Jeffersons final two yards on route to the end zone werent without flair as he took his time crossing the goal line.
“Our offence certainly has had its struggles, as have our other two phrases, as was evident last week on a couple of plays where we gave up some big plays,” said Jones. “We’re a football team, we don’t sit there and point fingers and do that type of thing. Everybody has got to continue to work, everybody has got to continue to improve and that’s all we’re really worried about.”
“Willie is the type of guy who is going to get pressure on the quarterback and if not, hes going to drop back and try to get his hands on the football. Its not the first time he has done that. Credit to Willie for stepping up in a big-time moment and making that play.”
The 26-year-old Shaw caught five passes for 75 yards in his debut. It was his first regular season game since tearing three ligaments in his knee against the B.C. Lions on Aug. 25, 2017 while playing for the Ottawa Redblacks. Shaw began his CFL career with Toronto in 2015 and had a breakout season in 2016 with 1,004 receiving yards on 77 catches.
The play wasnt without controversy, however. Reilly was driven to the turf hard by Saskatchewans Zack Evans and Edmonton head coach Jason Maas challenged the play. He felt Evans should have been flagged for roughing the passer. Much to his frustration, the play stood.
“It sure looked like (Reillys) head snapped back. (The officials) took an awful long time to look at it… and, in their opinion, it wasnt (a penalty),” said Maas.
“That’s just outside noise,” said Shaw. “Stats can be so misunderstood. It’s like a game where you lose despite playing your best game (statistically) so I try and not look at the stats. When the clock hits zero, I just want to see that we’re ahead.”
“I know Mike feels like his chin was hit. So, if your chin is getting hit, that means a helmet is hitting it. If it slid up from the chest, I dont know. Apparently that must have been the call.”
A frustrated Reilly said after the game it wasnt up to him to decide. Reilly completed 13-of-27 pass attempts for 222 yards. He was intercepted three times, including twice inside Saskatchewans 20-yard line.
“Catching that first ball, once I got in the groove early, it was like, ‘OK, I feel like I’m back.’ But after a while, the only thing that shocked me a little bit was the amount of yards I ended up with,” said Shaw.
The win improved the Riders record to 10-5 and pushed the team closer to a home playoff game. Saskatchewan sits alone in second place in the CFLs West Division, four points ahead of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who they will face on Saturday in a key divisional matchup. The Riders have won seven of their past eight games.
PIVOTAL GAME: If the Riders win, they’ll create separation between themselves and the bottom three teams in the West Division. If not, it will be very bunched up heading into a Saskatchewan at Winnipeg game next weekend.
Edmonton (7-8) lost its fifth consecutive road game and dropped into fifth place in the West. The B.C. Lions are 7-7.
“We had a 12-9 lead with two minutes to go and give up a pick-six to get beat. If thats not frustrating, I dont know what else is,” Maas said. “When you have momentum and when you have a lead for most of the game and it comes down to the last minute and 50 seconds and you lose the game because of it, that sucks. Its hard to deal with.”
“We cant dwell on this loss,” Maas said. “It hurts. It sucks. We have to keep fighting. We have three games left and theyre all important now.”
Brett Lauther kicked four field goals for Saskatchewan. Sean Whyte kicked four field goals for the Eskimos.
The Riders offence had scored at least 30 points in each of the past two games in wins over Toronto and Montreal. Their production dried up on Monday, however, with just 281 yards net offence. Quarterback Zach Collaros, despite completing 25-of-38 attempts for 259 yards, did not reach the end zone. He was intercepted once.
Reilly had his favourite target, Duke Williams, back in the lineup on Monday. The CFLs leading receiver left last weeks game with a shoulder injury and it was anticipated he would miss significant time.
Eskimos receiver Duke Williams speaking with reporters after practice on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.
Five games ago the Edmonton Eskimos hit the halfway mark of the 2018 CFL season with a 6-3 record, which was good for second place in the Western Division.
Since that time, the Eskimos have lost four of their five games and the team is now clinging to the last playoff spot in the league. The Eskimos will look to improve their playoff chances on Thanksgiving Day when they visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.
With the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the B.C. Lions winning their respective games this weekend, the Eskimos are tied with the Lions for the crossover playoff spot in the Eastern Division. The Eskimos technically hold the final playoff because tie-breaker scenarios are in their favour at the moment.
Listen below: Head coach Jason Maas says the team got themselves into the predicament they are currently in and they have to found a way out
Quarterback Mike Reilly saw his 42 consecutive game streak of recording at least a passing or rushing touchdown end. He was held to 164 yards passing and has average 220 yards passing over the last two games. The Eskimos have turned the ball over 12 times in their last two games and have only scored 18 points.
After leaving last weeks game against the Bombers in the second half with a suspected shoulder injury, receiver Duke Williams will play on Monday. He missed the first two days of practice this week but says hes good to go.
Its just a little tweak here and there but Ill be alright. This is one of the most important games of the season right here against Saskatchewan. They are a good team but were looking to come in and come out with a win.
Williams is the CFLs leading receiver with 1,337 yards and 10 touchdowns. Offensive lineman Justin Sorensen was limited in practice this week and has been listed as a backup centre behind David Beard on the Eskimos depth chart. Receiver Sam Giguere has been placed on the one-game injured list, fullback Pascal Lochard has been added to the 46-man roster.
The Eskimos beat the Riders 26-19 back on Aug. 2 in Edmonton. Since then, the Riders have won six of their last seven games and sit in second place in the Western Division with a 9-5 record.
The offence led by quarterback Zach Collaros has come to life over the last two games, scoring 34 and 30 points respectively in wins over the Montreal Alouettes and the Toronto Argonauts. Collaros is 7-3 this season as a starter, his .700 winning percentage is the second-best mark in the CFL.
The Riders carry a 4-3 record at home into this game and a 3-2 record against Western Division opponents. The Eskimos have 4-3 record against the West this season but have a 2-5 record on the road including a four-game losing streak.
You can hear live coverage of Mondays game on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kick-off at Noon. The opening kick-off from Mosaic Stadium in Regina is at 2 p.m. with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. Plus, hear analysis from former Eskimos offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup champion Blake Dermott.