Ricky Ray surpassed a CFL legend early, and then helped the Edmonton Eskimos throttle the Montreal Alouettes.
Ray threw for 322 yards and five touchdowns as the Eskimos easily disposed of the Alouettes 47-28 Friday night at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
Ray's five-touchdown performance also matches his season high against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the opening week.
"It was a huge game for us," Ray said. "I think this is the first time we had a big enough lead that I was able to come out of a game since maybe about 2003. It was very big for us as a team because we have had a lot of tight ball games.
"It's such a good feeling to put on the performance we did tonight rather than just squeaking one out. It shows everyone in the locker room what our capabilities are."
Heading to the game, the veteran pivot needed only 152 yards to become Edmonton's all-time passing yards king.
Ray accomplished that and more in just one quarter to eclipse Eskimos legend Warren Moon, who amassed 21,228 yards during six glorious seasons before going on to a Hall of Fame career in the NFL.
Ray torched the Alouettes with an aerial assaultthat included 181 yards in the opening quarter and a pair of TD passes. Receiver Jason Tucker had his biggest night of his CFL career after hauling in 10 passes for 217 yards and one touchdown.
"It's strange how good we can be when we decide to go out there and play a whole 60 minutes worth," said Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia. "We played smart, passionate football.
"It's funny how things work out when you have it figured out and for the most part, we had it figured out tonight."
The Eskimos (4-6-1), who sit in the basement of the CFL's West Division, pulled to within two points of the Calgary Stampeders for third place.
Montreal stays back of Winnipeg
Montreal (6-5), which had the No. 2 pass defence in the CFL prior to Friday night's contest, fails to overtake Winnipeg for first place in the East.
The Bombers (6-3-1), who visit the lowly Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday night, remain in top spot with 13 points.
"Everything went wrong today," said Montreal quarterback Marcus Brady. "There were a lot of mistakes all around. The Eskimos played well but we have to play better than that."
The Eskimos began their attack on the opening play from scrimmage as Ray found Tucker wide open down the middle of the field to take a 7-0 lead just 31 seconds into the first quarter.
After a safety put Edmonton up by nine points, Ray struck again through the air. The Eskimos QB hit receiver Kamau Peterson on a crossing pattern for a 28-yard touchdown and a 16-0 edge at 4:43 of the first.
A single by kicker Sean Fleming gave the Eskimos a 17-point lead before Montreal briefly stopped the bleeding with 42 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
Edmonton led by 24 at half
Brady connected with receiver Eric Deslauriers on a 38-yard hookup for Montreal's only score of the first half.
Ray continued his assault against the Alouettes secondary, tossing a five-yard pass to receiver Andrew Nowacki less than five minutes into the second quarter to give Edmonton a commanding 24-7 lead.
Cornerback Jason Goss then put the game out of reach after his 82-yard interception return closed out the first half with Edmonton holding a 24-point edge.
Goss's second interception of the game early in the third quarter led to Ray's fourth touchdown of the game, to T.J. Acre.
The only mistake Ray made was following another Fleming single. His overthrown pass went right into the hands of cornerback Mark Estelle, who scampered 33 yards for a touchdown, reducing the Eskimos' lead to 39-14 at 4:22 of the third.
After Ray's fifth touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, former Edmonton QB Jason Maas led Montreal to a pair of meaningless scoring drives.
Edmontonhasa return date with the Alouettes next Sunday in Montreal.
"We have to do the same thing we did against B.C.," Brady said. "We got blown out by B.C. on the road and then we came back the next week and beat them up at home. Hopefully we can do something like that again."