The Turnover: Regular Season Game 7

On yet another Thursday night, the Edmonton Elks faced a familiar foe in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. With expectations checked and the Green and Gold faithful tuning in, we all witnessed another game that built and destroyed hope, all within the four quarters of an exciting football game.

In this week's edition of The Turnover, we'll review what went right and what went wrong for the Edmonton Elks in Winnipeg.


  To be honest, these Thursday games don't really give working fans the full Game Day feeling and with Edmonton visiting the Bombers in Winnipeg, I don't know many, if any Elks fans that believed that the Elks would pull off the upset win. Hope will be a big theme for 2023, mostly because us EE fans hope for an Elks win on every Game Day. Despite our hopes, expectation is what brings hope down to what we now know as "reality". Having the Elks only show minimal improvements over 7 games, our expectations were set for a loss and while this may seem negative, we still embraced the word "hope" throughout the whole day and game.

   After working our day jobs, we set up our podcast room and hosted a special Pre-Game Episode of The Elks Call featuring Winnipeg Hangar's Mike Dandrea to talk about the Elks and Bombers. After that, we posted our EE Roll Call and settled in for the game.

The Elks Call Episode 4


   The Elks trotted out onto IG Field with their Home Jerseys on, confusing some CFL fans. Winnipeg has a long tradition of "White Out" games, where their major sports teams wear white jerseys and encourage their fans to do the same. Usually the Winnipeg Jets will do this in the playoffs so we honestly have no clue why the Bombers did this against the Elks, but it appears to have worked well for them on Thursday. The Bombers promoted this game by teasing a white Kenny Lawler jersey, who has been away from the team dealing with immigration issues during his return after a year with the Elks.

   For the first few minutes, the Elks and Bombers went back and forth in a battle for field position. The Elks made the first big play when DB Marcus Lewis intercepted a Zach Collaros pass, Lewis' second interception of the year.

   With good field position, Elks QB Taylor Cornelius would construct a drive with help from reciever Kyran Moore, and his own two feet, which would get the Elks to the Red Zone. Unfortunately, this is where the recurring Red Zone issues would appear and with a Bombers interception at the 5 yard line, Collaros and company went back to work. A long pass to reciever Kenny Lawler would bring the Bombers back to midfield, even though the catch was assisted by the turf. Elks Head Coach Chris Jones didn't challenge the bobbled catch fast enough and after a few plays, Bombers QB Dakota Prukop pulled off a successful quarterback sneak to score the first touchdown of the game, effectively making the Elks pay for the turnover. On the point after touchdown, kicker Sergio Castillo missed his mark and Elks return specialist C.J. Sims caught the ball, ran it out of the end zone and down the field at full speed. He was a stumble and fall away from what could have been a touchdown the other way.

   In the second quarter, the Elks defense continued to apply pressure with an early sack on Zach Collaros. Once the Elks regained possession, Cornelius and the Elks offense tried to move the ball into the Bombers end but with RB Kevin Brown not getting the run blocking required for his play style and Stephen McAdoo's play calling, Cornelius had to use his legs yet again to gain positive yardage. Kicker Dean Faithfull would finish this drive with a field goal, giving the Elks 3 points to the Bombers' 6. The Elks defense would stand tall to get the ball back into the hands of Cornelius, however the combination of a collapsing pocket, dropped passes and good defensive coverage by the Bombers would result in another field goal by Faithfull. 6-6 game going into the half.

   Now, based on Social Media, news articles and talking with fellow fans, we believe just about every person that follows or cheers for the Elks went into the third quarter with great reservations. The third quarter has been a battleground where many games have been lost for the Elks. The hopes are that the Elks can figure out the third quarter, but the reality is that all but one game this year has been basically lost in the third.

   The Elks would try to hold off the Bombers, however Zach Collaros had other plans. After a couple of big completions, Castillo kicked another field goal to give Winnipeg the lead again, 9-6 the score. After an Elks Rouge courtesy of punter Jake Julien, Collaros and the Blue Bombers went right back to work with a long touchdown pass to REC Nic Demski from Winnipeg's 40-yard line, giving Winnipeg a 16-7 lead. Minutes later Cornelius answered back with a similar touchdown pass to REC Dillon Mitchell to bring the score to 16-14, a very welcome sight for fans that have watched the many dreadful third quarters this season. After some more back-and-forth football, Cornelius would find himself on the Elks 5 yard line in critical play mode. Unfortunately, an intentional grounding (which wasn't that intentional) made possible by the Winnipeg defense resulted in a safety by the rule book. From there, the hopes began to fade and expectations were remembered. After almost three quarters of good defensive play, the Elks began to show fatigue and the Bombers took advantage. With another big completion and some running plays, the Bombers tacked on another field goal to extend their lead to 21-14.

  The fourth quarter was ultimately where this game fell apart for the Elks. With the offense not producing long drives or staying on the field for very long periods, the defense struggled to stop the ball at critical times. Winnipeg running back Brady Oliviera was able to run through the Elks defensive line with ease for the rest of the quarter, effectively eating the time on the clock while doing so. After Oliviera dragged an Elks defender through the red zone, Collaros completed a pass to REC Rasheed Bailey in the end zone for another Bombers major, 28-14 the score. The Elks tried to answer back but with time running out and the defense fatigued, the game would all but end on a Cornelius long pass attempt that would be intercepted by Bombers DB Demerio Houston, his second interception of the night. Expectation became reality and the Elks would lose their seventh game of the season, punctuated by a blocked pass attempt in the final minute.


1. Elks had a chance. Game slipped away once the D got tired. Couldn't stop the run or throw in the 4th. This was due to a tired defense, due to the offense not being on the field long enough to rest the defense.

2. O-Line couldn't keep up with Jeffcoat and Jefferson. We know that the offensive line has been an issue for the Elks but Winnipeg's defensive line exploited the Elks' offensive line all night. Multiple blocked passes and a broken pocket on many plays hindered Cornelius in moving the ball forward.

3. Injuries are mounting and the results are already showing. Before this game even started, the Elks were without J-Min Pelley, Aaron Grymes, Ed Gainey and Eugene Lewis, amongst others. During the game the Elks also lost A.C. Leonard to injury, who was playing very well in Thursday's tilt. Next man up as they say, in a land where the Elks need their regular starters more than ever.


  While The Elks Herd maintains positivity and hope while delivering observations and statistics, our expectations for this game was a loss on the schedule. Winnipeg is a healthier team with a Championship pedigree, opposite to the Elks who are an injured, rebuilding team. Our expectations were met with a loss, therefor any positives and improvements from this game are considered above expectations for us. Life of an Elks fan, eh?


   Elks kicker Dean Faithfull was perfect in this game. No missed field goals means confidence is rising and improvement over the other games played in 2023 so far. He went 2/2 with the longest being a 30 yard attempt.

   C.J. Sims had a good night on return duties, giving the Elks decent field position on a couple of occasions. He finished with 4 attempts for 46 yards, an average of 11.5 yards per carry.  

  The Elks defense as a whole played a great game. If it wasn't for the many failed offensive drives, the defense may not have broken down in the fourth quarter and the score may be different. Unfortunately for the Elks and us fans, the Elks offense hasn't been able to keep the defense off the field for extended amounts of time, meaning the defense simply could not hold off the Bombers in the fourth. Not for a lack of trying, the defense stood tall and prevented the Bombers from blowing out the Elks, even in the fourth quarter.

   Taylor Cornelius appears to be getting more comfortable scrambling out of the pocket and using his legs to obtain positive yardage which is welcome considering how it helped the offense in 2022. 4 rushing attempts equalled 57 yards, an average of 14.3 yards per carry. Taylor did have a few bad pass attempts, but the heavy Winnipeg pressure coupled with dropped passes and a leaky offensive line were bigger factors in Thursday's loss. Taylor netted 220 passing yards on 29 attempts with an average of 7.6 yards per attempt.


   The Edmonton Elks will defend Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, July 29th at 5:00PM Mountain against the Best In The West, the BC Lions. The Elks are looking to prevent sole possession of the record for Home Losses in-a-row, and while we'll maintain hope and positivity as always, we may have to set some expectations of our own. Rain or shine, win or lose, history or not, we'll be there with our jerseys on, horns in hands and ready to cheer on the Green and Gold with our fellow fans. Go Elks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *