Blink breaks out

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:31 AM ET

The little man they call Blink finally broke out in a big way.

Winnipeg tailback Charles Roberts cracked the 100-yard mark for the first time this season last night -- because he was finally fed the ball enough. Roberts rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries as the Blue Bombers beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 37-24 in a CFL contest at Canad Inns Stadium.

Heck, Roberts even added 37 yards on seven catches for a total of 30 touches on the night.

"I'm happy with it," Roberts said. "I know it was a lot of work (last night) and it felt good. I was in a groove, (quarterback Kevin Glenn) felt that I was in a groove and kept giving me the ball, and I appreciate it.

"Over the years, I've come to the understanding that I can't get the ball every time. But as long as the game is within reach, I do want the ball and I do want it consistently. (Last night), I got the ball consistently."

There were signs that Roberts was ready to snap out of his slump the previous two games. But he was limited when he only got the ball 11 times in each of those losses.

Roberts was helped by the return of veteran centre Dominic Picard, who calls the blocking signals at the line of scrimmage.

"He controls that offensive line," Roberts said. "He makes sure everyone knows where they're going and that helps tremendously. I can't say enough about what they did to cut me loose."

Although Picard, who was injured the first game of the year, snapped a few over Glenn's head, he did spark his fellow O-linemen.

"He makes calls right away, which is a good thing to have out there," said rookie guard Brendon LaBatte.

"He makes them loud ... He added a little more experience and is probably the smartest O-lineman I've ever met in terms of knowing the defence.

"We finally got the run going better than we had it going all year and it felt good."

HEY JOE: You can bet that the Bombers will not be asking veteran linebacker Barrin Simpson to rush back from injury too soon. After all, the middle is in capable hands with Joe Lobendahn. The rookie continued his outstanding play last night. And let us count the ways he contributed. First, Lobendahn scooped up a Richie Williams fumble and lumbered 84 yards to the Hamilton one where he was caught by Terry Caulley. No matter, Roberts scored on the next play.

Lobendahn also stuffed Williams on a third-and-short quarterback sneak, forcing a turnover on downs that set up a field goal.

The Hawaiian also had a knockdown and six defensive tackles.

"It feels great," he said. "I'm happy with it. I wish we could come out with some more (wins) and we will. We've still got a lot of work to do; we've still got a lot of games to play. It's not over for us."

GOT MILT?: Veteran slotback Milt Stegall, who has been nursing a sore knee all season, returned to provide a security blanket for Glenn. Stegall caught three passes for 47 yards, including an outstanding 18-yarder that kept a late drive alive. But he also dropped a sure touchdown pass in the endzone.

NEW BLOOD: Kick returner Jason Armstead, who was just signed two days before the game, returned four kickoffs for 87 yards and five punts for another 37. He also had a 96-yard kickoff return called back due to a penalty.


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