Unbeatens collide as Eskimos take on Blue Bombers
Winnipeg, MB (Sports Network) - Jockeying for position atop the CFL's Western Division standings, the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers will put their perfect 3-0 records on the line, as the two teams meet at Investors Group Field on Thursday evening.
The Blue Bombers have enjoyed quite the turnaround from last season, as they came from behind last week against the Montreal Alouettes, earning a 34-33 victory and moving to a flawless 3-0 on the young season, tying their win total from all of last year (3-15).
The Eskimos have also enjoyed a fast start to the season, showing their own resilience last weekend after trailing early against Ottawa, to blow by the RedBlacks in a 27-11 final. The win also kept Edmonton unbeaten on the season at 3-0.
Winnipeg and Edmonton are joined by Calgary (2-0) as the only three unbeaten teams left in the CFL.
A sluggish start to the game had the Eskimos trailing the RedBlacks 7-2 at the half. Edmonton's offense found its rhythm after the break, thanks in large part to the play of wide receiver Adarius Bowman, who torched the RedBlack defense, finishing the day with nine catches, 140 yards and three touchdowns.
For Bowman, it was the second time in the first three games that he has eclipsed the century mark. On the season, Bowman has been a real force, ranking second in the league with 21 catches, for 284 yards and a league-best four touchdown grabs.
Quarterback Mike Reilly finished the game going 22-of-33 passing, for 256 yards and the three scores. Reilly has enjoyed a strong start to the season as well, completing 67.6 percent of his passes, for 738 yards (third in the league), with seven touchdowns against just two interceptions, leading to an impressive 100.8 passer rating.
The ground attack for Edmonton has taken backseat in the early stages, as Reilly actually is the team's top rusher at 103 yards through three games. Running back John White was able to put up decent rushing numbers against Ottawa though, finishing with 15 carries, for 99 yards in the win.
Defensively, Edmonton got another big game from Almondo Sewell, who recorded three sacks against Ottawa. For his efforts, Sewell was named the top defensive player in the league for Week 3. The defensive tackle paces the CFL in quarterback takedowns with five through three games.
Winnipeg signal caller Drew Willy has become accustomed to the flair for the dramatic early on and proved it once again by throwing a game-winning 17-yard touchdown pass to Julian Feoli-Gudino with just 28 seconds remaining, propelling the Blue Bombers to a thrilling 34-33 win over Montreal last week.
Willy, who ranks second in the CFL in passing yards (871), was 24-of-38 passing against the Alouettes, for 256 yards and the lone score to Feoli- Gudino. Willy has now completed just over 65 percent of his passes, with five touchdowns against two interceptions and enjoys a 102.0 passer rating as a result.
Nick Moore and Aaron Kelly have been a solid receiving combo for Winnipeg, ranking third and fourth in the league, with 204 and 172 receiving yards, respectively. Moore led the way in the win over Montreal with seven catches, for 84 yards.
The Winnipeg defense also played a huge role in the latest victory, recording two scores, one on an interception and another on a fumble return. Defensive back Desia Dunn returned a fumble 70 yards for a score in the first half, while defensive back Chris Randle went 28 yards for a touchdown on an interception later in the game.
Winnipeg defensive back Matt Bucknor has been the most active defender thus far for the Blue Bombers, ranking second in the league with 17 total tackles.
In regular-season meetings since 1938, Edmonton holds a 95-85-3 record against Winnipeg. The Eskimos have claimed two straight victories against the Blue Bombers and have won four of the last five meetings, overall.
07/16 11:29:02 ET