Edmonton wallops Winnipeg to remain unbeaten
Winnipeg, MB (SportsNetwork.com) - Odell Willis returned an interception for a touchdown in the first quarter and the Edmonton Eskimos remained unbeaten with a 26-3 rout of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Mike Reilly threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to A.J. Guyton. Grant Shaw went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts for the Eskimos (4-0), who equaled their win output from the entire 2013 season (4-14).
Reilly completed 18-of-31 passes for 192 yards and was picked off once. He also ran 10 times for 96 yards.
The Blue Bombers (3-1), who were trying for their first 4-0 start since 2003, came into Thursday's game averaging 38 points, but were no match for a team that put pressure on quarterback Drew Willy.
Willy connected on 14-of-27 throws for 180 yards, but he was sacked five times.
"We never got a rhythm going," Willy said. "We left our defense out there. Anytime you don't possess the ball very much it's tough to put points on the board and give your defense a rest."
The Eskimos caught an early break when Willy's swing pass on the left side deflected off the hands of Nic Grigsby and into the arms of Willis, who took the interception back 17 yards to the end zone with 8:27 left in the opening quarter.
Shaw kicked field goals of 10 and 13 yards in the second quarter for a 13-0 cushion.
The Blue Bombers didn't pick up a first down until there were inside three minutes left in the first half. Their first points came off a 22-yard field goal from Lirim Hajrullahu with 1:07 remaining.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, although the Blue Bombers threatened when Willy hit Nick Moore over the middle for a 17-yard gain to the Edmonton 18. Linebacker Otha Foster jarred the ball loose and it was recovered by Willis.
The crowd at Investors Group Field encouraged Winnipeg coach Mike O'Shea to challenge the call, thinking it was an incomplete pass, but O'Shea kept the flag in his pocket.
The Eskimos chose to challenge a call with 1:56 left in the third, and it averted disaster for Edmonton. Reilly completed a 6-yard pass over the middle to Adarius Bowman, who was upended by defensive back Demond Washington.
Bowman lost the ball coming down and the Blue Bombers recovered near the Edmonton 20. The call was overturned when replays showed Bowman's elbow hit the ground, causing the ball to come loose.
Edmonton punted on that possession, but the Bombers couldn't capitalize when Hajrullahu's 44-yard field goal try hit the right upright on the last play of the third quarter.
Reilly found Guyton alone on the right side of the end zone for a 13-yard score nearly five minutes into the fourth for a 20-3 cushion.
Shaw added to the advantage with field goals of 38 and 35 yards.
Edmonton has won three straight and six of the last eight meetings ... This is the first time Edmonton is 4-0 since 2011 when the Eskimos won their first five contests ... It's the fewest points allowed by the Eskimos since they beat Saskatchewan, 17-1, on Oct. 10, 2011 ... Grigsby rushed for 50 yards and had six catches for 50 yards ... John White gained 92 yards on 18 carries for Edmonton.
07/18 01:05:52 ET