Bombers win opener
MONTREAL—It had been 10 months since Joey Elliott took a snap in a game, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ third-string quarterback said it went fine.
Elliott, who missed most of last season after tearing a knee ligament against Calgary back on July 14, led a trio of Bomber quarterbacks with nine completions for 111 yards as Winnipeg opened the CFL pre-season with a 22-10 victory over the Montreal Alouettes last night.
“I’m back 100 percent, but I’m also still kind of a rookie in this league myself,” Elliott added. “In game experience, I’m not that high on the totem pole.
“But I’m trying to learn as much as I can and game action is going to help.
“Games are really a lot quicker than practice,” he noted.
Bloi-Dei Dorzon scored the Bombers’ only touchdown on a 37-yard run. Justin Palardy had three field goals while Eric Wilbur booted two.
Travon Patterson caught a touchdown pass for Montreal while Sean Whyte had two field goals in a game in which neither offence dominated.
Neither team used its starting quarterback—Anthony Calvillo for Montreal or Buck Pierce for the Bombers—so each coach got a look at his depth at that critical position.
Alex Brink started for Winnipeg and went 7-for-15 for 74 yards. Justin Goltz went in late and was 2-for-6 for 11 yards.
For Montreal, starter Adrian McPherson struggled with one completion in seven passes for only five yards.
But Josh Neiswander completed 12-of-24 for 124 yards and Scott Riddle went 5-for-10 for 36 yards. They each also threw one interception.
Goltz moved into the No. 3 slot when Elliott went down last season and now the two are battling for that job in camp.
“It’s Buck’s team and we’re all behind him,” said Elliott.
“We have three young quarterbacks and if one of our numbers is called, we all try to jump in there and be successful.”
Despite the victory, coach Paul LaPolice was not thrilled with the Bombers’ performance. The quarterbacks were sacked six times, the team took 12 penalties for 94 yards, and there were two fumbles, all of which denied the offence any momentum.
“Unfortunately, we were putting the ball on the ground too much,” he remarked.
“We were completing passes and fumbling it.
“The quarterbacks did OK, but we only had one TD and it was on a big play, so we have to execute better,” LaPolice stressed.
“I told the players we can’t be happy with what we did. You’ve got to sustain drives and stay on the field.”
Alouettes’ coach Marc Trestman defended McPherson’s weak numbers.
“I was disappointed with the performance of our offence in total,” he said.
“We had opportunities we didn’t convert.”