Reilly drops 424 yards on still (mostly) hapless Alouettes

Mike Reilly made sure that surpassing the 25,000 mark for passing yards in his CFL career didn’t go to waste on Saturday.

The Eskimos quarterback passed for three touchdowns and took one in himself as Edmonton came away with a 40-24 victory over the Montreal Alouettes.

“I was happy with how we played, for sure,” Reilly said.

“In the first half, we came out and kind of asserted our will, but credit to them they came back and made some adjustments and started bringing some pressures and different looks that they hadn’t really done a whole lot of.

“And then we made some adjustments after that, so it was just kind of a little bit of back and forth in the second half. Our guys came out to play.”

Reilly was 33 for 42 passing for 424 yards to help the Eskimos (6-3) earn their fourth win in the past five games.

“He played great,” said Eskimos head coach Jason Maas. “He was on target with his throws and accuracy. He was good in the pocket, good running the ball and decisive with his decisions.”

Antonio Pipkin started at quarterback for the Alouettes (1-8) with Johnny Manziel out with a concussion.

Montreal (1-8) has lost six games in a row and has only one victory to show from its last 20 games. Pipkin is the fifth QB the Alouettes have started in that six-game losing skid.

“We shot ourselves in the foot a ton,” he said. “It just kept driving us back and getting us into situations you don’t want to be in. I feel if we could have moved the chains a little more on offence that we could have given ourselves a chance at the win.”

Edmonton got a 38-yard field goal from Sean Whyte on its opening drive, and added to that on the Eskimos second drive when Reilly hit replacement running back Shaq Cooper for an 11-yard passing touchdown.

“He was fantastic tonight,” Maas said of Cooper, who got his first CFL start for the Esks with C.J. Gable out with an injury. “He played his part and did his job tonight. He was good in all phases.”

An Eskimos attempt to short kick backfired and allowed Montreal to get on the board as a drive by Pipkin was capped off by a four-yard trip into the end zone by Eugene Lewis.

Reilly started the second off with a 10-yard TD pass to Duke Williams, who drew a penalty for Edmonton after the play by crawling through a sign in the end zone.

The Alouettes bounced right back as Pipkin took it in himself from the one for his first CFL touchdown.

Edmonton restored its 10-point advantage late in the second as a Reilly floater was tracked down by Bryant Mitchell for a 13-yard TD, followed up by a 49-yard Whyte field goal in the final minute.

Whyte added a 35-yarder midway through the third, with a punt single coming from the Als, before another Whyte field goal to start the fourth.

Boris Bede then put three points on the board for Montreal.

Reilly scored from the one with six minutes left to make it 40-18.

A minute later Montreal’s B.J. Cunningham reeled in a 22-yard TD pass.

The Eskimos hit the road in Hamilton next Thursday, while the Alouettes return home to host Toronto next Friday.

Notes: The three Montreal quarterbacks came into the game with a combined 53 completions in their CFL careers… Edmonton entered the game with a nine-game winning streak against the Als… The heavy smoke blanketing the town for several days from forest fires in B.C. meant it came down to a game-day decision whether or not it had cleared enough to play.

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