- Free Agency
THE CANADIAN PRESS
WINNIPEG — Maybe Fred Reid should get sick more often.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back missed two practices with a flu bug last week, but bounced back Sunday in a big way.
The four-year veteran had 17 carries for a season-high 148 yards and two touchdowns as the Bombers ended a five-game losing streak with a 31-2 upset victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“I felt good out there,” said Reid, whose 111 yards rushing in the first half included TD runs of eight and 61 yards. “My legs felt fresh.
“I felt like a new man out there.”
Reid called the victory a “season-turner” for Winnipeg (3-7).
“We haven’t been doing so great the past couple of weeks,” Reid said. “We started coming out practising hard and trying to get better and it’s coming together.
“It’s going to come together right at the perfect time we need to head down the stretch so we can make a run at the playoffs.”
Winnipeg quarterback Steven Jyles completed 19-of-23 pass attempts for 169 yards and one touchdown against his former team before a sellout of 29,833 fans at Canad Inns Stadium.
Jyles was playing in his first game as the CFL team’s starter since Buck Pierce dislocated the elbow of his throwing arm last week. Pierce was placed on the nine-game injured list Saturday.
“We had a great team win and I’m fired up about that,” said Jyles, who spent the past two seasons as a backup in Saskatchewan. “I told the guys, ‘If we keep playing like that, we’ll go a long ways in the season.’ ”
Backup quarterback Alex Brink and receiver Chris Davis also had touchdowns for Winnipeg. Justin Palardy added the converts and a field goal.
All Saskatchewan (6-4) could muster were singles by kicker Luca Congi and punter Eddie Johnson. Riders’ starter Darian Durant was 19-of-35 passing for 168 yards and an interception.
“In all phases, we just didn’t get it done,” Durant said. “We had three penalties to take away turnovers.
“We would move the ball and then we’d stall.”
Winnipeg had a 24-1 half-time lead after the Riders shot themselves in the foot with a pair of turnovers, two penalties that wiped out interceptions and a messed-up kickoff return.
On Winnipeg’s opening possession, Jyles put together a seven-play, 66-yard drive capped by Reid’s eight-yard run for his fourth TD of the season.
Jyles was intercepted in the end zone by James Patrick during the drive, but a Saskatchewan penalty for illegal contact on a receiver wiped it out and put Winnipeg on the eight-yard line. That set up Reid’s score.
On the next play, Winnipeg’s kickoff went over the head of Rider returner Dominique Dorsey without him or a teammate touching the ball. Bomber defensive back Brandon Stewart pounced on the ball at Saskatchewan’s 31-yard line to keep Winnipeg’s possession.
The Bombers converted the miscue into Palardy’s 38-yard field goal to go ahead 10-0 at 7:45.
The Riders were in scoring range late in the first quarter, but missed out again.
Facing third-and-one at Winnipeg’s 26-yard line, running back Wes Cates was tripped up by Bomber defensive end Odell Willis short of the first down. The Bombers couldn’t capitalize on the turnover.
Saskatchewan’s second turnover came late in the first half when Durant threw into the wind and was picked off by cornerback LaVar Glover.
The Bombers took over at their own 52-yard line, but late in the drive Jyles was intercepted again by Patrick in the end zone. However, it was nixed by a pass interference penalty.
Winnipeg maintained possession and Brink scored on a one-yard run with six seconds left in the half.
Early in the fourth, Reid fumbled the ball and Saskatchewan linebacker Sean Lucas recovered it. But again the turnover was negated due to a face mask penalty.
Jyles used the reprieve to toss the ball to Davis for his 40-yard TD at 3:09 that rounded out the scoring.
Durant said the loss won’t hurt his team’s motivation.
“We were (6-4) at this time last year and made it to the Grey Cup,” he noted of the championship they lost to Montreal.
“We’re not going to hang our season on one game. We know what we’re capable of, it’s just about making it happen.”
Durant was sacked three times and Winnipeg’s defence held the Riders’ offence to 199 total yards. The Bombers had 375 yards.
Winnipeg defensive tackle Doug Brown tempered his elation over the victory.
“We can’t get caught up in getting too excited about it,” Brown said. “We’re still a 3-7 team right now.
“The second part of this deal is we have to go out to Toronto (next week) and break our winless streak on the road. It’s not the time to be sporadic with our wins right now. We need to put a bunch together and we’ll have our work cut out for us next week.”
Saskatchewan hosts Calgary (9-1) next week.
NOTES: The game marked the first time this season an opponent rushed for more than 100 yards against Saskatchewan . . . The last time the Riders didn’t score a TD was Oct. 31, 2009, against Hamilton . . . Winnipeg had lost its previous five regular-season games against Saskatchewan.