The Edmonton Eskimos have been the crossover team more than any other in the CFL. Currently, their record is 2-1 and heading into this weeks Eastern Semi Final against the Montreal Alouette’s, they were looking to improve that to 3-1. The past couple of weeks the team has been without their starting quarterback and their starting running back, but both Trevor Harris and C.J. Gable would be back in the lineup. Earlier this week, Jason Maas said he believed the Eskimos could be the first crossover team to make it to the Grey Cup. When reminded that no team has done that to date, Maas’ response was “Why not us?”
With all of the games Trevor Harris has missed since the Labour Day rematch, the biggest question was how he would perform this week. That question was answered rather quickly as the Eskimos took the opening drive 88 yards in seven plays to score the first major of the game! It was a sign of things to come in this game. The Eskimo offence dominated the first half of this game rolling up over 300 yards of total offence and controlling the ball for 21:03 while building a 25-19 half time lead. Trevor Harris was on fire going 23/24 for 257 yards and no interceptions, setting a CFL playoff record for the most completions in a row.
One of the things that has plagued the Edmonton Eskimos this season has been their inability to play a complete game. The team has had a number of games slip away from them in the second half and if they were going to move on to the Eastern Final, they would have to find a way to overcome that obstacle. The Eskimo offence continued to control the ball on offence and though they only had a couple of field goals to show for the third quarter, the time of possession gap increased to just under 30 minutes. While they say defence wins championships, I would add to that if the other team doesn’t have the ball, they are not going to be able to score!
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Eskimos had a nine point lead and the Alouette’s knew time was running out. Trailing 34-22, the Alouette’s intercepted Trevor Harris and ended up at the Eskimo 48 yard line. It only took six plays to get to the end zone and put the Alouette’s within a touchdown with almost nine minutes left in the game. It was time for the Eskimo defence to step up to the plate with the game on the line. With time winding down and the Alouette’s needing to score a major, Vernon Adams Jr was intercepted by Josh Johnson at the Edmonton 44 yard line and was returned 29 yards to the Montreal 37 yard line. Three plays later, Sean Whyte kicked a 36 yard field goal to extend the Eskimos lead to 37-29.
While that would end up being the final score, it was not decided until another interception (his third) by Josh Johnson to seal the victory! For all of the questions Jason Maas and the Eskimo offence has faced this season, the game plan put in place this week was exceptional. Montreal could not find an answer for the Eskimo were doing as they controlled the ball for 36:13 and when that happens you are not going to win many football games. For a team that was expected to be one of the worst in the league, the Montreal Alouette’s bounced back with a season that will likely make Khari Jones ‘Coach of the Year’!