Friday, June 29, 2018

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.

TICATS OFFENCE CONTROLS BOMBERS IN HOME OPENER WIN AT THF

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats dominated both sides of the ball for long stretches on Friday night en route to a 31-17 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Tim Hortons Field.
Ticats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli broke the 300-yard passing mark for the eighth-straight game, Hamilton’s defence largely shut down the Chris Streveler-led Bombers offence — at one point forcing six consecutive two-and-outs — and the Tabbies built an important cushion in the second half.
Masoli finished the night with 31 completions for 369 yards, while three of his receivers eclipsed the 80-yard receiving mark; defensively, the Ticats limited Winnipeg for the better part of three quarters before a late Bomber comeback attempt.
The Bombers defence got off to a hot start, as rookie defensive back Marcus Sayles stepped up and intercepted a Jeremiah Masoli pass intended for Terrence Toliver; Sayles then took off and scampered nearly 40 yards down inside the Hamilton 30-yard line.
Four plays later, Winnipeg found the end zone on a plunging one-yard Andrew Harris touchdown dive. Justin Medlock’s convert then opened up a 7-0 lead for the visitors.
Masoli and co. found their offensive rhythm later in the first quarter; the Ticat pivot found Brandon Banks for 37 yards, then running back Sean Thomas-Erlington battered the ball down to the 1-yard line, setting up a short Mercer Timmis touchdown run. Lirim Hajrullahu’s convert tied the ballgame at seven.
Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea then went into his bag of tricks with a fake-punt run by Jesse Briggs to extend a drive; three plays later, Medlock drilled a 38-yard field goal to retake the lead for Winnipeg.
That lead did not last long, as Hajrullahu nailed a 50-yard boot on the ensuing drive to draw the Ticats level.
A run by Thomas-Erlington — featuring a ridiculous hurdle over a Winnipeg defender — then set up a 17-yard chip shot of a field goal by Hajrullahu.
Another kick from Hajrullahu, this time from 42 yards out as the second-quarter clock expired, sent the Ticats to the locker room with a 16-10 lead at the half.
Masoli came out firing in the third quarter, completing six straight passes to set up Timmis’s second touchdown plunge of the evening from four yards out; the two-point convert fluttered incomplete, and Hamilton led 22-10.
The Ticats continued to stifle Streveler and the Winnipeg offence, and Masoli was more than happy to seize the opportunity to widen the gap: After a Bomber two-and-out, Hamilton’s offence needed just four plays to find the end zone on a pretty 25-yard Masoli-to-Toliver connection.
Coordinator Jerry Glanville’s Hamilton defence forced six straight Winnipeg two-and-outs.
But, there was more than a bit of life left in the Bombers’ rookie quarterback, as he sprinted his way into the end zone with 10 minutes left to cut the deficit — following Medlock’s convert — to 14 points.
Despite running a strong three-minute drill, Streveler and co. were unable to find the end zone late, sealing their fate.
While Mercer Timmis was the story in the Ticat back field in Week 2, it was Sean Thomas-Erlington who stole the show in black and gold with a dazzling 92-yard performance.
Bombers linebacker Adam Bighill registered a game-high 10 tackles in the defeat; veteran Ticat Simoni Lawrence paced his team with six tackles and also recorded a sack.
Streveler finished the night with a 17-for-28, 146-yard line; the 23-year-old did not throw a touchdown or interception in the defeat.
With the win, the Tiger-Cats improved to 2-1 on the young season; June Jones’s team will now travel to Saskatchewan for a date with the Roughriders (1-1) in Week 4’s Thursday Night Football matchup (9 p.m. ET).
The loss dropped the Bombers to 1-2; Mike O’Shea’s group will return home in Week 4 for a date with the BC Lions next Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET).

STAYING PERFECT: STAMPS PULL AWAY IN FOURTH TO TAKE DOWN REDBLACKS

Defensive lineman Ja’Gared Davis led the way with six tackles and a sack while Bo Levi Mitchell threw for two touchdowns, as the Stampeders moved to 3-0 with a convincing 24-14 victory over the REDBLACKS on Thursday night.
Defence was the name of the game early, with both offences struggling to find a rhythm in the first quarter.
RB William Powell gave the REDBLACKS offence a boost late in the first quarter, ripping off three consecutive first-down runs to put his team deep into Stampeders territory. K Lewis Ward converted on his first field goal attempt of the night, giving Ottawa an early 3-0 lead.
Stamps’ QB Bo Levi Mitchell, who so effortlessly picked apart the Toronto Argonauts’ defence in week 2, couldn’t find the same success early on Thursday, as the REDBLACKS defence gave him and the Calgary offence no room to breathe.
Meanwhile Powell continued to find success against the typically stingy Stampeders defence, juking his way to another big gain on the REDBLACKS’ first possession of the second quarter. Once again however, the Stamps defence stood tall when it mattered, forcing another Ward field goal. Entering Thursday night’s game, the Stamps D had allowed just two touchdowns on 30 possessions to begin the 2018 season.
After starting the game with five consecutive punts, Calgary’s offence was given a gift by their defence midway through the second quarter, A tipped Trevor Harris pass ended up in the arms of LB Micah Johnson deep in REDBLACKS territory, giving Mitchell and the Stamps prime field position.
It didn’t take long for Mitchell to find his favourite target, WR Eric Rogers, who scored his league-leading third receiving touchdown of the season on a short underneath route. K Rene Parades’ convert attempt was good and the Stamps took their first lead of the game with time winding down in the first half.
The interception by Johnson seemed to wake up the Stamps offence, as Mitchell continued to find success on Calgary’s next possession, tearing off chunks of yards with completions to Rogers and Juwan Brescacin. Mitchell was just centimeters away from doubling his money with another touchdown pass to CFL rushing leader Don Jackson, but the ball tumbled through his outstretched hands and a promising drive for Calgary ended without points.
The Stamps headed to halftime with a narrow 7-6 lead over the visiting REDBLACKS, as both defences were able to shut down the typically potent offences.
REDBLACKS DB Rico Murray made his mark on the game early in the third quarter, tracking down a late pass from Mitchell and nabbing his second interception of the 2018 season, while ending a dangerous Stampeders drive.
A punt single from Ottawa P Richie Leone tied the game at 7 midway through the third quarter.
Once again Mitchell had Jackson streaking down the sideline and Calgary looked to have six points in the books, but Jackson bobbled the pass and the Stampeders settled for a field goal from Parades, taking a 10-7 lead.
After struggling for much of the second half, the REDBLACKS seemed to flip a switch on their next possession, as Harris found SB Greg Ellingson deep down the middle for a 56-yard completion. With a first down inside the 10, it looked certain that the REDBLACKS would at least tie the game, but after moving to the 1 yard line on second down, the Stamps defensive line stood tall and stuffed the sneak attempt.
That defensive stop may have been the turning point, as the Stampeders quickly got to work on offense, and Mitchell tossed his second major of the game, finding WR Kamar Jorden deep down the middle for a 32-yard score.
After the kickoff, the Stamps’ defence made another big play, knocking the ball loose from SB Brad Sinopoli and handing the keys right back to Bo. This time it was Jackson’s turn to score, as he notched his second touchdown of the season.
The REDBLACKS swapped Harris for Dominique Davis late in the fourth and he quickly made his mark on the game, finding Ellingson in the end zone to cut into the Stamps lead. But it was too little too late, and the Stampeders marched away with the victory.
Next week the REDBLACKS will travel to Montreal to take on the Alouettes while the Stampeders head into the bye week before heading to the nation’s capital in week 5 for a rematch with Ottawa.