Esks score 20 straight points, keep Redblacks winless

Canadian Press

The Edmonton Eskimos keep finding ways to win in the early stages of the CFL season.

Brandyn Thompson’s fumble return touchdown turned the tide as the Eskimos remained undefeated on the season with a narrow 23-21 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks on Friday.

“It’s one thing to have the ball on the ground and it is another thing to scoop and score it,” said Eskimos head coach Jason Maas.

“When you have defensive touchdowns and blocked punts, you should come out on the right end of it. We were fortunate to do that tonight.”

The Eskimos, who were coming off a bye week, improved to 3-0 and moved into sole possession of first place in the West Division.

“It was a grind it out kind of game,” said Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly. “We made the plays when we needed to and all three phases did their jobs at key moments, which was good.”

The defending Grey Cup champion Redblacks dropped to 0-3-1.

“You can’t have a fatal self-inflicted wound where you are letting the other team off the hook when you are playing better football than them and beating them. It’s frustrating,” said Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell.

“But there is also a lot of football still to be played. We have to find a way to get on the right side of these close scores.”

Ottawa got on the board first with a 42-yard field goal by Brett Maher, the only points recorded in the first quarter.

The Redblacks took a 9-0 lead seven minutes into the second quarter, as a 34-yard passing play from Trevor Harris to Greg Ellingson set up a one-yard TD plunge by back-up quarterback Ryan Lindley. The convert missed.

The Eskimos came storming back with scoring plays just 27 seconds apart near the end of the second quarter to take the lead, getting a 21-yard field goal from Sean Whyte and then a touchdown on defence, as a lateral pass from Harris got away from the receiver and was scooped up and taken 31 yards into the end zone by Eskimos defensive back Thompson.

Edmonton then surged into a 17-9 lead on a four-yard TD pass from Reilly to Adarius Bowman with just three seconds to play in the first half.

Eskimo Alex Hoffman-Ellis blocked an Ottawa punt midway through the third, leading to a nine-yard field goal by Whyte.

The Redblacks narrowed the gap at the end of the third quarter on a two-yard TD run by William Powell, but the two-point convert attempt failed.

Edmonton responded with a 36-yard Whyte field goal to go up 23-15.

Ottawa had a chance to tie the game with 27 seconds left after a 13-yard TD pass to Josh Stangby, but the two-point convert attempt was once again unsuccessful.

“You look at games like this and beat yourself up a little bit more because you can look back at giving up a fumble for six and having a blocked punt,” said Harris. “You look back at missed opportunities at two-point conversions. It is frustrating, but not disheartening. We’re going to continue to fight.”

The Redblacks are right back at it on Wednesday, when they play host to the Montreal Alouettes. The Eskimos are in Hamilton on Thursday.

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7 Comments on Esks score 20 straight points, keep Redblacks winless

  1. On the run back of the fumbled lateral Sinopoli 88 is blocked from the rear. Not called. Poor Karen.

  2. Don Sutherland // July 15, 2017 at 10:14 am //

    Maybe they should bring Henry out of retirement.

  3. Hors E Power // July 15, 2017 at 11:26 am //

    I thought “Thanks Hank” on the inside of the rings was giving Burris too much credit. I guess it wasn’t.
    Can Campbell coax him out of Retirement?
    Could we see Tor and Mtl the 2 playoff teams in the east and Ott, Ham miss?

  4. Fun game to watch live. Zylstra and Van played great. I wondered about the hit from behind on the lateral throw myself, but there was no doubt in my mind that the Eskimos were going to win this game, Ottawa just looks snake bitten.

  5. So Campbell thinks that Ottawa was playing better football than the Esks? I’d say that they were pretty evenly matched and when a team keep shooting itself in the foot they AREN’T playing better football! Have to wonder if Maher was having bad flashbacks to last season when as a Ticat he had FOUR punts blocked.

  6. Choking at Commonwealth Stadium – I see the RedBlacks decided to steal that idea back from the Riders LOL

  7. pantsonfire // July 15, 2017 at 4:11 pm //

    The score can be deceiving @ times. A little fact- for the last 3 Qtrs of the game Ottawa had the ball for 14 minutes, that’s all. I would say that’s dominance. Edmonton settled for FG’s after stopping @ the 21, 14 & 2 yard lines. Ottawa had 291 yards of net offence (includes losses). As BC found out after tying Edmonton with less than a minute left, the Esks have the ability to strike quickly but prefer to grind it out with that big OL & big receivers. It was the same vs Mtl. Close game but Durant had 166 yards passing & again the Als only had the ball for 14 minutes the last 3 Qtrs. The few points they had were mostly gifted – 10 points off 2 White fumbles in Qtr 1. The Esks look like a team to watch. I’m not sure their offence is firing on all cylinders yet.

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