Stampeders remain unbeaten, hold off Eskimos
Edmonton, AB (SportsNetwork.com) - An ill-advised failed fake punt inside their own end zone cost the Edmonton Eskimos.
Bo Levi Mitchell threw a touchdown pass and the Calgary Stampeders remained unbeaten with a 26-22 victory Thursday night at Commonwealth Stadium.
Rene Paredes went 4-for-4 on field-goal attempts for the Stampeders (4-0), who beat the Eskimos for a ninth straight time.
This is the best start for Calgary since 1996. The last time the Stampeders went beyond 4-0 was in 1995 when they won their first seven games.
Mike Reilly led his team into the end zone once, but the Eskimos (4-1) were their own worst enemy due to a bevy of mistakes.
The Eskimos took a gamble that blew up when they tried a fake punt in their own end zone late in the first half. Aaron Grymes was stopped just before the marker with 16 seconds left. On the ensuing play, Mitchell connected with Jeff Fuller in the back of the end zone for a 16-yard score and a 20-13 halftime edge.
Mitchell, who completed 14-of-29 passes for 124 yards, moved to 7-0 as a starter, tying the mark of Jeff Garcia's record to begin a career.
"That's a record nobody will talk about in five years," Mitchell said. "It's one of those records I won't remember. Obviously, I'm happy to be undefeated in my career. I know a loss will come at some point, but I'm going to try and prolong that as long as I can."
Reilly finished 19-of-34 for 212 yards with a TD pass and one interception.
The Stampeders took advantage of a muffed punt return by Jamal Miles after the game's opening possession and Paredes split the uprights from 36 yards out.
Grant Shaw countered with a 31-yard field goal, but Calgary went ahead 10-3 later in the first quarter when Keenan MacDougall blocked a punt and scored on the 7-yard return.
Pat White scored on a 1-yard run in the opening minute of the second before Paredes made it 13-10 with a 36-yard field goal. That kick came after Reilly was picked off by Fred Bennett.
Shaw tied the game again with a 40-yarder with just over a minute remaining in the half prior to the poor decision by the Eskimos.
Asked after the game why the Eskimos tried the fake, head coach Chris Jones said, "We're trying to score on every play."
Reilly hit Shamawd Chambers with a 32-yard TD strike midway through the third quarter before Paredes made a 29-yard kick later in the period to give the Stampeders the lead again.
Paredes was good from 30 yards away with under nine minutes remaining for a 26-20 margin.
With under five minutes left, defensive lineman Odell Willis, who returned an interception for a touchdown last week against Winnipeg, dropped a sure pick-6 on a short pass from Mitchell.
Reilly was sacked prior to the Eskimos deciding to punt the ball back to Calgary with under 1 1/2 minutes left.
The Stampeders then conceded in the end zone for a safety with 44 seconds remaining.
Fred Stamps couldn't hold onto the ball on a possible long reception inside the Calgary 45. Reilly's long pass toward the sideline was tipped out of bounds with 12 seconds remaining, sealing the outcome.
The Eskimos have a bye next week before playing at Montreal Aug. 8 ... Calgary hosts British Columbia Aug. 1 ... Jock Sanders gained 86 yards on 16 carries for Calgary, which has won 15 of the last 17 meetings ... Calgary played without star running back Jon Cornish, who is on the six-game injured list due to a concussion ... Calgary's Nik Lewis, who had made a catch in 166 straight regular season games, was shut out.
07/25 02:26:31 ET