WINNIPEG — The Edmonton Eskimos came from behind Thursday to beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 20-16 and extend their winning streak against their CFL prairie rival.
It was a night filled with penalties and coaches’ challenges. The first half saw two touchdowns called back, one for each team. Edmonton took eight penalties for 70 yards and Winnipeg six for 60 in the first half alone.
Coming off last week’s win in Hamilton, the Bombers were trying to win two in a row for the crowd of 24,007, something they haven’t done in two years, and beat Edmonton, which they haven’t managed in four.
Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly threw for 465 yards and connected for two touchdowns, and kicker Sean Whyte added two field goals.
Winnipeg’s Drew Willy threw for one touchdown and kicker Jason Medlock added three field goals
Medlock started things off for Winnipeg at 3:48 in the first quarter with a 43-yarder.
The Bombers thought they had their first touchdown on Kevin Fogg’s 72-yard runback early in the second but an illegal block from Bomber defensive end Shayon Green, well behind the play, got it called back.
Wide receiver Rory Kohlert erased the pain a few minutes later with a 20-yard catch that put the Bombers ahead 10-0.
Later in the half, Reilly finally connected with a 60-yard throw to Adarius Bowman that set up what looked like an 11-yard touchdown throw to Cory Watson, only to have it called back on a penalty.
Edmonton also gambled on a third and seven and lost, turning the ball over just inside Winnipeg territory, but the Bombers did nothing with the opportunity.
The Eskimos had to settle for a 23-yard field goal from Whyte at the 11:15 mark to make it 10-3 but less than two minutes later Medlock kicked a 38-yarder to make it 13-3.
As the half ended the Eskimos were faced with a third-and-goal option and this time Reilly connected with a two-yard throw to Watson to narrow the gap to 13-10 with seconds on the clock.
Reilly was the more effective pivot connecting with 21-of-26 throws for 247 yards in the first half. Willy was 10-of-15 passing for 122.
The game seemed to settle down in the second half until Winnipeg coach Mike O’Shea challenged a call the officials ruled wasn’t challengeable, moving the ball 10 yards closer for Whyte’s 29-yard field goal to tie the game 13-13 at 9:48 of the third.
A few plays later, an Edmonton fumble recovered by defensive tackle Jake Thomas handed the ball to Winnipeg deep in Edmonton territory, only to have Willy throw an interception.
Reilly threw what looked like an interception on Edmonton’s possession, although the officials ruled defensive back Julian Posey was out of bounds. O’Shea won this challenge and the Bombers took over again with just over a minute on the clock on Edmonton’s 23-yard line.
The Bombers settled for a 29-yard field goal to take the lead again as the quarter ended but then Reilly connected with Dorrel Walker just 29 seconds into the fourth for a 73-yard touchdown to move ahead 20-16.