Edmonton Eskimos' QB Mike Reilly underwhelmed against B.C. Saturday night.The key question in advance of Saturday's late CFL contest between the B.C. Lions and the Edmonton Eskimos was thought to be if the good Lions or the bad Lions would show up, but it was actually a pretty average version of B.C. that showed up in the rain at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium. What made the difference in the Lions' 17-3 win was that their opponents barely showed up at all. The Eskimos did very little right Saturday, and that leaves them with major questions going forward.
One Edmonton player likely to be particularly under fire this week is quarterback Mike Reilly. Reilly struggled through the first two weeks, throwing for 259 yards (with three interceptions and a 48.6 per cent completion percentage) and 136 yards respectively, but those games had notable other factors. The Eskimos' offensive line struggled in their opening-week loss to Saskatchewan, making things very difficult for Reilly, and Week Two's low passing totals were offset by the Eskimos winning that game (plus, the monsoon conditions in Guelph made passing exceptionally difficult). While the rain in Edmonton Saturday certainly didn't help the Eskimos' aerial attack, Reilly's passing totals this week are still going to lead to plenty of questions about if he's the right man to lead Edmonton's offence. He completed just 13 of 23 passes (56.5 per cent) for just 97 yards without a touchdown and with one interception. While he did scramble five times for a team-high 36 yards, those still aren't the kind of totals that will win over those doubting Reilly thus far.
Reilly was far from the only Eskimo who struggled Saturday, though. Running back Hugh Charles, the star of Edmonton's first two wins, picked up just 36 yards on 10 carries against the Lions. A lot of the credit for that has to go to the B.C. defence, which turned in a great showing against the run, but the Eskimos' linemen weren't able to fire off their marks and clear paths for Charles, and he wasn't able to make people miss when he did find a little room. Moreover, Edmonton was missing two key receiving targets for Reilly in Fred Stamps and Adarius Bowman. Still, the Eskimos' offence as a whole will be under fire for this showing, and deservedly so.
The Edmonton defence also has plenty to answer for given their struggles Saturday night. While they were able to somewhat contain the Lions' Andrew Harris, who rushed 17 times for 70 yards against the Eskimos, B.C. quarterback Travis Lulay ran nine times for 82 yards and completed 12 of 18 passes (66.7 per cent) for 158 yards and two touchdowns. It wasn't the Lions' greatest offensive performance, but it certainly wasn't a bad one given the weather conditions. Edmonton's defence may have conceded less points then the 36 and 30 they gave up in the first two weeks, but they didn't cover themselves in glory Saturday either. Still, it's the offensive side of the ball that carries the most questions going forward. If the Eskimos will have to start finding answers to those issues, it could be a rough year for them.