HAMILTON - You know you’ve had a good game as a defensive back when your game-changing 65-yard interception return for a touchdown may not have been you’re biggest contribution to the game.
Alex Suber, who did not have an interception in his fine rookie season a year ago, hauled in one of three Kevin Glenn would like to have back — Glenn overthrew Dave Stala and Suber was johnny-on-the-spot — was omnipresent in the game both before and after that making perennial all-star receiver Arland Bruce a non-factor in the game.
Bruce was held to two catches for 22 yards, but was clearly frustrated by Suber who was credited with a team-high six tackles in the game.
Midway through the third quarter on another dropped pass by Bruce, the future CFL Hall of Famer drop kicked the ball earning his team an objectionable conduct penalty for 10 yards.
Suber’s interception return for the distance though gave the Bombers its first lead with that touchdown and put them on their way to erasing a couple of forgettable memories from a year ago. First it gave Winnipeg its first road win since the 2009 season and it ended a worrisome trend of losing all their close games a year ago. They were 0-9 in games decided by four points or less.
Hit of the decade?
It was the last thing the Winnipeg Blue Bombers wanted to see.
With about five minutes to go in the third quarter and the Bombers in great field position thanks to an interception. Jamall Johnson came in untouched from his defensive end position and just about took the head off of Bombers QB Buck Pierce.
He had to settle for the helmet which popped off leaving a dazed-looking Pierce staring towards the heavens wondering if any one got the license plate of the truck that just ran over him.
If Pierce goes down, any hopes Winnipeg has go with him. Give him credit first for holding onto the ball on the play and then coming back the very next series.
A Ticat bright spot
Avon Cobourne might be the most expensive acquisition by the Ticats this past off-season but in terms of addressing a need, but the arrival of Justin Medlock might be that much more important.
Sandro DeAngelis and his 32-of-42 successful field goals have a lot to do with that. DeAngelis had not kicked as poorly since his rookie season and it cost the Ticats time and again.
Medlock may not be the best punter, but you’ll live with the odd 24-yard punt if he goes three-for-three every game in the field goal department.
The former Argo is money and not just your run-of-the-mill 25-30-yard chip shots either. He can hit the long one’s with some consistency as well.
On top of that he twice forced returner Perry Floyd wide on returns that could have gone the distance if he weren’t held up by the kicker long enough for the other Tabbies to arrive.
Solid 2011 debut
The contest as a whole may have had its lulls but TSN’s Duane Forde was on top of his game in the season opener.
Forde was perfect on the calls that were being reviewed back at CFL central, more often than not having the correct call off the first replay and long before the call came back from Toronto.
But Forde’s best call may have been pointing out the opportunity the Ticats were passing up. Using the telestrator, Forde showed how the Bomber defensive ends weren’t holding their contain on rushing plays and instead were diving in to get a hand on Cobourne. As Forde pointed out, if Glenn would just pull back one of those handoffs back he would have the entire sideline to himself and plenty of room to run.
The Ticats spoke quite a bit this week about their newfound willingness to use Glenn’s legs as another weapon, but come game time did not follow through.
TSN flexing its muscle?
Now that’s power. With the Bombers/Ticats game running long, the kickoff in Calgary for the Argonauts game was pushed back 15 minutes. Makes a guy wonder who exactly is running the CFL these days? Sure it was a bonus for those watching at home on TV, but tell that to the Stampeders fan who paid money to be there in person.
Third and short
TSN host Dave Ranford can’t help himself with the man-crush for Henry Burris. He’s introducing the quarterbacks for the early game between Hamilton and Winnipeg and he references Burris first. Really? ... New Ticat Carlos Thomas probably didn’t help his long-term employment chances when on the opening kickoff he got in the way of Marcus Thigpen and wound up bringing last year’s special teams threat to the ground. We’re guessing he’ll know better by Week 2 ... The guy breathing easier following that Winnipeg win: Mike Renaud, who opened the game having as bad a night as a punter possibly could. In addition to having a punt blocked, on his first kick of the game he got a net five yards after earning his team a 10-yard penalty for kicking it out of bounds on the fly between the 20s. Renaud rallied later in the game to finish with a 42-yard punt average but even a CFL all-star a year ago gets looked at a little more closely if this game goes the other way.