Johnson jolts the Als

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:42 PM ET

It was simply electrifying.

Winnipeg kick returner Jovon Johnson lifted the sparse crowd out of their seats with arguably the best punt return for a touchdown ever seen in the CFL.

Johnson went one way, reversed his field, broke tackles, cut back the other way and when the smoke cleared, the Blue Bombers' Bionic Man had officially recorded a 79-yard TD return in the fourth quarter of Winnipeg's 41-24 victory over the Montreal Alouettes yesterday.

He almost blew a tire during all those twists and turns.

"First of all, they kicked the ball deep so I had to run back to catch the ball," Johnson said. "Then I just caught the ball and allowed the blocks to happen. I cut to the left and they had it cut off so I was like, 'Why not stop and take a chance?'

"So I stopped and went back and as I was going back across the field, I saw the guy who was making the play every time I went to the field side of the field, No. 20 (Matthieu Proulx), was there to cut me off from going all the way to the field. So I just cut back.

STUMBLED

"Then my shoe almost came off and I was trying to get my shoe back on and I kind of stumbled. Then my shoe went back on and I just took off running."

Even his teammates were flabbergasted.

"I seriously think, after Jovon's performances the last couple weeks, it shouldn't just be (TSN's) Friday Night Gladiator, it should be Jovon Johnson Gladiator," said centre Obby Khan. "That guy is a game-breaker. He's unbelievable. That one return he made, Holy Mack. It's the best play in football. I might buy him a watch. It won't be a Movado. It might be a Timex."

Head coach Mike Kelly could not believe what he was witnessing.

"I think I must have said, 'Are you kidding me?' about 12 times as he kept running around there," he said. "Any time you see guys give a little ground and start reversing the field, normally, good things don't happen off of that. But he's a special player and he's done a lot of good things for us this year. It was a nice way to put the final points on the board."

It was the fourth-longest punt return for a TD in club history and defensive back Jonathan Hefney, who threw the only block Johnson needed, picked him up and carried him triumphantly back to the sidelines.

SHOWDOWN: The victory means the Bombers will play the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for second place in the East here in two weeks, no matter what happens next weekend.

"You know, it's funny, after our last game in Hamilton, I saw (Tiger-Cats defensive co-ordinator) Greg Marshall after the game and I said to him, 'Wouldn't it be something if, after the game, if it came down to the last game of the year?' And he kind of smiled at me," defensive tackle Doug Brown said.

"I think we both had a feeling that that might be the case and with all the ex-Bombers over there and all of the ex-Bomber coaches and the new upstart crew we've got on this side ... 'Get your tickets now, Kevin Glenn's coming to town.'"

The Bombers play the Als in a rematch in Montreal on Sunday.

"We've got to make sure we stay focused in next week," Brown added. "We want to continue building momentum for that game. But we need to play up the fact that we have a home game in order to give us a shot at a having a home playoff game."

REBOUND: Winnipeg QB Michael Bishop rebounded from a poor outing to complete 17 of 33 passes for 411 yards and two TDs, with one interception.

"That's what Mike does," said slotback Terrence Edwards, who caught six passes for 156 yards, including a 57-yard TD. "That's how Mike plays. Last week, the whole team didn't play the way it wanted to. I know Mike didn't play the way he wanted to. I didn't play the way I wanted to.

"If we go out and play the way we played (yesterday), we're going to be hard to be beat."

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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