October 15, 2012

Bombers rally to Elliott’s defence following loss

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

CFL.ca Staff

WINNIPEG — In the immediate moments after  Winnipeg’s 32-21 loss to the Calgary Stampeders, quarterback Joey Elliott was more than ready to face the music.

Thing is, however, his teammates refused to let him face it by himself.

“It’s my fault all the way, 110 per cent,” said Elliott inside the Bombers’ locker room after throwing four interceptions on Saturday afternoon.

“The ball leaves my hand. It’s my job, I have to trust my receivers and my reads and I take full responsibility for those mistakes,” he added.

Despite Elliott’s admirable admission to the reality of his performance, Winnipeg receiver Terrence Edwards was quick to defend his young quarterback.

“It’s commendable to see him take this loss that way, but I put it on the whole offence,” said Edwards.

“It takes all 12 of us to put points on the board and we didn’t,” he added.

Simply put, it wasn’t the best of days for the Blue Bombers, as the final stat line showed them registering eight turnovers – a number that on most nights won’t give you a positive opportunity to win.

When the final whistle sounded, Elliott had completed 22 of his 33 passes for 284 yards, zero touchdowns, and four interceptions, a stark resemblance to his stellar performance two weeks ago against the Alouettes, one that saw him thrown three touchdowns en-route to being named Offensive Player of the Week.

Of Elliott’s four interceptions, two of them arrived inside the red-zone, with the picks ending potential scoring drives and halting all momentum the offence had gained in the process. 

That one-game tendency is something Head Coach Tim Burke hopes doesn’t develop into a habbit.

“I thought he played well in the middle of the field, but I thought he played poorly in the red-zone,” said Burke.

It’s performances like the one he put together in Montreal that have set expectations high for the 26-year-old passer.

“I would think that at this point he should be better than he did in the red-zone today,” said Burke.

Both Elliott and Edwards, however, believe that their play wasn’t as poor as the score may have indicated.

“You could see our heart,” said Edwards.

“I think our offence played well, we moved the ball up and down the field at will, it’s just when we got into the red-zone we’d turn it over,” he added.

“I wouldn’t call it inconsistency, I thought we moved the ball pretty well,” stated Elliott.

“Take away those turnovers and we’re right in the game.”

The Bombers now shift their focus to next week, where they travel to Toronto to take on the Argonauts in a crucial East Division battle.

In two games this season, the Argos have had the Blue and Gold’s number, winning both games by a combined score of 54-32.