Blue Bombers erase 22 point deficit to defeat Edmonton Elks

EDMONTON – Even when it looked like it would finally be the Edmonton Elks’ night, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers showed why they sit stop the West Division.

The Bombers erased a 22-point deficit to defeat the Elks 38-29 behind the effort of Dru Brown filling in for an injured Zach Collaros.

Brown threw for 307 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in the win as Brady Oliveira led the charge on the ground with 110 yards as well as 20 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Adam Bighill led Winnipeg’s defence with six tackles while Evan Holm added three tackles and an interception.

Tre Ford threw for 189 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the loss while Kevin Brown added 98 rushing yards and a touchdown for the Elks in the losing effort.

The game started out promising for the Elks as they scored on the first play of the game, finding the end zone in less than a minute as Brown rushed 65 yards to the end zone.

Two plays later the young Elks quarterback Ford showed his dual-threat abilities with his first touchdown of season with 2:13 play, rushing for eight yards into the end zone to lead 15-0 in the first quarter.

Trying to find a ground game Winnipeg could not break through the Elks defence, and the Bombers were shut out in the first quarter with A.C. Leonard sacking Collaros to force a punt as the clock ran out.

Four minutes into the second quarter, as Collaros threw an interception unsuccessfully trying t0 avoid a hit, Loucheiz Purifoy scooped the ball up for an Elks touchdown, but Collaros had to leave the game after suffering an upper-body injury.

With Brown now under centre for the Bombers, Leonard recorded his second sack of the night on Brown’s first drive, and the Bombers continued to look for opportunity to move the ball downfield through Oliveira, who is on pace for a 1,300 yard season.

But on the next drive it would take Brown just three and a half minutes and seven plays to move 85 yards and find Dalton Schoen for his team-leading fifth touchdown of the season, with Brown going 5-of-5 on the drive to get on the board.

The Bombers would have to rely on Castillo to make a 53-yard field goal on their next drive, which was successful to bring them to 10 points and trail by only 12.

Momentum looked to be back on Edmonton’s side to start the third quarter as Ford found Dillon Mitchell for 53 yards to get inside the Bombers’ 25-yard line, but a fumble meant the Bombers would take over and Brown’s big night continued as he found Nic Demski for an 18-yard touchdown with five minutes to play to only trail by five points.

Ford would beat the blitz to find Kyran Moore for 70 yards, just his second touchdown of year, to lead by 12 once again with less than three minutes to play in third quarter.

Less than ideal play including pass interference and too many men penalties from Edmonton allowed Winnipeg to respond with 39 seconds to play, as Dakota Prukop rushed in the one-yard score to cut the lead once again.

An interception on Ford from Holm closed out the third quarter, which propelled Winnipeg’s offence to turn around and start the fourth quarter with a 32-yard touchdown from Kenny Lawler on first drive.

Brady Oliveira would get a touchdown of his own after carrying much of the ground game all night, running the ball in 17 yards to the right all alone with less than four minutes to play to all but seal the win.

The final defensive stop from Winnipeg with two minutes to play that gave them the ball back and claim victory marked their ninth straight win against the Elks.

The Elks will head to Tim Hortons Field in Week 11 to take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET while the Bombers head to McMahon Stadium to face the Calgary Stampeders on Aug. 18 at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.