EDMONTON — Mike Reilly engineered a thrilling late comeback and tossed a pair of touchdown passes as the Edmonton Eskimos won their third game in a row, defeating the visiting B.C. Lions 29-23 on Saturday.
The Eskimos completed their comeback with two minutes remaining as Derel Walker made a huge 22-yard catch in the end zone on a pass from Reilly, who then took in the two-point convert himself.
The Eskimos (9-4) remain two points behind Calgary for first place in the West Division.
It was the third loss in a row for the Lions, who dropped to 4-8.
The Lions took a 7-0 lead with four minutes left in the first as Jonathon Jennings, making his first pro start at quarterback, completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Lavelle Hawkins.
After forcing the Esks to concede a safety, the Lions came back for more as Shaq Murray-Lawrence plunged in from the one-yard line.
Edmonton was able to finally generate some offence with two minutes left as Reilly found Kenny Stafford for a 10-yard passing major to make it 15-7 at the half.
B.C. had a solid drive to start the third quarter, but ended up settling for a single on a 15-yard Richie Leone field goal attempt.
The Lions made up for that with five-and-a-half minutes remaining as a Reilly pass was tipped and picked off and landed in the arms of Adam Bighill, setting up a 15-yard TD pass to Marco Iannuzzi on the next play.
The Eskimos responded to close out the third quarter trailing 23-15, after a long drive was capped off by a one-yard TD plunge by Jordan Lynch and two-point convert pass to Walker.
Edmonton inched even closer with 10 minutes left in the fourth with a 48-yard Sean Whyte field goal before Reilly and Walker completed the comeback.
Edmonton added another Whyte field goal with 15 seconds left for insurance.
Lions running back Andrew Harris appeared to suffer an injury when he was helped off the field in the final seconds of the first quarter. Harris appeared in the Lions’ sideline in the second half but did not return to action.
Both teams return to action next Saturday as the Lions return home to face Saskatchewan and the Eskimos travel to Winnipeg.
Notes: The last time these two teams met, the Lions shut out the Eskimos in the second half on their way to a 26-23 victory. There was a completely different look at the QB position for that game, however, as the Lions had Travis Lulay and the Eskimos started Matt Nichols, who is now in Winnipeg… Jennings got the start with Lulay out with a knee injury and John Beck absent with a pectoral-muscle ailment.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press