Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

Well. Shoot.

It came all the way down to one 20-yard throw, but the Eskimos drop it to the Stampeders 24-18.

Some thoughts:

– Edmonton and Calgary play like two very evenly matched teams. Both do a lot of good things and a lot of bad things. The box score even had some underlying similarities – first downs, second down conversions, offensive plays, even penalty yards, almost identical. I would describe Edmonton as more volatile and Calgary as more consistent but with a slightly lower ceiling. I don’t normally love home/road splits but the green and gold have a serious home/road case of Jekyll/Hyde, which may have been a tipping point.

3-0 at home plus 1-3 on the road equals 4-3 overall. (Quality of competition is a factor, yes.)

– I swear, every single time Edmonton goes to Calgary they a) lose at least one fumble and b) give up a return TD. Check off both this week.

With the fumble being on a punt return, add in a missed convert and 35-yard field goal from normally reliable Sean Whyte at gusty McMahon and absolutely, the Esks lost because of special teams. You also never realize quite how big of an impact field position has until you don’t have it.

– Edmonton’s defence kept doing what they do. Calgary’s only offensive TD came on their shortest field of the day (aside from the late turnover on downs, which resulted in a two-and-out). Only 220 yards against. Three more sacks. But in true Esks fashion, at least one unit had an insurmountably miserable day.

– An unheralded big play of the game was the one that hurt Eskimo centre David Beard. After he left it felt like Trevor Harris had less time in the pocket on average, but it’s a bit hard to say with as many yards as Edmonton put up in the second half. If the Esks lack depth at one spot it’s national o-linemen, and anchor Matt O’Donnell is already out.

– Before and after the Beard injury, Edmonton had zero running game. They handed off eight times for 27 yards plus one Harris sneak. Count me among those who wish Harris would run even once in a long while.

– The offence posted two remarkably different halves. 0 points in the first, 18 in the second. Two legitimate downfield pass attempts in the first half (one called back by penalty), quite a lot in the second half with generally great success, including an 83-yard bomb to Ricky Collins Jr. (Esks fans have been bemoaning the lack of a true deep threat among the receivers. It’s nice to know that at least they *can* do it.) The one constant was an overload of check downs, five-yard passes on second and 10, that kind of thing. Still, Harris had, I believe, 308 passing yards in the latter 30 minutes, versus 373 overall. If that was a result of deliberate halftime adjustments, full credit to head coach Jason Maas for the second half offence.

Now about that first half…

– Edmonton’s screen escapades continue. Multiple failed attempts for, multiple successes against. Too many words have been spent.

– I don’t write the rules. You cannot argue that Harris’s face mask wasn’t hit by the Calgary defender – “any blow above the passer’s shoulder,” verbatim from the rule book. The roughing the passer they called just a little earlier, it wasn’t clear Harris actually got hit in the chin, yet they called it.

As we know, the CFL is all about consistency.

– I’m an Edmonton fan, obviously. But I would be very surprised if eight out of nine fan bases weren’t in agreement about which team gets away with the most holding and illegal blocks. With that said, I was stunned at how much actually got called, including the negation of one Stampeder return TD.

– Receiver Kevin Elliott’s first game since 2018 was solid, though overshadowed by Ricky Collins brilliancy. That last play, hoooooo my goodness. What was it, 0.3 seconds? Regardless, DaVaris Daniels and Greg Ellingson were missed.

The CFL has had a lot of really lousy football games in 2019, but Week 8 provided a much needed 4-for-4 good ones after a month of nothing (by my eye, the last one was probably Hamilton/Montreal in Week 4). Friday of Week 9 sees Edmonton host the Redblacks. It’s at Commonwealth Stadium, so expect a strong bounce back performance.

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Mike Ludwig
Mike Ludwig enjoys math, chess, and football, all of which are kind of related. He lives in Edmonton and does not endorse Rod Black's metaphors. Follow him on twitter at @CityOfChamps14.