New lease on life

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:12 AM ET

Not many football teams with 3-8 records control their own destinies, but the 2008 version of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers isn't your average football team.

Putrid most weeks but superb for a few, the Blue and Gold returned from Toronto yesterday with a new lease on life and smiles on their faces.

The Bombers took advantage of a rudderless Toronto Argonauts squad on Friday night, pasting them 39-9 at Rogers Centre and seizing control of the ugly scene that is the CFL's East Division.

Winnipeg now has the upper hand among the three teams fighting for second place in the East, with Toronto (4-7) and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-8 prior to last night's action) being the others.

The situation is simple: If the Bombers win their remaining seven games, they will finish second in the East and host the division semifinal. That's unlikely to happen, of course, but it's somewhat amazing the possibility exists in a season that has featured so much turmoil.

Winnipeg trails the season series against Toronto 2-1, but the Blue and Gold lead in point differential thanks to Friday's blowout.

That means if the Bombers beat the Argos at Canad Inns Stadium on Oct. 10, thereby tying the season series 2-2, they would have the edge should they finish tied for second with the same record.

"Next time we play, if everything's still going the way we want it to, all we need is to win by one," head coach Doug Berry said.

If the Bombers keep playing like they did on Friday, everything might be going the way Berry wants it to when Winnipeg and Toronto meet again in a month's time.

'UNSTOPPABLE'

Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn shook off a couple of early interceptions to toss four touchdown passes, Milt Stegall broke the CFL's receiving yards mark, and the defence, featuring two new starters in the front seven, surrendered nine points.

It's true that all of that happened against an Argos squad that is playing arguably the worst football in the CFL right now, but don't tell that to the Bombers.

"It's just inspiring to see that we can click on all cylinders and can be unstoppable," said cornerback Stanford Samuels, who had several thunderous hits. "When the offence didn't jump-start real fast, we were able to hold it down for them and let them get it figured out. And then we were rolling.

"That's just beautiful when football comes together and becomes a three-part masterpiece."

Winnipeg's big victory came only five days after the defence imploded against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Banjo Bowl, four days after the team tried and failed to trade away defensive end Tom Canada and three days after newcomers Zeke Moreno and Kai Ellis practised with the club for the first time.

Could it simply be that the Bombers, who also traded away running back Charles Roberts earlier this month, thrive on chaos?

"No," defensive back Kelly Malveaux said with a smile, "but I guess if stirring the pot up a little bit is the method for us, let's get it done."

"If we continue to win games, then we don't need to break what we've been doing," slotback Terrence Edwards added with a laugh. "The trades that we've made, they're paying off.

"Zeke had a good game, and free agent Kai came in and had a big game, so they're making the right moves."

The Bombers visit the Tiger-Cats on Friday night in another key East Division battle.


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