EDMONTON — The Edmonton Eskimos locked up a playoff spot with their eighth win of the season, defeating the BC Lions 19-6 at home to close out Week 18. Sitting at fourth place in a highly competitive West Division, the Esks have now found a way to win two games since losing starting quarterback Trevor Harris to injury in Week 13.
“We’re in, and that’s the most important thing,” head coach Jason Maas said after the win. “I said it at the beginning of the year, our first goal is to get close. We checked that box. The second goal is to make the playoffs, and we checked that one now. It’s about getting healthy now and playing better football.”
Quarterback Logan Kilgore completed 62 per cent of his throws and connected with leading receiver Greg Ellingson for 133 yards on just six passes. But it was the toughness Kilgore displayed after a physical opening series that made just as big of an impact for Edmonton.
“When your quarterback’s willing to lay it all on the line like that, it’s awesome,” Maas said of Kilgore. “It’s awesome to see because you’re not going to win every game in big scoring games. You’re going to win some tight games, and you’ve got to be able to be tough mentally and physically to do that.”
Despite getting banged up, Kilgore said he was fine after the win. The 29-year-old quarterback has now thrown for 1,119 yards across five games for Edmonton.
“Everything hurts less when you’re in the playoffs, so I’m excited about that,” Kilgore said.
On top of the playoff berth, the Esks added two more milestones in their win over the Lions. Ellingson reached 1,000 receiving yards for the fifth consecutive season, bringing his season total to 1,094 yards to go along with five touchdowns.
Ricky Collins Jr. also reached the same milestone, but for him it was the first time in his young CFL career. Ellingson was more excited about Collins’ achievement.
“I’m honestly more happy for him that he reached it because he hasn’t gotten that mark yet,” Ellingson said. “He finally got that tonight, so I’m pumped that he’s going to be excited for it. It never gets old.”
The Esks’ leading receiver was also adamant that the team would not take its foot of the gas down the stretch even though they officially clinched a spot in the post-season.
“Nothing changes, we’re going to keep battling,” Ellingson said.
With a Grey Cup championship now one step closer, the Esks will head into a bye week with a renewed focus as they prepare for a final pair of games against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“That’s your ultimate goal, and we have a chance to do that still,” Maas said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting healthy, coming back, re-energizing ourselves and making a push.”
The Edmonton Eskimos will get a week off before they host the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Week 20 on October 26th at 7:00 p.m. EDT.
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