The Edmonton Elks (4-14) ended their season with a fourth straight loss and have missed the playoffs for a third consecutive year, after falling 45-25 to the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg on Saturday.
“We’ve moved forward to (next year),” Elks Head Coach Chris Jones said. “This was a good evaluation process for us, against a very good team here at home. They’re an elite team in the league, no doubt.”
He was asked if he expected coaches, including himself, to be evaluated, too. He replied, “Absolutely they will.”
Blue Bombers running back Brady Oliveira ran for two touchdowns and 72 yards to move into second place on the CFL all-time list for rushing yards by a Canadian.
“It’s a total group effort,” Oliveira said. “Us now being No. 2 all-time in the Canadian rushing list — I say us because it’s truly an accomplishment from this entire offence — is special.
Oliveira leads the league with 1,498 yards through 17 games. Jon Cornish holds the record with 1,813 yards in 2013 with the Calgary Stampeders.
Winnipeg (13-4) had already clinched first place in the West Division when the B.C. Lions lost 41-16 to the Stampeders on Friday. The Blue Bombers finish the regular season next Friday in Calgary.
Nic Demski had five catches for 27 yards, giving him 1,006 yards in 17 games. The first 1,000-yard season of his seven-year career helped Winnipeg make CFL history. The club is the only one to have two Canadians reach both the 1,000-yard receiving and rushing marks in the same year.
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“I feel good,” Demski said of reaching the milestone. “It does feel like a monkey off my back.”
Edmonton receiver Deontez Alexander ran a Winnipeg kickoff 98 yards for a major. Elks backup quarterback Taylor Cornelius tallied two one-yard TDs. Kicker Dean Faithfull connected on a 43-yard field goal and three converts. Jake Julien added a punt single.
Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros played three quarters before being replaced by Dru Brown. Collaros completed 13 of 16 pass attempts for 125 yards with one TD.
Elks quarterback Tre Ford was 12-of-22 passing for 288 yards passing. Receiver Eugene Lewis made seven catches for 158 yards.
“There were some good things out there today, some bad things, but we’ve just got to continue to experience things, learn from them and continue to move forward,” Ford said.
The Bombers led 14-10 after the first quarter, 24-17 at halftime and 31-18 heading into the fourth.
Winnipeg scored on its first possession, and on Edmonton’s first drive.
Two Elks’ penalties helped lead to Oliveira’s first TD at 4:11.
Bombers defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat then forced Ford to fumble and the ball was picked up by Bighill and taken into the end zone. His first career TD was in 2018 with Winnipeg.
A 77-yard catch-and-run by receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux helped set up Cornelius’s one-yard TD plunge at 11:10. Faithfull booted his 43-yarder as time expired in the first quarter to make it 14-10.
Arceneaux now has at least one reception in 146 consecutive games, dating back to July 4, 2010.
A successful Edmonton coach’s challenge for defensive pass interference gave the Elks the ball at the one-yard line, leading to Cornelieus’s second TD with 17 seconds left in the first half.
Alexander scored his kickoff return at 1:36 of the fourth, just after McCrae caught a TD pass from Brown. Bailey scored his second TD five minutes later to make it 45-25.
Kicker Justin Medlock was honoured at halftime for his induction into Winnipeg’s hall of fame this week.
Nicknamed “Money Medlock,” the California product played four of his nine CFL seasons with the Bombers (2016-19). He made 195 of his 228 field-goal attempts for Winnipeg, with the 85.5 per cent the highest in club history, and also punted.
Medlock set a CFL record for his 60 field goals in 2016 and was named the league’s most outstanding special teams player. One of those field goals was from 58 yards, tying him for Winnipeg’s longest field goal with Bernie Ruoff (1975).
Medlock also played for Toronto, Edmonton and Hamilton before joining the Bombers until his retirement after the 2019 season.