Eskimos drop stinker and other thoughts on Edmonton’s loss to the high-flying Alouettes

Ugly, ugly game. I’m already trying to wipe that from my memory.

The Eskimos fall 20-10 in Montreal and, well, here are some thoughts:

– 33°C at kickoff, reported as 40-plus at field level. No it’s not an excuse (both teams play in the same conditions) but it may have been a major contributor to draining the life out of the Esks. Montreal played at about the level we’ve come to expect from them, while Edmonton beyond underperformed. I could say ‘weather is the great equalizer’ as much as I want but they sucked, and deserved the result. That’s that.

– I like picking out microcosms and Kenny Stafford’s early drop on third down with an easy first down in front of him covers things nicely. As a ‘bonus’ Montreal went right down and scored.

Every single time there was a positive sign, things went wrong. Good drive going in response to the Montreal TD? Trevor Harris throws his first interception in 228 attempts. Finally a beautiful TD to Stafford at the end of the half? Holding. An interception? Illegal contact. Another interception? Another illegal contact (or so I’m told – replay evades me). Short field goal attempt to bring it within one score? The second most accurate kicker of all time pulls it wide.

It’s not often you get a TD and two interceptions called back in the same game.

Maddening.

– Speaking of maddening, hello there Jason Maas.

So many swings. So many screens.

You may remember a few weeks ago I mentioned nothing good happens when Edmonton throws sideways? Still that. I lost count of the attempts and the insistence on making it work left Edmonton in a lot of difficult situations, especially in the first half.

Trevor Harris obviously had his worst game as an Eskimo but with only 6.3 yards per attempt (despite a 49-yard catch and run in the dying minutes – the only one over 20 yards) and not many deep incompletions, Maas ought not feel too good about his own play calling performance. Meanwhile, excluding the 10-yard run on the last play of the game C.J. Gable had seven carries for 23 yards.

– Harris won’t be happy with himself, of course, but much like the loss in Winnipeg the Eskimo receivers flashed some hands reminiscent of Milan Lucic. Along with Stafford’s costly drop, Greg Ellingson had one go right through his mitts that resulted in Harris’s second interception of the night, ending a fourth quarter Esks drive and most remaining comeback hopes. Murphy’s Law.

– Saying “they sucked” is mostly about the offence that failed to find the end zone for the second time this season. The defence was solid but not quite up to the dominating standard they’ve set. At least it’s a nice change from recent years that we can call 20 points against disappointing.

– Not going to talk about holding. Nope. I’m not.

– I went and said hey, Sean Whyte’s only missed from 53 and 48 this year. Not bad! And then he kicked one of the worst balls of his career from 34 yards out at a most inopportune time.

– It wasn’t overwhelming, but I’m sure the tally will show the O-line without Matt O’Donnell allowed a fair bit more pressure this week. Expected but unfortunate.

– REC DaVaris Daniels and DB Forrest Hightower both left the game due to injury and did not return. Those are two players Edmonton would really rather not lose for any length of time.

– In all likelihood the result wouldn’t have changed but the time management on Edmonton’s last drive was ghastly. If they don’t waste the 25-30 seconds they did, there’s the faintest hope of kicking a long field goal and trying an onside kick with 30 or so seconds left. Miracle territory but non-zero.

– As bad as it felt, I’m choosing not to worry too much until or unless it happens in non-33° weather. For the time being it’s an outlier, and hopefully the only one of its kind.

Edmonton comes home to Toronto on Thursday. They can’t lose that one too, right?

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