CFL Pass

JONES: Edmonton Eskimos enter their bye-bye week

The Edmonton Eskimos did everything they promised to do. Well, almost everything. Once again, they forgot to screw their helmets on straight when it came to discipline.

The Eskimos brought the physical play, found the emotion, produced the passion, scored from the red zone early and put themselves in perfect position to put their foot on the throat of the Calgary Stampeders’ throat early.

Just when it looked like they were about to re-enter the race in the CFL West, however, they once again failed phenomenally to fix their continuing discipline problem under head coach Jason Maas.

As a result of that and an injury to starting quarterback Trevor Harris, the Eskimos lost their third in a row, fifth in five games against the top teams in the CFL and second straight at home. And they did so despite announcing the largest crowd count in the CFL this year at 40,113 with a 50-50 of $105,505, the first six-figure payout of the season.

Taking eight penalties for 88 yards in the first half and ending up with more than a hundred yards against, Edmonton ended up being swept yet again in the home-and-home series.

The result, almost certainly, will result in Edmonton failing to play host to a playoff game for yet another season.

Just when it looked like they were about to re-enter the race in the CFL West they once again failed phenomenally to cure their addiction to taking stupid penalties.

The Eskimos, who finished the season at 9-9 last year and missed the playoffs for only the 12th time in their 70-year history, lost 33-17 to drop to 6-6 and head to a bye week after three consecutive bye-bye weeks.

Two-thirds of the way through the season and they still haven’t managed to beat anybody yet.

This time the Edmonton Eskimos showed up.

Frustratingly flat, playing a non-physical game with a minimum of passion and emotion and with continued failure in the red zone in losing 25-9 in the Labour Day Classic in Calgary, it was a different story Saturday in the rematch.

Briefly.

The Eskimos jumped all over the Stampeders from the git go. They had that emotion and that passion. They were playing the physical football they promised they’d play.

A second-play interception of Bo Levi Mitchell by Don Unamba on the Calgary 24 and Trevor Harris snapping his 0-8 record against the top two teams, Winnipeg and Calgary, from the red zone.

It was only 4:38 into the game when Harris found Tevaun Smith under the goal posts for a 7-0 lead.

A sack on the next Calgary possession set the Eskimos up to totally turn the tide from their empty effort in the 25-9 Labour Day Classic loss.

But whoa. And no.

Mike Moore took a roughing the passer penalty and Nick Usher followed up with an objectionable conduct penalty. Instead of the Stampeders being in a third-down punting situation on their own 17, the pair of major penalties left the Calgary quarterback with a new set of downs on the 52.

The lack of discipline by the league’s most penalized team turned what should have been a 10-0 or 14-0 lead into a 10-7 Calgary lead a minute into the second quarter.

Then it happened.

Harris headed back to the huddle after a play shaking his right wrist. He went to the Eskimos dressing room for examination. When he returned the Eskimos announced he had suffered an upper-body injury and Logan Kilgore, who had not taken one snap from centre this season, suddenly had the game and arguably the season in his hands. He was nine for nine for 105 yards through the end of the first half.

The Eskimos, who went without a third quarterback for the previous six games until Jeremiah Briscoe was put on the roster Friday morning, put together an encouraging 61-yard drive together under Kilgore until it fizzled in the, you guessed it, red zone, and Edmonton settled for the field goal.

When the Eskimos came out of the dressing room for the second half, Harris was throwing the football but Jason Mass elected to stay with Kilgore, the product of Middle Tennessee State.

Kilgore ended up 21 for 28 for 242 yards with an interception. He did fine. And it looks like Harris will likely be fine to return.

But with five losses combined to Calgary and Winnipeg it looks like Edmonton will likely be spending the remaining six games of the regular season playing for third place in the West or a crossover playoff position.

And they have only themselves and their particularly their phenomenal lack of discipline that they have most to blame.

tjones@postmedia.com

Source: edmontonsun.com