Eskimos edge Bombers in CFL's 2nd-longest game in history
Lightning forced 2 weather delays lasting almost 3 hours
You wouldn't think a field-goal kicker would have the greatest focus at 1 a.m., but Sean Whyte did.
The Edmonton Eskimos' 10-year veteran booted a 44-yard field goal with eight seconds to go to lift his team to a 33-30 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers early Friday in the second-longest game in CFL history.
"I felt like I was going to go to sleep at one point," Whyte said of the game that ended at 1:18 a.m. CT after two weather delays because of lightning.
But "once you get out in that situation, the adrenaline's flowing so much — all the soreness, stiffness, the whole day kind of just vanishes and it's all about that one play."
Kickoff at Investors Group Field was at 7:38 p.m. CT, and the total of the two delays was two hours 58 minutes. The total time of the game was five hours and 42 minutes.
Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly ran in a pair of one-yard touchdowns, including one with 1:22 left in the game after Winnipeg defensive back Anthony Gainer was called for pass interference and the ball placed on the one-yard line. Reilly got in on his second try, then connected with Nate Behar on a two-point convert to tie it 30-30.
Overall, Reilly completed 32 of 46 pass attempts for 408 yards with one touchdown strike, a 101-yarder to Derel Walker, and one interception. He rushed 11 times for 43 yards.
"It was crazy for sure," Reilly said of the on-and-off action.
The longest game in CFL history was the league's 50th Grey Cup in 1962, nicknamed the Fog Bowl because fog caused the championship in Toronto between Hamilton and Winnipeg to be suspended on Dec. 1 with 9:29 left in the fourth quarter. It was finished the next day and the Bombers won 28-27.
In Thursday's game, the first delay lasted 83 minutes, after play was stopped with 8:41 left in the second quarter with Edmonton ahead 17-7.
It re-started at 9:55 p.m., but lightning started flashing across the sky again and the game was stopped with 1:24 remaining in the second with the Eskimos up 19-14.
After a 92-minute delay, the game continued at 11:52 p.m. Halftime was cancelled. Attendance at Investors Group Field was announced at 25,458, but only a few thousand remained until the end.
Reilly said the second delay was the hardest because players' bodies are prepared and used to playing for about four hours. He explained that some players may take medication such as anti-inflammatories or pain killers that last a certain length of time.
"I could feel my body tighten up, feel my back and my legs tightening up," Reilly said. "At that point it's just a mental grind. I thought both teams did a great job of fighting through it."
Winnipeg went ahead 20-19 on a 110-yard touchdown by defensive back Kevin Fogg as time expired in the second quarter. Whyte went wide right on a 45-yard field goal attempt and Fogg took the ball all the way down the field. But on a two-point convert attempt, Streveler was intercepted by Eskimos safety Neil King.
Whyte and Bombers kicker Justin Medlock exchanged field goals and Winnipeg held a 30-22 lead early in the fourth. Fogg then intercepted a Reilly pass in the end zone intended for D'haquille Williams, but Edmonton caught the break with Anthony Gaitor's penalty that set up Reilly's second TD.