The B.C. Lions linebacker is a finalist for the CFL's outstanding player award after registering a league-record 143 tackles. But Elimimian called his season "a failure" following his club's lopsided 50-17 loss to the Montreal Alouettes in the East Division semifinal Sunday at Molson Stadium.
"Man, I've got six months of regrets," said a downcast Elimimian, who had a game-high 10 tackles. "What ruined it for me was my No. 1 goal was to win the Grey Cup so everything else is a failure in my eyes.
"These individual accolades, I can't enjoy. I really can't, man, because I want to share something special with these guys. We said the first day of June that we wanted to win the Grey Cup. Me getting tackles, that wasn't part of it."
Montreal put the game away in the third quarter, opening the second half with a nine-play, 79-yard march that Tanner Marsh capped with a two-yard TD run to put the home team ahead 22-3. Then on B.C.'s next possession, Alouettes linebacker intercepted Kevin Glenn, setting up a five-play, 60-yard drive that ended with Brandon Rutley's four-yard touchdown run for a 29-3 advantage.
Marsh added a one-yard TD run later in the third for a 36-3 Montreal lead and the rout was on.
"The third quarter was disastrous," Lions head coach Mike Benevides said. "It was a 12-point half-time score but once the second half started it went downhill and we couldn't recover."
Glenn was just 6-of-18 passing for 64 yards and two interceptions (for a -1.6 passer rating) before being replaced in the second half by youngster Travis Partridge. B.C. thought about bringing former starter Travis Lulay into the game but Benevides said following a warmup Lulay didn't feel physically right.
Lulay has missed 20 of B.C's 21 games the last two seasons with a right shoulder ailment. The Lions added him to their 46-man roster last week hoping he might be able to play, if needed, against Montreal.
Partridge finished 7-of-11 passing for 38 yards and two TDs. While the Lions' offence managed just 249 total yards, a defence that surrendered a league-low 24 TDs was shredded for 215 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
It was an abysmal ending for B.C., which dropped six of its last eight game and was outscored 120-36 over its last three contests, all losses.
The Lions also continued their playoff misery against Montreal. The last time they faced the Alouettes in the post-season they dropped a 56-18 decision in 2009.
The lopsided loss will put Benevides on the hotseat despite having two years remaining on his current deal. But Elimimian came to the defence of his embattled head coach.
"At the end of the day I love coach Benevides and I'm going to play for him and in my eyes he's a great coach," Elimimian said. "Individually, I don't feel guys played to where we needed to play.
"Scheme is one thing but you need to execute and you have to line up man against your man and win the individual battles. Every year, win or lose there's going to be changes roster-wise so we have to look within ourselves individually, we really do because at the end of the day, players play. We didn't do a good job."
The dismal ending to the season will also prompt questions regarding Glenn's future. The 35-year-old Detroit native, acquired from Ottawa during the CFL draft in May, was the CFL's second-rated passer with 3,918 yards with 17 TDs but also threw a league-high 17 interceptions and now sports career a playoff record of 4-7.
But the 14-year CFL veteran has no intentions of retiring.
"I've got three, four years left," he said. "I do feel that and feel confident about that.
"We have some ups, we have some downs but it just builds you, it builds your character, it builds you as a person. This game has been a big part of who I am and I think it's going to carry with me even after I am done."
As for remaining with B.C., Glenn said that decision isn't his to make.
"That kind of thing has yet to be determined," he said. "I'm not in total control of that so we'll have to see."
But Glenn said his faith will help him deal with the disappointment of this loss and put it into perspective.
"This is the toughest loss because it's present," he said. "God won't put you through anything you can't handle.
"I do believe that and once I am done I will cherish these moments and probably look back and say, 'You know what? What's going on in my life 10-15 years from now that loss in Montreal was preparing me for this. You have to take some positive out of a lot of negative right now."