It will take at least a decade — and likely way more time than that — for defensive tackle Moton Hopkins to have any chance at equalling what Doug Brown has done on the football field.
It took him only two games, however, to match the nine-year CFLer in one statistical category: touchdowns.
Hopkins hit pay dirt when he plucked a ball out of the air that Odell Willis had knocked out of Ricky Ray’s hands.
Hopkins took off, darting 36 yards to the end zone to give the Bombers a 7-0 lead on Saturday and some big momentum in what turned out to be a 47-21 victory for the home side.
The count? Brown has one touchdown. Hopkins has one touchdown.
“Really?” said Hopkins, who made his second career start in place of the injured Dorian Smith. “All right, I’ll take it.”
Turns out Brown got his touchdown in his first game as a Bomber, way back in 2001.
“So it’s going to be a long time before he gets another,” cracked Brown, who was appearing in his 159th CFL game on Saturday night.
It was the perfect time for the NFL Network to show its first Bomber game of the season. It allowed Hopkins’ family to watch the game and see his heroics back in the U.S.
“I talked to my mom after the game, and they were ecstatic,” Hopkins said. “So I was really happy. If any game I were to do it, it was this one where they could watch it back home.”
The Bombers came out and pressured Ray from the beginning, sacking him three times and hurrying him twice in the first quarter alone. They finished with four sacks overall, including Hopkins’ first career quarterback drop, and never allowed Ray to get in a rhythm.
“We had a real rough week on and off the field, and it was very encouraging to see guys respond the way they did,” Brown said. “The coaches really pushed us, really got after us, and they did some different things, too.
“We were more aggressive with our play calling, and we changed it up well, and the guys executed pretty well for the most part.”
Hopkins, who played a little tight end in high school, will savour this touchdown for a while, because he’s not so sure if it’s ever going to happen again.
“Yeah, like my dad said: This was a one in a million thing,” Hopkins said with a laugh. “So hopefully (he gets another touchdown), but probably not.”
KICKIN’ BACK: Edmonton got some momentum back with 14 consecutive points late in the second quarter and early in the third after Bomber placekicker Alexis Serna had a 39-yard field goal attempt blocked by Lawrence Gordon.
Serna stopped the bleeding midway through the third, however, with a 45-yarder in the third quarter that pushed Winnipeg’s lead to 26-14. The Bombers never looked back.
“It was nice,” Serna said. “I felt I hit the one they blocked well, but it’s unfortunate. Situations like that can get you down, but I just looked as it like I hit it well and it would have gone in, and I was ready for the next one.”
Serna has had two missed field goals returned for touchdowns this season. He is now 6-for-10 on the season after Saturday’s successful boot.
“It was great momentum for us,” head coach Paul LaPolice said.
LATE HITS: The Bombers had been outscored 25-6 in the first quarter going into Saturday’s contest, but they owned a 16-0 edge after 15 minutes of play on Saturday night … LaVar Glover became the first Bomber defensive back to record an interception this season when he picked Ricky Ray in the third quarter and returned it 42 yards to the Edmonton 50-yard line. It was Glover’s first interception in Blue and Gold … Winnipeg held the CFL’s leading receiving, Fred Stamps, to just 22 yards on two catches … Both teams committed four turnovers … Rookie Bomber receiver Terence Jeffers-Harris led all pass catchers with three grabs for 97 yards and a touchdown.