WINNIPEG - Receiver Clarence Denmark and linebacker Maurice Leggett each scored a pair of touchdowns as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers halted the Saskatchewan Roughriders' three-game win streak with a 48-28 victory on Saturday.
Leggett returned a punt 97 yards for a TD and also intercepted Riders quarterback Kevin Glenn and ran 54 yards for a major in front of a sold-out crowd of 33,134 at Investors Group Field.
Denmark grabbed TD passes of 12 and 18 yards from quarterback Matt Nichols as Winnipeg improved its record to 8-3.
Saskatchewan (5-5) also had some explosive plays in the rematch that failed to follow up on the Riders' 38-24 victory in last weekend's Labour Day Classic.
The Riders put up a pair of long catch-and-run touchdowns, an 88-yarder by Duron Carter and a 75-yard reception from Naaman Roosevelt.
Winnipeg's scoring also included backup quarterback Dan LeFevour plunging in for a one-yard major and receiver Ryan Lankford catching a 23-yard TD reception. Kicker Justin Medlock went wide on a 48-yard field-goal attempt, but hit one from 36 yards out. He made all six of his converts and added singles of 84, 85 and 90 yards.
Saskatchewan got a one-yard TD run from Winnipeg native Kienan LaFrance, who was replacing injured running back Cameron Marshall. Backup quarterback Brandon Bridge sprinted 10 yards for a score, leaping over the goal-line.
Riders kicker Tyler Crapigna was good on two converts. A two-point convert attempt on Roosevelt's TD failed, but was good on Bridge's score.
Nichols completed 24 of 37 pass attempts for 282 yards with three TDs and no interceptions. Glenn was 15 of 22 for 327 yards with two TDs and two picks, but didn't play the second half. Bridge went the rest of the way and was 4 of 8 for 67 yards and an interception.
The teams were tied 7-7 after the first quarter, but Winnipeg held leads of 29-20 lead at halftime and 38-28 after three quarters.
Saskatchewan's first drive of the game was cut short when Bombers linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox intercepted Glenn. It didn't lead to anything as Medlock went wide right on his 48-yard field-goal attempt.
Denmark caught his 12-yard TD pass at 6:29, but Saskatchewan responded with Carter's 88-yard burst down the sidelines as he evaded a tackle attempt by Bombers defensive back T.J. Heath. After his TD, Carter and several teammates did a dance on Winnipeg's goal-line.
In Saskatchewan's home win last weekend, Carter celebrated a TD with fans along the back wall of the end zone and was spit on by a Bombers fan. He said prior to the rematch that he was going to avoid the end zones at Investors Group Field.
Leggett's punt return for a TD ignited the second-quarter scoring. Usual returner Kevin Fogg appeared to act like the ball was coming to his side of the field to try to confuse the cover team.
Saskatchewan conceded a single to make it 15-7 Winnipeg at 7:03 of the second, but then fans were treated to three touchdowns.
In almost a repeat of the Carter TD, Glenn threw the first pass of the next series to Roosevelt, who missed tackles on his way 75 yards down the field for the TD.
Denmark then caught his sixth TD of the season, LaFrance ran in his one-yard TD and LeFevour plunged one yard with five seconds left in the first half.
Winnipeg's lead climbed to 38-20 midway through the third quarter off of a pair of Medlock singles and Leggett's interception for a TD, but Bridge made it a 10-point game with his TD run at 12:29.
The fourth quarter kicked off with Lankford's TD just 26 seconds into the frame and Medlock added his field goal for the 48-28 lead.
Notes: The CFL announced next year's CFL Week will be held in Winnipeg from March 22-25. The event features the league's combine, a Hall of Fame gala dinner to announce inductees and numerous fan activities.
POSTGAME COMMENTS FROM CHRIS JONES
- We failed to execute in a few areas and gave them field position that led to a touchdown. The field position is hidden in there but it's tough to overcome punt return TDs and pick sixes. You can't give those up, and short fields too. It makes it hard on your football team.
- They (Winnipeg) gave up two huge plays too. Had we not given them 21 points in other facets, it could've been a much tighter game. We just can't throw interceptions for TDs and give up returns for TDs. Against good teams, you can't do it.
- There's no update on Kevin Glenn. They don't think it's broke, but even that's premature. We'll have to wait and see what it is.
- With Brandon Bridge, with 3:00 to go when we threw the TD, we shoulda probably slowed it down and took our medicine. Unfortunately he threw that last interception. It's not the full playbook as Kevin has, but it's getting there.
LB HENOC MUAMBA
- It was a really good game, first and foremost. They played better than us and they executed more often than we did. We each threw punches, but they made more plays. It'll be a matter of consistency if we're going to win these games.
- When we don't get the early lead like we did the past few games, we need to buckle up. All in all, it was a decent game. We did a lot of good things well but there will be a few things that we'd like to fix. It's a matter of focusing on the big picture, looking at where we've been and where we're going, and look ahead.
- In every game that we play, win or lose, there's always things to learn from. That's where we are in this season. It's just a matter of looking at this game, the positives and the negatives, and move forward. We feel confident.
WR NAAMAN ROOSEVELT
- We started off slow. Then we picked it up near the end of the first half but we needed to be better in the second half. They were very physical and played better than we did today.
- They definitely schemed us. They watched film and saw what we did. They did a good job of stopping what we do best.
- We knew the crowd would be crazy, with a lot of energy. I knew they weren't going to be the same team after what we did to them last week. We have to get our intensity up early. Our slow start early really messed us up.