Just won, baby

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:15 AM ET

It was difficult to tell in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers locker-room yesterday afternoon if their record was 2-6 or 6-2.

They were laughing, joking and buzzing around like kids on caffeine.

"The atmosphere changes when you win a game," No. 1 jokester Milt Stegall said of his team's 37-24 win over Hamilton the night before. "I never thought I'd be happy to be 2-6."

It's amazing what a win -- let alone a win before a bye week -- will do to a team that desperately needed it.

'UPLIFTING'

"It's the happiest I've ever been to be 2-6 in my entire life," defensive tackle Doug Brown said. "I guess when you're facing a wall of crushing desperation around you and you (win) in the final moments here before our big break, it's extremely uplifting for everybody."

The team met one last time yesterday before most of the players and coaches scattered to points across North America. They have eight full days to soak up win No. 2 before returning to work next Sunday.

Their next game is the annual Labour Day Classic against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Aug. 31 in Regina.

"If we would've lost that game it would have been the longest two weeks," quarterback Kevin Glenn said. "Sitting on a win, that's going to be a real nice two weeks."

While it's true the Bombers beat a Ticats squad that was missing quarterback Casey Printers and running back Jesse Lumsden, the Blue and Gold have to be hopeful for a turnaround now that Charles Roberts has finally arrived on the scene.

The Bombers tailback dashed 23 times for 145 yards (his first 100-yard game of the season) and added seven catches for 37 yards. It's the first time he's had 30 touches in a regular-season game since a Week 2 contest in 2006.

The reason for Blink's busy night was Glenn, who called all the plays for the first time in his career.

"I just tried to get a feel when we could go back to him and double him up on two plays," Glenn said, "and we did a pretty good job."

It was Winnipeg's first balanced attack on offence this season. Head coach Doug Berry praised Glenn for how he orchestrated the game plan, specifically how he utilized Roberts.

"He did a good job because we varied the running game and used it significantly to our advantage, and we were able to do that because we were having some success with it," Berry said.

"He pushed the ball vertically enough that we were able to keep the defence off the running game and the short passing game, and able to move the ball down the field."

The Bombers defence still surrendered 211 rushing yards, including 94 by nimble Ticats quarterback Richie Williams, and their record is still 2-6, good for a third-place tie with the Tabbies in the weak East Division.

WON'T CARE

However, when the Bombers return to work next Sunday, they will remember only that they won their last game. They won't care how they won it or which players Hamilton was missing.

"We're going in a positive direction right now," Stegall said. "We see some light. We can't see the end of the tunnel, but we see a little light. We know there's something there now."

Not only that, but the chatter about Berry -- and others -- losing his job will cease for the time being.

Berry, who claims he doesn't think about things like that, wants to focus only on the positives, like a much-needed win going into a bye week.

"It's something that this football team needed," he said. "For all of us it's going to be a good opportunity to refresh and hopefully come back here revitalized with a committed determination to get this mission accomplished."


Videos

Photos