October 20, 2012
Eskimos downed by depleted B.C. Lions
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER - If they can’t even beat a B.C. Lions team that is missing four key players and a quarterback making his first CFL start, then the Edmonton Eskimos may just have done themselves a favour with a 39-19 loss on Friday.
With no Travis Lulay, Geroy Simon, Arland Bruce or Khalif Mitchell in the lineup, the Lions won their third game in a row and 12th of the season for a chance to secure first place in the West Division, should both the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders lose on Saturday.
But the Eskimos will have all eyes on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who are sitting between them and a crossover playoff berth that would mean a potential Lions-less path to the Grey Cup.
“We’ll be concerned about (the Hamilton game),” said Kerry Joseph, who completed just six of 24 pass attempts for 146 yards, a touchdown and an interception. “We’ve just got to fix the things that we need to fix and get ready for Montreal.
“Control the things that we can control. It would be nice if Calgary helped us out a little bit. We’ll just see what happens.”
The Eskimos, meanwhile slip to 7-9 and see a two-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of backup Lions quarterback Mike Reilly, who made his first CFL start due to Lulay’s sore throwing shoulder.
“He played well,” Joseph said of his counterpart, who completed 19 of 28 passes for 276 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while adding 43 rushing yards on four carries. “They did some things to move him around. He ran the ball well, threw the ball well.
“He had a good game (Friday) night.”
Edmonton tied the score 19-19 to start the fourth quarter on a highlight-reel touchdown catch by slotback Cary Koch, who hauled in a tipped pass from with one hand while falling in the end zone.
“I was kind of surprised that I caught it,” said Koch, who had a game-high 72 yards on three receptions. “An exciting play, for sure and it put us back in the game.”
But the Lions took control the rest of the way, taking the lead back on a 40-yard field goal by Paul McCallum.
Reilly followed up with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Nick Moore and running back Tim Brown found the end zone on a 23-yard run, while McCallum added two of his six-for-six field goals on the night to push their lead to 20 points.
Reigning special-teams player of the week Grant Shaw was three-for-three between the uprights and added a 59-yard punt single, while the Eskimos defence forced a safety concession to account for the rest of Edmonton’s offence.
On his second snap of the game, Reilly put the ball right in the hands of Eskimos middle linebacker J.C. Sherritt, who had a game-high seven tackles, and led to Edmonton’s lone lead of the game on a 34-yard field goal.
On his second series, Reilly came up with his first career touchdown pass — and only one of the first half by either team — on an 11-yarder to slotback Ernest Jackson to take a 7-3 lead midway through the opening quarter.
B.C.’s defence earned eight sacks compared to Edmonton’s four.