Esks dropped, kicked in lopsided loss
There was a point Friday when that 17-1 loss in Regina back in Week 2 didn't look so bad after all.
The Edmonton Eskimos were blown up 28-0 midway through the second quarter by a Montreal Alouettes squad that was missing a starting running back and starting receiver.
But it turned out all the Als really needed was Anthony Calvillo's arm to toss his sixth straight 300-yard performance en route to a 38-25 victory in front of 32,760 spectators at Commonwealth Stadium.
And they all gave a rousing round of applause when the Eskimos finally scored their first point of the game on a 42-yard punt single by Burke Dales with just 3:31 left in the half.
The loss dropped the Eskimos to 4-3 on the season and improved the Alouettes to that same record as the West Division's attention turns to Sunday's first-place showdown between the B.C. Lions (4-2) and Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-3) at 5 p.m. on TSN.
Calvillo was a perfect four-for-four, driving Montreal to a 7-0 lead on their opening possession with a six-play, 66-yard push that ended with a 14-yard toss-and-run to fullback Patrick Lavoie.
But the Eskimos defence got a little payback their next time out, with Donovan Alexander in on the safety blitz to hurry Calvillo into handing the middle linebacker his second career interception in as many games.
Instead of capitalizing on the error, Eskimos quarterback Steven Jyles committed one of his own when he intended a pass for his favourite target, slotback Cary Koch, only to have it picked off on the goal-line by Alouettes safety Kyries Hebert.
Facing third-and-22, Eskimos punter Burke Dales couldn't get a first-quarter punt off, having a defender get in the way of his drop.
Dales picked up the ball and ran with it, appearing to look for another opportunity to boot it, but was tackled for a turnover-on-downs.
That was all Calvillo needed to find wide receiver Brian Bratton 30 yards in the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
Jyles, meanwhile, was booed on his way to the sidelines after having consecutive second downs end in a sack to close out the quarter.
The Als picked up the second quarter right where they left off in the first, with Calvillo finding backup running back Victor Anderson on a 21-yard catch and run to extend their lead to 21-0 two minutes in.
The Eskimos gave Montreal a boost with a facemask and pass-interference penalty before Calvillo found wide receiver Brandon London 37 yards downfield on a jump-ball over top of cornerback Joe Burnett.
It set up a one-yard punch by Calvillo's backup, Adrian McPherson to extend their lead to four majors with better than seven minutes left in the half.
After finally getting on the board with the punt single, the Eskimos offence needed a shanked punt, a roughing-the-passer call and a pass-interference penalty to finally find the end zone on a one-yard sneak by backup quarterback Kerry Joseph to trail 28-8 at halftime.
Sean Whyte traded a 27-yard field goal with a 40-yarder from Grant Shaw before Calvillo hit S.J. Green 62 yards downfield to set up his own 13-yard touchdown reception for a 38-11 lead after three quarters.
Shaw missed for just the second time this season, this one wide right from 36 yards out to add a single, before cornerback Rod Williams got the ball back on an interception.
Jyles found wide receiver Greg Carr, who legged out a 25-yard touchdown to pull within half of Montreal's 38 points.
After Jyles left the game once the sacks finally caught up with him, the Eskimos got a bit of a break when linebacker Clint Kent scooped up a blocked punt and ran it back five yards to the end zone to trail by 13 following the missed two-point convert.