The Eskimos defeated the Montreal Alouette’s in the first week of the season 32-25. The offence put up 447 yards passing, 161 yards rushing and had the ball for over 34 minutes. That was then…and this is now! The Montreal Alouette’s are not the same team the Eskimos faced in week one and they were looking to build on their current two game winning streak. The weather was going to be a factor today because of the heat! It was 31 degree in Montreal and temperatures taken at field level were in excess of 40!
The Montreal Alouette’s would be without receivers B.J. Cunningham and DeVier Posey and would be facing one of the CFL’s most stingy defences. Vernon Adam’s was going to have his hands full with the high pressure defence of the Eskimos. The first half was very much a ‘defensive’ battle as neither offence could get much going in the stifling heat. Statistically, there was not much difference between these two teams and that was reflected in the 10-6 half time score.
The only major of the first half was scored by the Alouette’s on a 74 yard drive that came after a third down gamble by the Eskimos failed. A misdirection play where receiver Eugene Lewis completed a 21 yard touchdown pass to Vernon Adams which caught the Eskimo defence off balance. The Eskimo offence never really found their rhythm in the first half of the game and most of the credit goes to the Montreal defence. They pressured Harris into throwing his first interception of the season along with causing two other turnovers.
After half time, Jason Maas said his team had to be better in the second half if they were going to win this game. Edmonton got the ball to start the third quarter, but the offence did not have any more success in the third than they had in the first half. The offence did have some success moving the ball, but as soon as they got into Montreal territory they faltered. Sean Whyte had made 17 straight field goals this season, but did hit the post on one of his attempts which resulted in no points.
For the second time in the last three games, the Eskimo offence failed to find the end zone and that has to be a concern. You are not going to win any games in the CFL when your offence cannot score touchdowns. Early in the fourth quarter, the weather turned uglier as lightening caused the game to be delayed for about 27 minutes. I had hoped the Eskimos would use the opportunity to come up with a way to score a touchdown, they could not.
Overall it was a disappointing effort by the Eskimos and some of the things that have plagued the team surfaced again this week. While the team took nine penalties, it was the timing of those penalties that really hurt them! The defence took two penalties that wiped out interceptions and a third penalty that took a touchdown pass off the board. An offence that could not finish drives was once again a major reason they lost!