Eskimos roll through Winnipeg on way to Alberta clash

Edmonton pulled off a 29-6 scoring run to ensure a provincial showdown for a Grey Cup berth beating Winnipeg 39-32.

Mike Reilly, C.J. Gable and Brandon Zylstra were dynamic offensive triplets while Kenny Ladler stuffed the stats sheet on defence as the Eskimos made it to their fourth straight divisional final, three West and one East.

1) Be like (post-season) Mike 

Franchise pivots are largely defined by what they do in the playoffs and Mike Reilly has been spectacular in sudden death games over his CFL career. Reilly threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns – no interceptions – with a 69.7 completion percentage in a sparkling performance against Winnipeg. The 2015 Grey Cup MVP improved to 5-2 – both those losses came in division finals, Calgary 2014 and Ottawa 2016 – in the post-season, throwing for 1,441 yards with a ridiculous 21-1 TD-INT ratio.

2) Gable is able

Since coming over in a trade from Hamilton, C.J. Gable just wins with the Eskimos. The USC product only had 16 yards on five carries in the first 30 minutes but put up 91 yards on 11 rushes in the second half to help chew the clock. That was Gable’s third 100-yard effort in five games as an Eskimo and the others he had 70 and 82 yards respectively. Edmonton’s offence has truly become multi-threat since Gable came to town.

3) Brandon being bracketed 

Brandon Zylstra is commanding lots of attention from opposing defence. The star receiver has an impact even when he’s not getting the ball thrown his way for a sure catch or big play. On Edmonton’s opening drive, Zylstra was triple covered on Adarius Bowman’s 17-yard touchdown grab. All of the extra attention left Bowman in a one-on-one situation which converted into an easy major. Zylstra made eight receptions of his own for 156 yards and one touchdown and led all receivers in the game with 31 yards after the catch. Many attributes that have made Zylstra a star were on display in the West semifinal, tracking ability, balls skills, sure hands, high point, awareness, speed, burst and ability to gain more beyond the reception point.

3) Ladler lit at linebacker 

Edmonton’s strong-side linebacker was flying around the field making plays in a variety of ways, Kenny Ladler recorded 10 tackles to lead the Eskimos plus a knockdown, fumble recovery and bone-jarring hit in the win over Winnipeg. He’s got abilities that are tailormade for the SAM spot, run-stopping, coverage, pass rushing and innate recognition that makes him really special. Ladler had perfect coverage for a knockdown on Clarence Denmark to force Winnipeg off the field in the second quarter. And in the third quarter, Ladler rocked Coates on a crossing route to force a two-and-out.

4) Special teams turning point

Canadian receiver Cory Watson, who didn’t register a catch, made arguably the biggest play of the game on special teams. It was 11-10 Edmonton, third and three from Winnipeg’s own 42-yard line, the Bombers lined up to punt, but a fake was on. Timothy Flanders caught the direct snap as he was moving to his right. Watson shot an open gap and made a sure tackle to drop Flanders for a two-yard loss and force a turnover on downs. Four plays later Gable hit the end zone and the Eskimos led the rest of the way.

5) Veterans lead defensive front

Odell Willis and John Chick notched each notched sacks and the entire defensive line created havoc and pressure for the majority of the game, Matt Nichols was uncomfortable a lot. That group seemed fresh as four ends and three defensive tackles saw consistent action. Defensive coordinator Mike Benevides has created a steady rotation and it’s benefitted the entire Eskimos defence.

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.
Justin Dunk
Justin Dunk
About Justin Dunk (945 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

12 Comments on Eskimos roll through Winnipeg on way to Alberta clash

  1. Eric Gowland // November 14, 2017 at 9:13 am //

    Another bone head move by Austin elevates another team to Grey Cup contention while Hamilton drops another level – this year its Edmonton (Chick and Gable) last year we watched Ottawa kill us with a plethora of former Cats who Austin thought weren’t worthy (Burris wins a Grey Cup and Collaros goes 0-8, Ellingson, etc…)
    How Austin keeps his job is beyond me…

    • I bet Austin was clearing cap room for his Qb . This way he does not have to release him he will trade him .

    • Austin keeps his job because the Caretaker drinks his Kool-aid. Only when the fans stop buying seasons tickets and going to the games will Bob clean house of Mitchell, Tillman & Austin.

    • There are always things going on that fans don’t know and really shouldn’t know. The business end matters. Was Masoli getting extra bucks for starting games according to his contract ? We can only guess. Will green be as effective ? I think so . By thhe way, with all due respect to CJ, he played 51 games over 4 1/2 years which means he missed 30 games because of injury . The Esks may see this later.

  2. Good to see Ladler get some (further) love. He had a superb game. Still, Calgary at home, well-rested, with a bitter taste in their mouths. I’ll take the boys in red.

  3. Eskimos look focused, Stamps have something to prove. This game is shaping up to be a classic BOA.

  4. Unfortunately there are a lot of weapons for the Esks that weren’t there on labour day. Stamps will have to play brilliant. This will not be the blowout Stamp fans have enjoyed the last 2 western finals at historic Mcmahon. This is going to be a turtler.

  5. A severely handicapped Bomber team still put up over 30 points on the Esks. Bomber defense has problems. Need a DC change badly.

  6. I have noticed EE #41 has lost his step coming around the end this past season – I would think Lil Bo will exploit that side of Edmonton’s defenders running the ball himself
    Just saying Dave

  7. greenonions // November 14, 2017 at 12:50 pm //

    #41 had 8 sacks & was 3rd in sacks+pressures despite being rested for 2 games. Was virtually tied with Jefferson, he of the same 8 sacks, for most of the year. He had a sack in Wpg & another called back when Nichols ducked his head into the tackle. Supposedly the Bombers, they of the 2 All-Stars on OL, are the “best” in the league. I beg to differ but Bryant, the Western nominee at his position was taken to task on one of those sacks. If he’s lost a step, he’s still been one of the best at that position. Two other “old guys”, John Bowman had 9 sacks & was second in sacks+pressures, & Hughes has done well despite maybe being a step slower than his younger self. BTW, BLM doesn’t run the ball. When under pressure, you can count on 1 hand the # of times BLM runs – check out Derek Taylor’s stats on this.

  8. This has been billed as the CFL’s most dominant offence vs the most dominant defence & stats back this up. But throw out the stats & I see arguably the 2 best QB’s in the league over the last 3 years, 2 excellent RB’s, 2 big OL’s who allowed the fewest sacks & a fairly even receiving corps. The Stamps badly missed McDaniel who is their go-to guy on 2nd down & keeps the sticks moving. On defence it’s the same. Both have o/s front 4’s. Stamps have an edge at LB with Singleton but Ladler was 4th behind him, Elimimian & Hebert in defensive plays. Esks were not great vs the rush but were 11-0 when Jones finished games at MLB, & the rush defence improved when Konar came back. During their absence Mulumba, who’d never played MLB in college or elsehwhere, played there & Bullitt played for Konar along with an assortment of others. Lastly at DB these 2 teams were 1-2 in passing yards allowed. So this looks to be a very even match on both sides of the ball.

  9. Quick question, since when did the cfl allow you to take back a challenge ? O’Shea challenged the Dressler fumble that was already reviewed by the cc ?! and then was given the flag back ? basically Winnipeg got a free time out. Seems like the rules change every week.

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