Eskimos frustrate Mike Reilly, spoiling Edmonton return

Mike Reilly got his body and soul crushed in his return to Commonwealth Stadium.

By the end of the night the swarm of green and gold clad D-linemen must have seemed endless. Seeing his rather disheveled face on the bench late in the fourth quarter brought on a very strange emotion. A bit sad with a hint of… smug? Like I said, strange. Esks win, No. 13 and the Lions lose.

Some of last week’s thoughts will be revisited, but here we go:

– A sack on the first play, and the Eskimo ‘D’ never slowed down. Seven in total with more taken away by penalties. Reilly didn’t come in wearing green but he sure left with some grass stains. 149 passing yards and not much more on the ground is stunningly poor production. He seemed to be throwing off his back foot for much of the night.

– The best adjective to describe the Esks defence might be ‘vicious’, with five roughing the passer calls indicating they sometimes went over the line. Already down Don Unamba, Anthony Orange, and Alex Bazzie, the unit didn’t leave any time or space to test the depth in the secondary. Aside from a pair of excellently thrown balls to Bryan Burnham and Lemar Durant for the first Lions TD, they allowed almost nothing.

Uh, less than nothing.

– PENALTIES. Man. With some help from the command centre, BC finished with 12 flags for 134 yards, Edmonton with 17 flags for 165 yards. It started off heavily in BC’s favour (if not for a kickoff out of bounds I believe it was 8-0 against Edmonton), unsurprisingly helping them to a 17-3 lead, but then a couple of second quarter Lions penalties gave Edmonton some field position and when you add in a Reilly interception, suddenly it was game on.

– It’s really easy to be critical of penalty calls in the heat of the moment. I also won’t act like Andre Proulx’s crew had a great night. But the Esks definitely took some dumb ones, with Nick Usher’s roughing the passer call via the ‘eye in the sky’ being by far the worst. It’s a shame because he had a remarkable night otherwise but that hit likely earns him a fine. Meanwhile Mike Moore got dinged for two fly-by facemask/roughing the passers on BC challenges which I’m inclined to call unlucky but might be something he has to actively work to avoid in the future. If they somehow manage to cut their penalties in half (easier said than done, of course) we might be looking at an elite team.

– Small sample update: Ricky Collins and Kenny Stafford had forgettable games (Greg Ellingson busted out in a monster way instead), but CJ Gable cleared the 100-yard mark for the second straight game thanks to some garbage time yards and Trevor Harris matched last week’s strong performance with three passing TDs and a fourth on the ground. Alas, with 294 passing yards he just missed the 300 mark this week, and his pace drops into the mid-6,000s.

– Two weeks in and Harris hasn’t been sacked yet. So far so good.

– Edmonton ran not one but TWO successful receiver screens! The first was a nifty fake left to Gable, turn and fire to Ellingson for a big gain. The second was definitely aided by some sloppy tackling. Colour me shocked, at least until a third attempt late in the fourth quarter went for a gain of two.

– Not facing Boris Bede’s booming leg helped, but Martese Jackson was a-okay on kick returns. Crisis averted.

– 2017 star Brandon Zylstra was a sideline guest for the Esks today. Super nice to see him again, but the best part of the night was right after Tevaun Smith’s first TD in green and gold. Smith went and sat down right next to Zylstra, and it looked like the first time they’d met. “Oh hey, it’s you! Hi I’m Tevaun!” I chuckled.

– The Esks travel to Winnipeg for a game next Thursday against the other main character in the 2013 Eskimo Training Camp Quarterback Battle, Matt Nichols, in an early stages battle for West division supremacy.

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