Jyles credits teammates for win

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:03 PM ET

They were not the type of dramatics that would have Hollywood script writers calling, but the backup-come-starter was solid in his first match as the unquestioned top gun.

Winnipeg quarterback Steven Jyles completed 19 of 23 passes for an impressive 82.6%, but only for 169 yards and one touchdown, as the Blue Bombers blew out the Saskatchewan Roughriders 31-2 in the Banjo Bowl on Sunday.

It was his first outing as No. 1 after Buck Pierce was felled with an elbow injury likely for the rest of the season.

"Hats off to Steven, he controlled the game and got us the win," Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice said. "I know we didn't turn the ball over on offence ... Plus, we ran the ball well."

Jyles was humble despite the impressive victory.

"I felt pretty good," he said after the Bombers returned to practice Wednesday. "I felt really good about my teammates most of all. Those guys played emotionally and they went out and got it. With the defence playing the way they did and with my teammates playing well around me, that's all you can ask for as a starting quarterback.

"I praised them (receivers) because they caught the ball. It was pretty windy out and the ball was going everywhere, and these guys did a great job of controlling their mindsets and making plays with the football."

Before the game, Jyles had suggested that Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant would want to beat the Bombers to prove he deserved to be the starter when both quarterbacks were in Regina last season.

"I talked to him after the game and he told me congratulations on a good game," said Jyles, who also scampered for 32 yards on five carries. "He praised our team as well as our defence. He said, 'Those guys are good, man.' He told me I did a great job as a quarterback and wished me luck in the future.

"Oh yeah, (that was nice to hear), especially coming from someone you played behind last year and you got to work with last year and got close to."

Durant is now being ripped in Regina for his poor play in his last three outings, two of them losses.

"Saskatchewan fans are tough," said Jyles, 27. "Expectations out there are high, especially after getting to the Grey Cup last year. I'm pretty sure they're not expecting anything less than the Grey Cup this year."

Bomber fans can be just as critical.

"How would I handle it? I wouldn't let it get to me," Jyles assured. "I wouldn't let it bother me. I would just continue to work and stay focused and be a leader on this team -- that's the most important thing, leading the team."

But no one is down on Jyles yet. He has remained upbeat ever since meeting legendary CFL/NFL quarterback Warren Moon when Jyles was a backup in Edmonton.

"He told me to stay positive and that I could be an elite quarterback in this league," Jyles told Sun sports editor Ted Wyman in an interview on Sun Radio.

Now, he is preparing to lead his charges into Toronto to play the Argos in a critical contest on Sunday.

"That (win over Saskatchewan) gives us a lot of belief in ourselves," said the 6-foot, 207-pound Louisiana-Monroe product. "Now, we finally understand what it takes to win and showed it in the Banjo Bowl. If the guys keep believing, keep the faith and keep working hard, we shouldn't miss a step for the rest of the season.

"We need to get this game ... to keep our momentum going because we feel great about everything."


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