For the most part, it was a first quarter to forget.

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This article was published 22/7/2019 (863 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

For the most part, it was a first quarter to forget.

Neither the Winnipeg Blue Bombers nor Ottawa Redblacks could get it going on offence early in Friday night’s tilt at IG Field, as both teams started the game with three straight punts.

SASHA SEFTER / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back Winston Rose takes part in drills during practice at IG Field on Monday afternoon. His pick-six Friday night against Ottawa was a game-breaker.</p></p>

SASHA SEFTER / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back Winston Rose takes part in drills during practice at IG Field on Monday afternoon. His pick-six Friday night against Ottawa was a game-breaker.

'That (interception) just picked up the energy and the crowd got into it'‐ Blue Bombers DB Winston Rose 

But all it took was a play by Bombers defensive back Winston Rose to wake up not only the crowd, but the Blue and Gold. With just more than six minutes left on the clock in the opening quarter, Rose jumped a route, picked off a Jonathon Jennings pass and took it back 71 yards for the first touchdown of the game. The pick happened to be the first career professional pick-six for the 25-year-old Rose, who signed with the Blue and Gold in the off-season after spending his first two seasons with Ottawa and the B.C. Lions. It also put him ahead of Jeff Hecht for the team lead in interceptions, as Rose now sits at three, and is two behind Calgary’s Tre Roberson, the league leader with five.

The play surely gave the Bombers a spark, as they’d go on to score touchdowns on three of their next four drives to take a commanding 28-1 lead at halftime. The defence would pitch a shutout in the second half and the Bombers would send the Redblacks home with an embarrassing 31-1 loss.

"I’m just happy that it came because we actually needed something to spark the game. I felt like it was kind of going slow," Rose told the media after Monday afternoon’s practice at IG Field. "That just picked up the energy and the crowd got into it and it was a wrap after that."

It’s not like Rose’s strong start to the season is coming out of nowhere, either. After all, he did have five interceptions last year, which tied for the league lead with four others. So with that said, is it time for Rose to get more credit for the brilliant defensive play of the Bombers?

"Honestly, I’m not worrying about that. I’m just trying to do my job and just whatever happens, happens," said Rose, who had a workout with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings in the off-season. "Fortunately I’m getting noticed right now, but really, and truly, (the) Winnipeg Blue Bombers are doing their thing right now, so that’s the ultimate goal."

Most impressive about the Bombers is how dominant they’ve been without their best player on defence, linebacker Adam Bighill. He’s missed the past three games for the undefeated Bombers, and the team has responded well without him. The Bombers have surrendered only 36 points the past three weeks, with their best performance coming Friday. The Blue and Gold held Ottawa quarterbacks Jonathon Jennings and William Arndt to a combined 10-28 on passing attempts for 102 yards and two interceptions. After five games, the Bombers have given up the fewest points in the CFL this season (80). Hamilton is in second with 100 points allowed. Even though the numbers back it up, the Bombers aren’t ready to claim the title as best defence in the league.

"I’d say it’s still early in the season," defensive lineman Willie Jefferson. said. "We want to be the best defence in the league and we strive to be the best defence in the league. That’s why we come out every week and put up the numbers that we put up. But when it comes down to the end of the season, we’re going to see where that lies. As of right now, there’s where we want to be. That’s the mindset we give ourselves every time we step out on the field."

And in what will surely send shivers down the spines of quarterbacks around the league, Jefferson said he thinks their defence is capable of even bigger and better things.

"Our defence is so good. We haven’t even tapped into our full potential yet," Jefferson said.

"Like I said, it’s a long season. Guys are still trying to find themselves, trying to get those plays and stuff in. It’s going to be good."

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
Reporter

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.