1) Late fourth quarter heroics: For a league-leading third time this season, quarterback Mike Reilly led a game-winning fourth quarter drive. Edmonton trailed for over 55 minutes of the game, but with one minute and 10 seconds on the clock, Reilly zipped a ball to Vidal Hazelton for a 30-yard catch-and-run gain. Three plays later he hit Brandon Zylstra, who has become a go-to, playmaking target, for 20 yards across the middle. Then to cap the touchdown march, No. 13 hit Hazelton on the proper shoulder and he eluded a defender to get into the end zone. Reilly went a perfect three-for-three for 65 yards and the deciding major strike as the Eskimos quickly moved down the field. Rising to the moment seems to be an old habit for the 32-year-old.
2) Resilient Reilly: Davon Coleman absolutely planted Edmonton’s franchise quarterback into the turf on two occasions. Ted Laurent, who weighs right around 300 pounds, took Reilly down for sacks three times, plus he absorbed a few big shots after letting balls go. He’ll stand in to deliver a ball fearlessly and every time Reilly got back on his feet – hit after hit after hit. The entire team respects that type of toughness.
3) Canadian cover men: Arjen Colquhoun tackled really well – ball carriers get put down instantly when he arrives on the scene. Meanwhile, Josh Woodman came down with a crucial interception, first of his career, while playing halfback and matching up against Luke Tasker in the slot. The former allowed Edmonton to change the way the Eskimos use their ratio, Colquhoun was a second round pick in the 2016 draft and after some NFL opportunities didn’t pan out he’s become a ratio-buster at corner, long, lean and mean. Regardless of his passport, Colquhoun would be playing CFL ball. The latter was a fifth round pick, 44th overall in that same pick-fest and worked his way up from the practice roster. Different routes to get on the field for Edmonton, but those two Canucks were impactful at Tim Hortons Field.
4) Special teams ups and downs: Coordinator Cory McDiarmid is going to have some shoring up to do after Terrell Davis came free to block a punt that led to a Ticats touchdown early in the third quarter and Will Hill blocked an extra point. On the positive side, the cover teams hemmed in dangerous return man Brandon “Speedy” Banks. Sean Whyte was decent punting the football, but the men running down really stood out. Kendial Lawrence who was handling both kick and punt return duties left the game, appearing to be in considerable pain. Defensive back Chris Edwards handled one kick-off after Lawrence left. Finding a new return man might be a top general manager’s Brock Sunderland’s list, depending on how long Lawrence could be out.
5) Physicality: All around Edmonton fields an ultra tenacious group. Whether it was Duke Williams throwing a block on Justin Rogers to spring Vidal Hazelton for the deciding touchdown, Almondo Sewell stymieing offensive lineman in the run game or pushing the pocket from the inside or Kenny Ladler running around hitting Ticats with force, it’s truly a Brotherhood of Nasty Eskimos (#BONE). That playing on the edge mentality needs to be harnessed though, and Garry Peters provides a prime example. He appeared frustrated after a second quarter play and seemingly made contact with an official. That’s going to cost Peters a fine at the minimum and likely leads to a suspension.