Eskimos beat up Bombers, advance to West Final

Judy Owen, Canadian Press

Adarius Bowman caught two touchdown passes and C.J. Gable added a pair on the ground as the Edmonton Eskimos defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 39-32 in Sunday’s CFL West Division semifinal.

It was Edmonton’s sixth straight victory and earned them a trip to Calgary for next Sunday’s division final against the Stampeders (13-4-1).

Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly completed 23-of-33 pass attempts for 334 yards with three TDs and no interceptions.

Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols, who didn’t appear to be hampered by a calf injury, was 35 of 48 for 371 yards with three TDs and no picks in front of an announced attendance of 27,244 at Investors Group Field.

The loss bumped up Winnipeg’s Grey Cup drought to 27 seasons.

Edmonton played in last year’s East Division final as the crossover team, losing to the eventual Grey Cup-champion Ottawa Redblacks.

Both clubs were 12-6 in the regular season, with Winnipeg winning the two previous matches. The Bombers had entered the game by winning only two of their last five games.

Edmonton had a 39-16 lead at 3:20 of the fourth quarter when the Bombers attempted a comeback. Weston Dressler caught a 20-yard TD pass at 6:58 and a two-point convert pass to Matt Coates was successful.

Winnipeg got down to Edmonton’s 26-yard line, but Chris Givens couldn’t hang onto a pass and the Bombers turned the ball over on downs with just over four minutes left. It was their third turnover.

As time expired, Dressler caught a 13-yard TD pass and also grabbed the two-point convert throw.

Bowman caught TD passes of 17 and 42 yards. Gable’s TD runs were both from 15 yards out. League-leading receiver Brandon Zylstra also scored on a 33-yard catch-and-run.

Sean Whyte connected on a 20-yard field goal for the Eskimos and made all five of his converts. Punter Hugh O’Neill added a 65-yard single.

Winnipeg’s other TD was a seven-yard catch from L’Damian Washington. Justin Medlock booted field goals from 20, 38 and 47 yards and was good on his one convert.

Edmonton led 7-3 after the first quarter, the game was tied 10-10 at halftime and the Eskimos were ahead 25-16 after three quarters.

The Eskimos’ first possession of the game was a nine-play, 84-yard drive that ended with Bowman being wide open at the back of the end zone for a 17-yard TD reception at 6:06.

The Bombers responded with Medlock’s 20-yard field at 10:48.

Nichols led Winnipeg on an eight-play, 90-yard drive capped off by Washington’s seven-yard TD catch to give the home side the 10-7 lead, but Whyte’s 28-yarder at 5:30 tied it up 10-10.

O’Neill scored a point on a 65-yard punt single for the 11-10 lead at 1:59 of the third quarter.

A direct snap to Winnipeg running back/receiver Timothy Flanders on a fake punt lost yards and the Bombers turned over the ball, leading to Gable’s TD at 5:29 for the 18-10 lead.

Medlock was good on a 38-yard field goal to close the gap 18-13, but Edmonton answered back fast in a three-play, 75-yard TD drive. Zylstra, alone in the middle of the field, ran 33 yards straight into the end zone to stretch the lead 25-13 at 10:57.

Medlock ended the third-quarter scoring with a 47-yard field goal, but then Bowman hauled in his 42-yard TD pass just 1:21 into the final quarter to make it 32-16.

Gable’s second TD came two minutes later after Dressler fumbled and a coach’s challenge was unsuccessful so Winnipeg turned the ball over.

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49 Comments on Eskimos beat up Bombers, advance to West Final

  1. Was there 15000 in attendance at the game

    • Kinda like mosaic last week hey?

      • True Green // November 12, 2017 at 9:30 pm //

        Stampyou, last week in Regina was pretty sad attendance but it was for a team that had secured a spot and i don’t think you understand this: when the house is packed (80-90% of games) half of the attendance travels to be there. I went to 7 home and 2 away games this year. It’s a 4.5 hour round trip for me. Regina has only 250,000 people. And there have been lots of complaints over the tsn schedule this year. I got home to saskatoon after 1am three times this year driving home from the game. Half the stadium is full from out of town fans.

        Why you need to make everything about the Riders is beyond me. Stages comment above is fair: this was a home playoff game in Winnipeg and they had lousy attendance.

        • It was for 3rd place…how can you say that’s not important?Seems most rider home games are Sat afternoon/night or Sunday afternoon…like you want so how can you complain?..try 3 straight Friday nights in oct/Nov like Calgary

          • very few afternoon games, lots of 5 – 8 pm start times. Not saying this was only with Riders, I’m saying it hardly matters when it’s in Calgary and you can drive home within 30-45 minutes.

          • And I did believe it was important, that’s why i was there. But there was a lot less traffic on the road home that night. Harder to commit to 5 hours or more when all week the talk is about possibly sitting out certain starters etc. Pretty easy to go when all you go when it’s in your city. That’s a major difference between Rider fans and most other teams: Only 25% of he provincial fan base lives in the city they play in.

        • You are confusing even more. What about that song you sing 100 times a game.. “we’re all together” “in the sun and rain”… so that’s all a bunch of talk and meaningless I guess is what you’re saying.

    • Stage: Paid attendance was 27,244

  2. Sorry to see Winnipeg not advance. Someday, maybe a Grey Cup between Hamilton and Winnipeg. But major question: What was O’Shea thinking on third-and-three? Fake punt deep in your own end? And tie ballgame midway through the third quarter? What was he thinking??? O’Shea deserves the, “What was he thinking award?” Yikes, changed the entire game with the blink of an eye. Nothing against Edmonton, but what was O’Shea thinking?

  3. Bad move going with the fake punt, turning point for sure. Winnipeg secondary disappeared for a while.I’m sure they’ll go over the film and wonder what went wrong.Go Esks Go

  4. oh Ryan, where are you? 🙂

  5. Can we queue up all the Hamilton fans that wanted to cut Banks and Gable early in the season. Like to hear from you now. So many experts do little time.

    • Where were TYMS,Elliot,and Mike Jones when we needed them and the fans thought they were wonderful.

      • Tyms, Elliot and Jones were garbage. Banks and Gable were keepers – for most of the TC fanbase including me…don’t know what Abacus is talking about.

        • Philski. Wow. Just wow.

          • I know Abacus…”wow”…don’t understand your comment…no prob with Banks and Gable…the 1.5 m dollar man…now that’s another issue…he’s about to join the TC wall of shame for overpriced QB’s who fell flat on their faces (see Maas and Printers).

  6. Congratulations to the Edmonton Eskimos. The official invite goes to them for the privilege to play in historic McMahon for the western final. Game time 2:30 Sunday and press conferences Saturday morning.

    • Historic is a good word, as in history.

      • Yes right. Lots if history …and many great years to come:)

        • “Historic” is a VERY polite way of saying McMahon is grossly outdated as a place to watch an event. Uncomfortable with terrible amenities.

          • Well I hope to see you there on Sunday Esksfan.

          • Just a 'Riders fan // November 13, 2017 at 3:27 pm //

            I’ve seen over a dozen games at McMahon. Don’t know what people are complaining about. Perfectly fine venue to watch football.

          • If being a great place to watch a game includes aluminum bench seating with no back rest which is not only hard and results in a sore back is also cold in the winter. Plus the amount of seat room provided for the spectators on these benches doesn’t allow for enough space for even a modest sized adult to be comfortable. Even the seating with backrests are grossly undersized for adults. Tiny concourse areas, tiny washroom facilities which has resulted in most people using port-a-poties. You can’t walk around the stadium on the south end. Outdated “luxury” box seating. Basically, if you are trying to get fans away from their 60″ tv’s to go see a game, especially in October and November, they are not providing a compelling option. I’ve been to 3 games there this year and plan to be there for the West Final. Terrible, uncomfortable, outdated and embarrassing facility. Especially compared to every other stadium in the CFL except for Montreal.

    • “Privilege”? Hey buddy, what’s your mailing address? I’ve got a donation to give to you re the “Save Our Stumps” campaign in ’86 that I forgot to give to the organization…felt sorry for you guys not making the PO’s in 10 years.

  7. Bombers achilles heel the last 2 years has been the secondary giving up big plays. Turnovers have covered up the deficiencies. I think they have decent personnel – it’s more Richie Hall with his coverages. With the big play receivers on the Esks it shows. Double coverage on Zylstra & Bowman gets open. You leave Zylstra completely unguarded another time – how does that happen? Then the following series Bowman is standing by himself on the 7 yard line. After the fake punt, 4 consecutive drives, 4 TD’s – game over. Something’s not right with their pass protection. It’s not just this game. Kudos to Nichols for gutting it out.

    • Fully expect the Stampedes to be a handful next Sunday, I’ve stated before that they might be a different team, now that they’re not the favorite. Football at its best, WF in Alberta.

  8. Battle of Alberta is on to play the Argonauts, hopefully. Eskimos playing Ricky Ray for the Grey Cup would be the best storyline

    • True Green // November 12, 2017 at 9:34 pm //

      Tsn is praying it’s not TO. Only viewers will be in Alberta and a handful of full time cfl fans. Way better for the league to be a SK vs AB game

    • Good storyline yes.Woukd have been even better in 2012.

  9. Have to agree dave. Would like to see that. I think you have 2 pretty evenly matched opponents in both games.

  10. Why wasn’t the stadium sold out? Was it too cold in Winnipeg?

  11. Lancaster/Reed // November 12, 2017 at 9:07 pm //

    Im surprised winnipeg kept going away from the run game. It was working every time they tried it. They should have kept running harris down the esks throats until edmonton could stop him. Harris should have had 15 carries in the first half instead of only 11 all game.

  12. How many fans going to be in Calgary. There was 30000 payed attendants for the final game at mosaic Horsie your team better show up. Edmonton is a new team.

    • And there were almost 27000 paid attendance for Calgary last game…which was colder, wetter and snowier than Sasks last game not to mention less important

  13. greenonions // November 12, 2017 at 9:45 pm //

    Don’t worry about Stamps. Worry about your own team Rider fan.

  14. Lancaster/Reed // November 12, 2017 at 9:49 pm //

    Edmonton is looking scary good. Calgary will have their hands full next week. If Bo Levi plays like he has the last couple of months , edmonton wins in a walk.

  15. Just a 'Riders fan // November 12, 2017 at 10:18 pm //

    Thought it would have been interesting to see a reverse-repeat of the 2007 Grey Cup, with WPG representing the West, and SSK, the East. EDM is looking too strong, now that they’re healthy again. Will give my ‘Riders a 50-50 shot next week against TOR. Trestman always seems to our playoff nemesis…

  16. Riders looked really good too. Forgot about Trestman & his Als who were a thorn in the side of the Riders. I really do think the finals will be closer games than the semi-finals were. I’m not counting out the Stamps just yet. They’ll try to establish the run with Messam & they have a much better back end on defence, despite the Bombers putting 3 DB’s on the All-Star team. I had a hard time figuring that one out considering their league worst passing yards given up. Sure they intercept a lot but you should when you have that many chances. Calgary will be tough & they won’t be underestimating the Eskimos.

  17. Prove Me Wrong // November 12, 2017 at 11:05 pm //

    RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, RYAN, Typical bumer fan, all talk, NOOOOOO action….

  18. Prove Me Wrong // November 12, 2017 at 11:08 pm //

    Funny, the pregame said they expected 40,000.. really there was what… 29,000….

  19. Why don’t you rider fans just enjoy the win instead of expecting other fans to bow down to you for wrong predictions? It’s ridiculous. Also why criticise the attendance at IFG?. GET a home playoff game yourself first

  20. Congratulations to ex-Tiger Cats that helped make this win possible…you SUCK Austin!

    • Philski. And when Collaros lights it up next year for the Argos. I am sure that you will blame Austin for that too. You were on the clean house bandwagon all year – now you complain about Gable proving Austin right when he consistently call CJ the best in the League.

      • Abacus, you are like that dude Gurney…always comes through in the clutch when I need a good laugh. I’ve never had an issue with Gable…the 1.5 m dollar man, yes, trade his ass out of Hamilton. Gets the big contract and he SUCKS (see Maas and Printers). I’m genuinely happy for guys like Gable and Chick. As for the 1.5 m dollar man? The only place he’ll be lighting it up is on the TC wall of shame for over rated and over priced QB’s who disappointed the TC faithful (see Maas and Printers again).

  21. Maas’s wife should tell him to stop all the spitting;it does not look good on camera in front of the nation.

    • I’m sure she will as soon as Cleetus Jones stops dropping F Bombs when he knows the cameras are on him.

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