The Edmonton Eskimos have not played well since beating the Calgary Stampeder’s in the Labour Day rematch 48-42. After that game, fans optimistically had thoughts of making a run at first place only to have the team fall flat on their face the next two games and fall to a 7-7 record tied for fourth place in the Western Conference standings. On the other side of the field, the Roughriders are on a roll; winning six of their last seven games and in second place at 9-5. This was the final game of the weekend and the other results were the worst thing that could happen for Edmonton. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the Ottawa Redblacks to go ahead of Edmonton by two points while the B.C. Lions defeated the visiting Toronto Argonauts to climb into a tie with the Eskimos (with a game in hand).
Mike Reilly has not been himself since that Labour Day rematch and it is evident in the numbers he has put up the last six weeks. The Eskimos started the game on offense, but it seemed like Reilly was not very comfortable and once again his performance was not what Eskimo fans saw in the first half of the season. Now, the Roughrider defense is one of the best in the league at making quarterbacks uncomfortable and they were doing that in the first half of this game. The same could be said of the Eskimo defense as well. They hurried and sacked Zach Collaros in the first half which helped keep the game as close as it was. When the gun sounded to end the second quarter, the Eskimos had a 9-6 lead with all points coming off the foot of Sean Whyte and Brett Lauther.
The second half of the game was a continuation of the first half as both defenses made it difficult for the offenses to get in any kind of rhythm. Despite struggling to move the ball through the air against the Roughriders, the Eskimos were able to run the ball quite effectively. Meanwhile, the Roughriders were having almost no success on the ground, but had 259 yards in the air. The Eskimos had a 12-9 lead at the end of third quarter and once of the things that allowed Edmonton to lead on the scoreboard, was that Brent Lauther missed two field goals that were returned by the Eskimos.
With the game tied and just over two minutes left in the game, the Eskimos were at midfield when Mike Reilly threw his third and most costly interception of the game. It was intercepted by Willie Jefferson and returned for a touchdown to give the Riders their first lead since the first quarter. The Eskimos tried used their challenge flag asking for a review of the hit on Reilly saying it was roughing the passer. After watching the replay a number of times, I felt the Roughrider landing on top of him and hitting him in the head would have been enough to reverse the call, but alas the call on the field stood. It is very disappointing that the command center felt this hit to Reilly was not roughing but it is something that has been happening to him for the past number of years. I guess being voted the toughest player in the game means the opposition can take shots at you that would result in penalties if it were someone else.