Could be worse

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:04 PM ET

You can call off the hounds -- for now -- but don't go printing those playoff tickets quite yet.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers put together one of their best offensive performances of the season when they needed it most last night, holding on to edge the Toronto Argonauts 29-24 in a fight-filled affair at Canad Inns Stadium.

The Bombers snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 4-8 in front of a season-low 22,446 spectators. Winnipeg is two points up on the Argos (3-9) and two behind the B.C. Lions (5-7), who own the third and final playoff spot in the East Division thanks to the crossover rule.

The Bombers host the Edmonton Eskimos (6-6) on Friday at the Stadium, and they will enter that match on a high after finally putting an offence on the field that actually resembled a CFL outfit.

Quarterback Michael Bishop, despite having a relatively inexperienced receiving corps at his disposal, had his best game since becoming a Bomber, giving the Blue and Gold -- and their beleagured fans -- some hope.

They did not, however, step on the Argos' throat.

The Bombers led 29-9 going into the fourth quarter, but the Argos made a game of it thanks to Andre Durie's three-yard touchdown run on teammate Kyle Jones' blocked punt and Kerry Joseph's three-yard touchdown run.

When Bomber receiver Adarius Bowman fumbled with 3:15 remaining, collars on the west sideline got extremely tight. But the defence held, and the Argos never threatened to score.

If the Bombers had blown the lead, who knows what would have been blown up today on Maroons Road.Instead, the team has renewed hope after Bishop completed 23 of 32 attempts for 312 yards and two touchdowns.

The teams, fighting for their playoff lives, took that term a little too literally early in the fourth quarter when a brawl broke out at midfield.

A large congregation of players and coaches gathered after Ian Logan's interception of Joseph, and the result was four ejections and an objectionable conduct penalty.

Winnipeg's Siddeeq Shabazz and Dorian Smith got the boot, as did Toronto's Rob Murphy and Zeke Moreno.

Bomber head coach Mike Kelly even screamed at director of player personnel John Murphy to get off the sideline after he yelled at Murphy as he headed to the locker-room.

Fred Reid had a 24-yard touchdown catch in the first half, and Adarius Bowman an 11-yarder in the third.

Alexis Serna was good on four of five field goal attempts, connecting from 53, 32, 13 and 41 while missing from 44. Punter Mike Renaud had a punt single to open the scoring (getting a loud Bronx cheer from the frustrated home crowd), and the Argos surrendered a safety.

Toronto's Justin Medlock booted three field goals and added a kickoff single.

Bomber receiver Otis Amey had a CFL debut to remember, with six catches for 118 yards. The highlight for the former San Francisco 49er was a 47-yard grab late in the first quarter.

Amey had four grabs for 95 yards in the first 15 minutes and went over the 100-yard mark five minutes into the second. He became only the fourth Bomber receiver to hit the century mark this season.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca\


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