Eskimos fall short in another disappointing title fight

Did they deserve to lose? Nah.

Whatever your fiery fingers want to tell me in comments. Obviously they could have done more, but also Edmonton got robbed at *the* critical time.

Watch it again if you didn’t see No. 93 Kwaku Boateng get tackled right in front of Chris Streveler. You may also notice Geoff Gray, Winnipeg No. 68, stick his leg out and trip Boateng.

Remember last week I talked about Edmonton’s peculiar inability to draw holding penalties?


Figure it out, Randy Ambrosie. It’s a league-wide trend.

Final score: Winnipeg 34, Edmonton 28.

Some thoughts:

– The beautiful irony: they called Edmonton for holding on the ensuing kickoff. Holding bizzarities aside, of course it was far from a given Edmonton would’ve won. But it’s the CFL; as it was they came very close to pulling it off.

– If there’s one thing I want you to take away, it’s my favourite line this season (that has in fact been retweeted by Brandon Banks, for one): CFL-the-game is FIRE. CFL-the-league is not.

– Immediately prior to the above debacle, Edmonton had Winnipeg stopped for a field goal and a likely eight-point lead. Then Money Hunter took an objectionable conduct penalty (it was a fair call – nobody likes hands on them, but referees are untouchable) which oddly enough didn’t really matter since it was third and 13 otherwise, so third and three.

But Vontae Diggs also got called for a perfectly CFL (read: weak) unnecessary roughness (for the second time in the game) against an awkwardly diving Streveler while Bomber lineman Geoff Gray shoved an Esk to the ground in the post-play melee without a standard matching call. What can I say! Jason Maas’ post-game interview covered it nicely.

– To the many people going after Maas (again…) for penalty issues, note that Hunter is the one guy who seems to take the worst penalties, particularly objectionable conduct. That element is not a team-wide thing. Another “you may remember”: earlier this year I said Hunter was straying too close to the Chris Edwards role – Edwards was infamous in Edmonton for game-costing stupid penalties. Sadly Hunter is having trouble changing that trajectory, but he’s young enough to still figure things out, hopefully.

– Having watched Mike Reilly for many years, one of the only things comparable to unnecessary roughness and roughing the passer arbitrariness is concussion spotter arbitrariness. Streveler was visibly woozy after a first quarter hit, but… nothing. Hopefully he is actually healthy after being allowed to play the last three quarters.

– For my money (no pun intended, I promise) Money Hunter got the last touch on the onside kick. I’m aware it was super unclear, but the ball could not physically have travelled on the path it did without it clipping his hand and he sure was sure he did get a piece. Unfortunately, in my experience officials aren’t allowed to use any logic, they can only go by what they see and that’s tough enough. Whichever way they called that one, someone would be upset.

– QB wins are the greatest stat of all time, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 26-of-40 for 430 passing yards for Trevor Harris, 7-of-17 for 89 yards from Streveler.

– Edmonton suffered from a couple too many near-misses from Harris. He keeps lighting up the stat sheet – temporarily after Friday, he has a 1,300-yard lead in CFL passing – but DaVaris Daniels alone he missed four times with wobblers.

Two of those four were completions, but one incompletion with tons of room in the end zone and one long catch where he was free and clear up the left side but had to slow down for an underthrown ball cost touchdowns. If it’s not raining, genuinely, they score three times – Daniels was that wide open.

207 yards against Winnipeg makes it two weeks in a row now that Daniels has popped off where he could have done even better. (I’ve started calling him Deep Dish DaVaris because he’s become such a deep ball threat. Totally dorky, but he *is* from Illinois!)

– 7-for-7. Again, despite another 500 or so yards of offence. I wonder what the record is for field goals in a two-game series…

I love Sean Whyte, but sometimes you’d rather not see him, you know? Five of the seven were less than 30 yards. It’s well documented.

– It took too darn long to get anything out of the running game. At one point C.J. Gable had six carries for one yard (somewhere Drew Remenda scratches his head) but he earned 52 yards on his next six, 34 of that on a powerful second quarter romp.

Trevor Harris meanwhile had two Reilly-esque scampers for first downs, along with a failed QB draw. A nice trend-breaker.

– Willie Jefferson is a beast. 2015 was a good year…

– The clear biggest play of the game was a fluky-but-tremendously-athletic pick-six from Marcus Rios on a tipped ball. I really wish Gable had noticed Rios and not given up on it. If not for that play, it’s basically a one score game the whole way, but instead it instantly became a steeply uphill battle the rest of the night.

(In case you were wondering, the last-second field goal was a desperation attempt to get within one score with one second left and hope for some sort of onside kick miracle. Actually a very smart decision by the head coach.)

– Duke Williams did it again!

So. There are some things that you have to chalk up as weird outliers, like the kicker scoring 43-of-49 points in the series. Aside from a few costly run defence snafus, it was a game where Edmonton didn’t really play badly, but couldn’t get it done. That’s why you have coaches to figure those things out.

If ever, it’s time for the Esks to entrench themselves as contenders. Next up is Labour Day and the rematch vs. Calgary. It’s Battle of Alberta season.

Must Read