Eskimos withstand late surge from Ticats, improve to 6-0

Shane Jones, Canadian Press

It’s been more 56 years since the Edmonton Eskimos have seen a start to the season like this one.

Mike Reilly scored a pair of touchdowns and passed for two more as the Eskimos remained the only undefeated team in the CFL with a 33-28 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday. It is the first time the Eskimos have been 6-0 since 1961.

“It was another gritty, gutsy win,” said Eskimos head coach Jason Maas. “It came down to the end again and we were very fortunate to come out of that with a positive.

“I give them a lot of credit. They battled all night against us.”

Reilly completed 29-of-38 passes for 317 yards.

“I think we made it a lot harder on ourselves in the fourth quarter of that game,” he said. “But on the flipside of it, our defence stood tall and got the stop at the very end and we battled through more injuries tonight.”

Hamilton has still yet to win a game this year, falling to 0-6.

“It’s as close as we have been to a win this year,” said Ticats receiver Luke Tasker. “We battled a team that is undefeated right down to the stretch. We can take some good away, but we still have a pretty bad taste in our mouths.”

Edmonton started the scoring midway through the first quarter after using its only challenge to successfully earn a pass interference call in the end zone, leading to a one-yard quarterback sneak touchdown by Reilly. The convert kick was wide.

Hamilton bounced back just over a minute later as QB Zack Collaros found receiver Damarr Aultman _ playing his first CFL game _ for a 46-yard passing TD. The Ticats added a two-point convert pass to Luke Tasker to take an 8-6 lead.

The Eskimos regained the lead with 23 seconds left in the opening frame, as Reilly completed a 36-yard TD pass to Bryant Mitchell.

Hamilton responded with a 27-yard Sergio Castillo field goal.

Edmonton made it 20-11 with just over two minutes to play in the first half as Reilly called his own number for a five-yard TD run. The Esks added a 25-yard Hugh O’Neill field goal before halftime.

O’Neill kicked a 35-yarder five minutes into the third to make it 26-11 for Edmonton, but Hamilton responded with a seven-yard TD pass from Collaros to Brandon Banks.

The Ticats then closed to within five points with a 47-yard Castillo field goal late in the third.

The Eskimos padded their lead four minutes into the second on a 15-yard TD pass from Reilly to Vidal Hazelton.

Edmonton fumbled the ball away on its on 17 with just over two minutes to play, eventually leading to a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders.

It got dicey at the end as the Eskimos turned the ball over at midfield on a third-down gamble with 42 seconds left, but Hamilton was unable to take advantage.

The Eskimos travel to Ottawa next Thursday, while the Tiger-Cats host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next Saturday.

Notes: The Eskimos came into the game with 18 players on the six-game injured list, including the likes of running backs John White and Travon Van, receiver Adarius Bowman, linebacker J.C. Sherritt and kicker Sean Whyte. They then went on to lose LB Doug Parrish, OL Justin Sorensen and WR Brandon Zylstra to injuries in the first half? The Ticats came into the contest with just five offensive TDs on the season and averaging just 18 points a game.

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57 Comments on Eskimos withstand late surge from Ticats, improve to 6-0

  1. Hamilton offense played best game of the season but o line still can’t block, and the defense even though it gave up a lot of yards again but got the stop when they needed it most. As pathetic as it may be this team still has a chance considering no east team can win a game anymore!

  2. justforkicks // August 5, 2017 at 1:01 am //

    Well done Hamilton, an exciting and close game against a very tough team!

  3. longtimetcfan // August 5, 2017 at 1:02 am //

    I thought that when Tasker made that first down catch (less than 30 seconds left) and went out of bounds it would have stopped the clock. Didn’t the clock start once the play was blown in? 15 or more seconds lost?

    Also… figures that once they changed the challenge flag rules the team (possibly) gets screwed :-[

    • BigRedMachine // August 5, 2017 at 1:10 am //

      I agree with the comment on the clock. Seemed to me the Ti-Cats got screwed…

  4. Hors E Power // August 5, 2017 at 1:09 am //

    I would love dearly to come on here tonight and use the close score as an argument for Calgary being the best team but I don’t think its fair.
    Drama in the final minutes aside I think Edmonton played an efficient game, made the plays when needed and where decididley better in this game.
    Full points to Hamilton for keeping it close

    FANS WHERE TREATED TO 6 HOURS OF GREAT FOOTBALL TONIGHT

    • George Porge // August 5, 2017 at 2:13 pm //

      “I would love dearly to come on here tonight and use the close score as an argument for Calgary being the best team but I don’t think its fair.”

      No, it wouldn’t be fair, and it would betray a lack of football sense on your part. The only difference between the Calgary game and the Edmonton game is this: the former was a good team on a good day versus a bad team on a bad day. The latter was a good team on a bad day versus a bad team on a good day. It doesn’t take much to throw the balance out between teams in this league. A bad pass here, a bad block there, and all of a sudden, you are down seven more points. Do that three times, and you have a blowout.

  5. ChrisJimJones // August 5, 2017 at 1:11 am //

    Austen was denied his challenge because he had no time-outs left. The rule requiring the team to have a time-out left in order to challenge is not new.

    Regardless, the challenge would not have likely been successful anyway. It didn’t look like the receiver was interfered with.

  6. Hors E Power // August 5, 2017 at 1:18 am //

    Jeff Foxcroft – ” The command center has determined the spot of the ball; we will now measure”
    How the hell do a group of people sitting in a room 3000 kms away, watching the same feed we are, determine that spot? The 4 idiots in striped shirts right in front of the scrum should be able to determine that far better.
    That should not be the purpose of the command center.

  7. longtimetcfan // August 5, 2017 at 1:28 am //

    Will another useless, after-the-fact admission of a screw up be coming from the League re the clock continued to run after Tasker ran the ball out of bounds in the last 30 seconds?

    Cats lost at least 15 seconds, maybe 2 more plays and no Hail Mary pass necessary at the end.

    • Never mind Colaros crossing the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball, no penalty called.

    • Lions pull that stunt all the time at BC Place…pretend nobody will notice. Esks just borrowed a page from their book.

      • Wasn’t talking about the Esks, was talking about the TiCats

        • Don’t know what you are talking about. I’m talking about certain teams and stadiums where they purposely allow the time to tick on their opponent (when the opponent has the ball near the end of the half or game) well after the play is whistled down. When Tasker ran out of bounds the clock should have stopped right at that moment. It didn’t.

          • Of course it should have stopped, I agree, I wasn’t disputing that. I mentioned the play where Collaros crossed the line of scrimmage and released the ball, a ten yard penalty I believe. But no call. My point is there was miscalls on both sides. Also on on Hamiltons last TD it looked like offensive pass interference in the end zone.

        • Only reason there were miscalls on both sides was that Proulx wasn’t the referee. Otherwise it would be what, 90% on the TC’s?

  8. gold fan // August 5, 2017 at 1:29 am //

    This was an excellent team effort. The defensive schemes are very suspect. There is too of a cushion given to the receivers. Edmonton seemed to go up and down the field at will. A field goal should have been attempted on third down in the Edmonton end. There are still issues but a solid effort tonight

  9. great effort from the Cats

  10. I know Hamilton was at the 3 yard line and all….but with 7 minutes left why wouldn’t they take the 3 points ? In the end if they had taken that all they needed on the last drive would have been a fg

    • You really think EDM would have still gone for it on 3rd and 1 at the 55 if we were within a field goal of winning? (Hint: they would have punted it deep.)

  11. Penalties kept it close. Edmonton was penalized for 156 yards & you’re not going to win too many games that way – but, to be fair, they are playing with a lot of new players. When you have just under 37 minutes possession & over 30 1st downs that is a clear indication that the difference should have been higher. Four sacks & I don’t know how many pressures – the offence ran the show the 1st 3 quarters & then the defence took over in the 4th. Fully deserving of their record considering the circumstances. If the Eskimos get healthy & get some bodies back in the 2nd half, they’ll be hard to beat. Tip of the hat to them.

  12. I’d be remiss on not mentioning the TiCats’ effort. Reilly paid them the ultimate complement by saying he was happy to see the last of them. These 2 have split their last 10 games. Despite all their troubles, Hamilton still has one of the best front 7 IF they play to their abilities. Chick FINALLY had a good game.

  13. Bend and break TC D strikes again. Banks still looks like he is carrying lead in his boots. Collaros still has a fascination with throwing pics at crucial times of the game. Orlando’s ghost still hovers over the TC D with that “Prevent D” scheme at the crux of a game – which always fails. As well, nobody on that D to step up and make a game altering play. Gable drops a key pass – again. And there are no “moral” victories folks – had enough of that BS after the 2014 GC. 1999…and waiting.

    • Solara2000 // August 5, 2017 at 11:48 am //

      Moral victories are worth the points in the standing you gain – zero

      • Exactly. Try telling that to some of the people on this site who get their shorts all in a knot because you call out specific players on this woeful and painful 2017 TC edition. The team is 0-7, I say, 0-7…not 7-0!

        • Sorry, 0-6. I was doing my best Kreskin and looking ahead to next week vs “O’Shea Sucks”.

  14. Eskimos GM and his personnel dept. sure have GOTTEN THE JOB DONE in a big way. This team probably leads the league in injuries and still finds a way to win with the NEXT MAN UP necessary to continue winning. Many other teams it would sink them for the year and they would use the injury excuse as the reason for it. Kudos to the Eskimos front office and the players getting the job done.

  15. The Green and Yellow are smoke-and-mirrors. Maas IS the reason the challenge rules were finally changed – his calls were such BS and preserved that win against BC (win with some class Maas). And now taken to the last play of the game against a 0-5 team that got blown out by 59 points a few days ago? 5 wins by 12 total points prior to tonight? And +28 PF and PA? The Stamps are rounding into form and don’t dismiss BC (no more BS challenges Maas). Eskimos will finish 3rd in the West.

  16. Love the new rule with challenges.collaros looked like his old self at times but still not good enough . Imo the defence is terrible Reilly just picked apart the db’s and marched down the field at will.although some good pressure from the front 4 at times. Looks like the injurys are back it will be interesting to see next week’s line up if any of last nights injured guys are out . Look at the positive the east sucks so there’s a chance

    • I don’t know if this team is actually going to win one game Randy. I’m not saying that to be a goober. i’ve been watching this team for 4 + decades and I think back to 2003 when they were 1-17 with HF McManus at QB. Well, the $550,000 man is no McManus. Not even close. They had Cheatwood back then as well. And there certainly are no Tim Cheatwoods on this TC 2017 edition.

      • I believe at that time McManus,like Collaros today,was throwing to a group of undersized receivers.Notwithstanding that some of those little Tigers made great catches in last nights game but it makes the passers job more difficult.

        Much of the success of Cavillo could be credited to the skill and great size of receivers he was provided with in Montreal.Is it a mere coincidence that with the absence of the skilled tall receivers like Fantuz,Bakari Grant,and Tolliver that Collaros has declined statistically as a passer?

        • @Catman – You do make a good point. Collaros often throws too high, which was evidenced again last night when he overthrew on occasion and I think a couple of times his own receivers had to actually bat the ball down to prevent an interception. But then again all great QB’s adjust. I think what actually killed McManus though was that his go to guy Flutie retired that year. Then again Darren was only about 5’10” (wearing high heels).

  17. I agree philski I’m trying to find positives at this point lol. There run d was brutal and there db’s are playing 10 15 yards off the man .a vet like rielly will pick you apart down the field . I think this rienbold d is not gonna make it . At what point do you go into rebuild mode or what Is the next step to fix this team …smh

    • Rogers the defensive back is getting better every game.Looking forward to seeing him making some interceptions soon.He looks like he could be a game changer.

      • Agree. I like Rogers. Think he was the DB who gambled and lost for the pic near the end of the Edmonton game at THF but at least he wanted to try to be a difference maker. Can’t say that about the rest of his mates.

  18. Evil Empire // August 5, 2017 at 8:31 am //

    I’m Green&Gold to the core.

    Extremely happy with the win.

    Edmonton is being held together with duct tape.

    Unbelievable injury situation.

    Solid win Esks.

  19. Ari Katz // August 5, 2017 at 9:05 am //

    Great effort by Ticats. Defence is really hurting the team. Reinebold has to drop the zone defence and prevent defence. It is just not working and causing the Ticat offence to lose its rhythm . Bring Rich Stubler in to assist Reinbold and this team will take a giant step forward.

  20. I agree with the clock issue, Tasker caught ball and stepped out of bounds but the clock continued to run ? must of missed something there cause none of the coaches were complaining and on the final play you could see the defenders hand go into Jones facemask. So they’ve tweaked the challenge rule, now fix it and don’t tie it in with timeouts, it’s there to get the call right at an important time of the game and that’s exactly how Austin was using it.

    • George Porge // August 5, 2017 at 2:23 pm //

      You can’t decouple the challenge rule from timeouts, because what will happen is every team will challenge something – anything – whether it is a valid challenge or not in order to get an extra timeout on the field. Coaches (and players, in this case) need to manage timeouts more intelligently. I would chalk up Austin’s predicament as him getting caught up in the learning curve of a sudden rule change.

  21. When any sports team is struggling everything goes wrong.It wasn’t an easy catch by any means but the last one in the end zone should have been caught

  22. Caledonian // August 5, 2017 at 5:25 pm //

    Going back to August 2016, the Cats are 4-15. Since the beginning of last season they are 7-17. Does anyone else remember a team performing this poorly and the Coach retaining his job???

  23. I believe in Austin.
    Go Cats.

    • That is laughable

    • Caledonian // August 6, 2017 at 11:57 am //

      Believe away Jim. The guy is the worst coach in the league. I am now watching from home, enjoying the ability to turn the game off at half time and go to bed This is like watching a catastrophe unfold before our very eyes. Each game I watch former Cats (all who fell out of favour with KA, or willingly left) perform well for our opponents and it makes me wonder what could be. Gable rushes for 26 yards on 2 carries to start the game and then doesn’t run again to the third quarter, not even in short yardage scenarios. What kind of knowledgeable football coach does that?

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