MONTREAL — It wasn’t Grant Shaw’s night, and yet the Edmonton Eskimos kicker still provided the tying and winning points with his right boot.
After missing three field goals, Shaw was good from 28 yards on the final play of the game as the Eskimos downed the Alouettes 15-12 in a defensive CFL battle on Thursday night for only their second win in Montreal since 2007.
Edmonton went into the second half down 12-7, but got a safety, a pair of singles off missed field goals and another off a punt to tie it before Shaw’s game-winner.
“I kind of felt off all night,” said Shaw. “The offence and defence buckled down when it counted and they made my job easy.
“There was little or no pressure on the final kick. All I had to do was hit it clean and it was going to go out the back of the end zone and we were going to win.”
Edmonton (5-2), which blew a 13-point lead last week at B.C., came back from a 12-0 deficit to beat Montreal (2-5), which has lost three in a row.
Kenny Stafford caught a touchdown pass for the Eskimos while linebacker Kyler Elsworth had the only major for Montreal on a fumble return.
The Eskimos, already playing without starting quarterback Mike Reilly, lost Matt Nichols in the second half with what appeared to be a head injury. James Franklin stepped in and completed nine of 13 passes for 144 yards.
“We’ll just call it day to day and see what the trainers say,” coach Chris Jones said when asked if Nicholls had a concussion. “We don’t want to be too hasty and say one thing or another.
“Once he got dinged, that’s when we decided to make the switch.”
Montreal rookie Rakeem Cato stayed in the game despite being sacked eight times by Edmonton’s league-best defence, which held Montreal to 190 yards of net offence.
The Eskimos dominated the statistics, out-rushing Montreal 123 to 63, outpassing the Als 278 to 178 and posting 35:14 in time of possession.
So there wasn’t a lot of excitement for 21,170 fans at Percival Molson Stadium looking for attacking football.
“Hats off to Edmonton, their defence played well tonight, but to be honest, I’m sick of answering questions about the lack of experience we have at quarterback or whatever the case may be,” said Montreal receiver S.J. Green. “We have to find ways to win.”
A subplot was an off-season trade that sent long-time Eskimos receiver Fred Stamps to Montreal for Stafford. Stamps was held without a catch, while Stafford caught four for 61 yards and a TD.
The Alouettes led 12-7 at halftime thanks to four Edmonton turnovers.
Chip Cox picked off a Nichols pass on the Eskimos first possession, setting up a 25-yard Boris Bede boot 3:25 into the game. On Edmonton’s next drive, Wallace Miles fumbled after a catch and Elsworth ran it back 40 yards for a touchdown at 4:47.
Cato’s 53 yard toss to Alex Charette set up a 38-yard Bede field goal to open the second quarter.
Edmonton struck back with a five-play drive capped by Nichols’ three-yard TD pass to Stafford with 39 seconds left in the half. Cauchy Muamba sacked Cato in the end zone for a safety 2:36 into the third quarter.
Shaw took over with his boot from there.
Shaw missed a 46-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter, his first miss in 16 attempts this season. It ended a streak of 21 straight that started at the end of last season. He fell one short of the team record set in 2001 by Sean Fleming.