels Doug Brown. Then again, there's never been any doubt about that.

The beleaguered Bomber offensive line possesses some pride, as it blew holes open for Roberts and kept Glenn mostly intact.

Glenn swallowed his, shaking off a three-week benching to pass for what should have been well over 300 yards and three touchdowns (if two weren't dropped).

The proudest man on the field, though, may have been Bomber linebacker Joe Lobendahn, whose inspired play in Barrin Simpson's old spot sparked just enough defence to dispose of the Ticats.

Lobendahn did it all, from a Simpson-like, third-down stuff to an 84-yard run with a fumble.

Yeah, I know, the Ticats were without starting quarterback Casey Printers and running dynamo Jesse Lumsden. But don't forget, the same depleted squad ran roughshod over the stingy Toronto defence a week ago.

It should be noted the Bombers caught some breaks, too -- something that hasn't happened much in '08.

There was Hamilton's fumble on the Winnipeg two early in the game.

There was the fumble that Lobendahn helped turn into a Bomber touchdown.

And there was the deflected pass that Tom Canada hauled in for the game-clinching major in the fourth quarter.

But the Bombers took matters into their own hands, too, answering Hamilton's first touchdown, on a demoralizing Glenn interception, with a scoring drive of their own -- a critical response given the negativity of the moment.

It was that kind of night, for a change: when the Bombers absolutely needed a play, they got it.

There are still warts on this thing.

Kicker Alexis Serna continues to look no better than Troy Westwood, for example.

But while Serna can't seem to kick straight, his team took a step in the right direction.

Then there's the coach.

Instead of leaving the field to taunts from a disgruntled fan, Berry this time walked off with win No. 2 under his belt and Bomber president Lyle Bauer's arm draped over his shoulders.

A brief reprieve or a season's turning point -- who knows?

But summer in Winnipeg just got a little more palatable.


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