Eskimos beat up Mike Reilly and the Lions – again

Photo Scott Grant /
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

It was the second rendition of the Mike Reilly vs. Edmonton Eskimos matchup since his departure for B.C. in the off-season.

Week 2 saw the Lions blow a 17-3 lead and take a 39-23 loss on the road with Greg Ellingson putting up 174 yards on them and two touchdowns.

This time the Lions were at home, but the end result was the same.

Trevor Harris was steady and the Eskimos defensive line was wreaking havoc, as Edmonton moved to 3-and-1 on the young season in a 33-6 win.

The teams exchanged field goals in the opening quarter. Sean Whyte connected from 32 yards out while Sergio Castillo capped an eight-play drive with a 52 yarder.

A 25-yard pass interference penalty set the table for the first touchdown of the evening. Anthony Thompson was the culprit on a Harris pass to Kenny Stafford. C.J. Gable then took a handoff for 11 yards with Harris plunging into the end zone two plays later for a 10-3 Esks lead.

The second quarter started with the Lions long drive stalling out after Reilly was sacked for the second time in the game. 

Edmonton added three to the lead after Harris found Ellingson for 20 yards and Gable secured another first down before being stuffed on second. That came off a Reilly fumble after he was brought down for a sack. It was one of the five times the pivot was taken down in the game. The Eskimos sacked him seven times in Week 2.

Martese Jackson set the fourth Esks drive up with a 24-yard punt return after a two-and-out. The drive ended up with another Whyte field goal, this one from 47 yards and the lead was quickly 16-3.

Edmonton’s defence was putting in the work too. Continuing to get into the backfield, Reilly was often scrambling out of the pocket or forced to throw the ball away. The pressure, and untimely penalties, were big factors of the four two-and-out B.C. drives in the first half.

The defence allowed just 210 total offensive yards.

Towards the end of the second, another starting quarterback looked like they went down. Harris appeared to injure his knee on a Odell Willis hit. He was flagged for roughing the passer but Devone Claybrooks successfully had the call reversed on a challenge. Harris was back for the second half.

And it was quick work for him when play resumed. Natey Adjei tore off a 77-yard catch and run and it was 23-3 just over a minute into the third. Adjey finished with 106 receiving yards.

Harris went 22-for-28 with 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Reilly ended 17-of-26 passing for 157 yards and an interception and a fumble.

The route was on after the Lions offence were rushed off the field in two plays once more. Harris found his old pal Ellingson for 26 yards before DaVaris Daniels grabbed his first major as an Eskimo, making a sweet catch underneath Garry Peters in the end zone for the 28-yard score.

Later in the third, James Tuck connected with Brandon Rutley on a punt return while he was already down on the ground. Rutley left the game and Tuck was flagged on the play. The Lions used the field positioning to take another two-and-out.

The Lions first drive in the final quarter highlighted the majority of their offence on the night. Reilly found Bryan Burnham for 39 yards to start things off and targeted him twice more in the series. The quarterback took the ball in himself from 12 yards out on third and long for a touchdown before a holding call took it off the board. They ended up settling for a field goal and the score read 30-6 Edmonton.

Whyte kicked another field goal as time dwindled and that was the contest.

Both teams are on the road next week, Edmonton travels to Montreal while B.C. visits Saskatchewan.

Grant Deme is a reporter and anchor in southwestern Ontario and a lifelong follower of the CFL.