On Military Appreciation Night the host Edmonton Eskimos showed their thanks by besting the BC Lions 41-22. After a disappointing home opener, the Eskimos were able to redeem themselves with a solid performance on Friday night.
Tough Start For Esks
Despite the victory, the Eskimos came out to a horrifically slow start. From the onset, it looked as though it was going to be a tough night for the hometown team. All three phases struggled throughout the first quarter and most of the second.
BC Lions running back Jeremiah Johnson appeared as though he would have a great night. With 41 yards and a touchdown in the opening quarter, the Eskimos’ defence didn’t seem to have an answer for Johnson.
On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Mike Reilly’s offence didn’t fare much better in their first four possessions. An interception combined with three punts left the almost 30,000 fans in attendance looking for their phones out of boredom.
The Eskimos’ special teams were not immune to mistakes either. Returner Chris Edwards fumbled the football returning a punt in the opening quarter. This would set up a Lions field goal by kicker Ty Long.
However, the game turned in the Eskimos favour on a seemingly insignificant play at the time. With 4:13 to go in the first half, Reilly went deep for his intended target and star receiver Derel Walker. Although the pass missed and was ruled incomplete, head coach Jason Maas challenged the play for defensive pass interference. The call was overturned and resulted in a 10-yard penalty against the Lions which extended the drive for the Eskimos.
Four plays later Reilly would hook up with receiver Netay Adjei who demonstrated some incredible footwork on the touchdown catch. Despite still trailing 14-9 after the extra point, this is where the Eskimos took over the game. Before halftime, the Eskimos would grab the lead on a Reilly TD pass to Kenny Stafford and adding a 2-point conversion. It was a lead they would not relinquish.
Second Half Domination
The second half saw the Eskimos dominate the BC Lions, outscoring them 24-8. Mike Reilly led the air attack and finished the game going 22 of 30 for 326 yards and three touchdowns.
Perhaps most impressive was the powerful 165-yard running performance from CJ Gable. Although he went down early in the first quarter with what looked to be an injury, Gable came back and looked better as the game went on.
On the defensive side of the ball, the group pulled together and was able to hold their own. After a tough first quarter, the defence held Jeremiah Johnson to just 23 yards the rest of the way.
Another bright spot on defence, was the coming out party for second-year linebacker Christophe Mulumba-Tshimanga. With two sacks and seven tackles, he led the way for the Eskimos on the defensive side of the ball.
The next game for the Eskimos is Saturday, July 7th at 3:30 PM MDT on TSN when they take on the Toronto Argonauts.
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