ESKIMOS OVERCOME EARLY DEFICIT, RUNAWAY WITH WIN OVER LIONS
Like an air plane, it was a gradual take-off for Mike Reilly and the Edmonton Eskimos offence. But once they got some wind under their wings, there was nothing the BC Lions could do to slow them down.
Edmonton defeated the BC Lions and improve to 2-1 on the season after a 41-22 decision. The Lions get handed their first loss of the 2018 season.
After only completing two passes in the first quarter, Reilly picked things up as halftime approached and finished the game passing for 326 yards and three touchdowns. All while completing 22 of his 30 pass attempts, good for a 73 completion percentage.
Coming off of their Week 2 Bye, the Lions traveled to Alberta’s capital to take on an Edmonton squad in search of a bounce-back after losing to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last week.
The Edmonton Eskimos were certainly hoping for a much different start than the one they put forth in the opening quarter of their game Friday night.
On Edmonton’s first offensive drive, TJ Lee found a Reilly pass attempt falling into his mitts after Eskimos’ Nate Behar was unable to handle a jump ball.
Jonathon Jennings immediately took advantage of the positive field position following the interception by taking a deep shot of his own and drawing a pass interference call in the end zone, setting up a first and short for the Lions offence. Jeremiah Johnson plunged forward for the first touchdown of the game.
The nightmarish start for the Eskimos would continue on the following kick off as BC’s Mitch Barnett forced a fumble on the return. DyShawn Davis recovered the fumble, which resulted in a 14-yard Ty Long field goal to put the Lions ahead 11-0 early in the first quarter.
At the end of the first quarter, Edmonton had only tallied 51 yards of offence. Needless to say, it was a very uncharacteristic quarter of play from the Eskimos that only saw Mike Reilly complete two passes as the Lions held possession for nearly ten minutes.
The offensive struggles would carry over to the second quarter. On a well set up play by the Eskimos, Reilly failed to connect with a wide-open Kenny Stafford who had the potential of taking it the distance.
Ty Long connected on his second field goal of the night on a 39-yard attempt to put the Lions up by 12 halfway through the second quarter.
A challenged-aided drive gave the Eskimos some life nearing the three-minute warning of the second quarter. Reilly connected with Stafford on a crossing route to push Edmonton deep in the Lions end of the field. The drive would conclude with a 14-yard touchdown from Reilly to Natey Adjei.
That was just the start, however.
Reilly and his offence got possession back with less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter, piecing together a scoring drive that was capped off by a touchdown pass to Kenny Stafford and a two-point conversion to D’haquille Williams.
Edmonton headed into halftime overcoming a 12-point deficit and leading the Lions 17-14.
In the third quarter, the Eskimos continued to have their offence rolling on the ground as CJ Gable eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the night, as well as scoring a touchdown with 4:42 remaining in the quarter.
Three minutes later, the Eskimos added to their score after Reilly completed a home run pass to Duke Williams for 64-yards, only to re-connect for the two-point convert immediately following.
The third quarter came to a close following a pass attempt that initially fell incomplete. Following a challenge by BC’s head coach Wally Buono, it was determined that there was pass interference, giving the Lions a first and goal situation to open the final quarter.
Cody Fajardo, BC’s short-yardage quarterback, plunged the ball in from 1-yard out to bring the Leos within ten following the point-after.
Tallying his fourth of the season, and tied for the league lead at that, Reilly capped the following Eskimo drive with a 1-yard sneak of his own, further extending Edmonton’s lead to 38-22.
Shawn Whyte capped off the Eskimo scoring for the night, kicking a 24-yard field goal and sealing the victory for Edmonton.
Edmonton will hit the road to Toronto, taking on their second team in a row who will be coming off of a Bye Week. That game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. kick off on Saturday, July 7. As for the Lions, they’ll continue their western road trip against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers following the conclusion of the Edmonton at Toronto game.