Brutal last season, Eskimos off to encouraging start
VANCOUVER — Mike Reilly completed three touchdown passes as the Edmonton Eskimos came back to beat the B.C. Lions 27-20 on Saturday in the first game of the CFL season for both teams.
The Eskimos overcame an early 14- 0 deficit as Calvin McCarty, Fred Stamps and Adarius Bowman caught Reilly’s touchdown passes. Grant Shaw provided their other points in the form of three converts and a pair of field goals.
Andrew Harris and D-Tre Player scored touchdowns for B.C., while Paul McCallum added two field goals.
Reilly, a former backup with the Lions, completed 22 of 35 passes for 229 yards.
The Eskimos are looking to reverse a 4-14 season in 2013 that was their worst in 50 years. The Lions are looking to make amends for a
first-round playoff loss to Saskatchewan.
Lions quarterback Kevin Glenn got off to a strong start in his regularseason debut, completing two touchdown passes in the first quarter. But Glenn, who is replacing injured starter Travis Lulay, was undone by four interceptions. Glenn was 18 for 28 passing for 251 yards.
The Lions’ first TD, a 55-yard pass-and-run play, came 1:58 into the game. Shortly after catching a pass near the Edmonton 40-yard line, Harris easily shook off rookie linebacker Dexter McCoil’s tackle attempt, eluded a couple of other Eskimos and ran the ball along the sidelines into the end zone. It was only Glenn’s third pass of the regular season.
After McCarty drew the Eskimos even with a nine-yard touchdown catch, the Lions had a fumble-return touchdown by linebacker Adam Bighill overturned on a video review.
Player, a rookie offensive lineman playing his first-ever CFL regularseason game, scored B.C.’s second touchdown while playing out of position late in the first quarter. After lining up as a tight end and being left wide open, he caught a two-yard pass from Glenn.
Shaw reduced Edmonton’s deficit to 14-10 early in the second quarter as he kicked a 12-yard field goal. Midway through the second quarter, he booted a 42-yard field goal to pull the Eskimos within a point. Edmonton had to settle for the second three-pointer after B.C. rookie Josh Johnson sacked Reilly for a nineyard loss.
But McCallum booted a 16-yard field goal late in the second quarter to give the Lions a 17-13 lead at halftime.
Glenn completed 10 of 13 pass attempts for 163 yards, while also throwing an interception, in the first half.
After a Bighill interception, the Lions threatened to score another touchdown with 6:20 left in the second quarter, but Aaron Grymes intercepted Glenn’s pass intended for Shawn Gore deep in the end zone.
The Eskimos could not score off Grymes’ interception, but McCoil’s pick- off would eventually pay dividends on a drive that was aided by a successful fake field-goal. In crouch position, holder Matt Nichols, Edmonton’s backup quarterback, flipped a three-yard pass to McCarty.
The trickery extended a scoring drive that culminated with Reilly’s 17-yard pass to a wide- open Stamps in the corner of the B.C. end zone.
— The Canadian Press
Edmonton’s Shamawd Chambers (right) and Calvin McCarty celebrate Chambers’ first-half TD on Saturday night.