CFL

Blue Bombers defeat Elks to become 1st team to clinch playoff spot

Zach Collaros threw two touchdown passes as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Edmonton Elks 26-16 on Friday night to become the first CFL team to clinch a playoff berth.

Zach Collaros throws 2 TDs as Winnipeg earns 7th consecutive victory

Winnipeg's Kenny Lawler makes a catch as Edmonton's Jonathon Mincy Sr. defends during the first half of the Blue Bombers' 26-16 win over the Elks on Friday. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Zach Collaros and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are the first CFL team to secure a playoff berth.

Collaros threw two touchdown passes Winnipeg defeated the Edmonton Elks 26-16 on Friday night. The Blue Bombers (9-1) captured their seventh straight victory and improved to 7-0 within the West Division.

Collaros finished 15-of-24 passing for 210 yards with an interception to remain the CFL's passing leader (2,565 yards). He's also tops in TD passes with 15.

This marks the fifth straight season that Winnipeg, the defending Grey Cup champion, has made the playoffs.

"You think back to 2019 and that feeling of just going to the playoffs and now to clinch it at this point in the season, it feels good," said Winnipeg receiver Rasheed Bailey, who hauled in Collaros's second TD pass in the fourth quarter. "But we are not satisfied.

"We are going to keep getting better and learn from our mistakes and keep winning."

WATCH | Bombers down Elks for 9th win:

Blue Bombers defeat Elks for 7th straight victory

2 months ago
0:53
Winnipeg Blue Bombers become the first CFL team to clinch a playoff berth as they beat Edmonton Elks 26-16. 0:53

Edmonton (2-7) suffered its fifth straight loss and dropped to 0-5 at home this season.

"Guys are still wanting to play and ready to go and wanting to win every game," said Elks quarterback Taylor Cornelius. "It is a little unfortunate we didn't come away with this one, but that's the way it goes sometimes."

Edmonton's defence forced a safety at 9:31 of the first quarter, then came up big five minutes later as Trumaine Washington intercepted Collaros in the end zone. The Bombers closed out the opening quarter with a 37-yard Ali Mourtada field goal.

The Elks responded with Sean Whyte's 34-yard field goal at 11:22 of the second.

Winnipeg took the lead with three minutes left in the first half as a 47-yard completion to Kenny Lawler set up Collaros's five-yard TD strike to Andrew Harris. But Harris appeared to suffer an injury to his right knee and did not return as Brady Oliveira finished up with 105 yards rushing on 16 carries.

WATCH | Bombers' Harris injured following TD against Elks:

Bombers' Andrew Harris suffers injury in game against Elks

2 months ago
1:44
Winnipeg's Andrew Harris falls awkwardly as he scores a touchdown. The running back would leave the game and not return. 1:44

Whyte kicked a 25-yard field cut Winnipeg's half-time lead to 10-8.

Mourtada converted from 27 and a career-high 43 yards to start the third. Edmonton tied it 16-16 on Cornelius's 11-yard TD toss to Shai Ross. Backup quarterback Dakota Prukop added the two-point convert.

Rookie Cornelius got the start as incumbent Trevor Harris was a healthy scratch. Cornelius finished 17-of-29 passing for 187 yards with a TD while rushing four times for 19 yards.

Turning point

Moments after Elks defender Aaron Grymes couldn't hang on to an easy interception opportunity, Collaros hit Bailey on a 48-yard completion before finding him on a five-yard scoring strike six minutes into the fourth.

"You've got to love Zach," said Winnipeg head coach Mike O'Shea. "Grymes drops that ball and he comes right back and gets Bailey.

"He is just unfazed and stands in there and delivers. It's fantastic."

Mourtada cemented the win with a 23-yard field goal with 50 seconds remaining.

Winnipeg hosts the B.C. Lions next Saturday while Edmonton has a bye week before returning home against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Oct. 29.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now