Ballhawks back at it

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

Jovon Johnson led the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2008 with three interceptions.

Jovon Johnson leads the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2009 with three interceptions ... after only four games.

The Erie, Pa., native picked off Argos quarterback Kerry Joseph on Toronto's second offensive play last night, and he got him again in the fourth quarter, returning that one 35 yards.

"Once they start coming, they come in bunches," Johnson said. "... The way our defence is playing, I think there's more to come. If they stop throwing over to me, more power to them."

Johnson is on pace for 14 picks this year, which would tie Less Browne's franchise record he set in 1990. The CFL record is 15, set by Hamilton's Al Brenner in 1972.

Linebacker Siddeeq Shabazz and halfback Lenny Walls both have two interceptions for the Bombers, who have nine through four games. They had 15 overall last year.

Head coach Mike Kelly praised the entire defence for its strong play last night, placing the blame solely on the offence.

"We didn't make any plays, bottom line," Kelly said. "Defence played well enough to win. Special teams played well enough to win. Offensively we have to make plays, and we didn't make plays."

Bombers middle linebacker Barrin Simpson had a frachise-record 14 tackles.

"I wasn't aware of that. I was just trying to leave it all out on the field," Simpson said. "I am definitely exhausted, fatigued. I was just trying to help us win. I was trying to keep us in the game defensively and do our job."

RECORD INEPTITUDE? The CFL record book focuses more on the positives than the negatives, so it's unknown if Winnipeg set a record for fewest total yards in a game last night.

They finished with 123 overall. Their worst output of 2008 was 241 yards, and that came in a blowout road loss to Calgary in October.

CONTINUING TO SHINE: Rookie defensive tackle Dorian Smith tipped the pass that led to Jovon Johnson's first interception, marking the second time he's done performed that feat this season.

Smith also got a hand on the Henry Burris pass that Shabazz intercepted and returned for a touchdown in Week 2.

Smith finished the night with four tackles and three sacks.

STAYING STRONG: Veteran defensive tackle Doug Brown said the most important thing for the Bombers to do is to not turn on one another.

"No matter which unit or which guys are struggling, it's important for everybody to know that we have to support each other or else we're never going to get anything fixed here," Brown said.

ON THE BUBBLE: Kelly Bates, who has been on the trading block since a poor showing in last week's loss to Hamilton, got the start last night, but Ryan Donnelly replaced him in the second quarter.

Bates returned to the rotation in the third, but Donnelly was back in for the fourth.

BY THE NUMBERS: Despite not having Arland Bruce III at his disposal, Argos quarterback Kerry Joseph completed 14 of 28 attempts for 144 yards and two interceptions ... Bombers running back Fred Reid had 12 carries for 32 yards ... Argos tailback Jamal Robertson had 24 carries for 101 yards ... Receiver Craphonso Thorpe, who was supposed to see spot duty, didn't have any returns for the Bombers last night.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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