Having lost three of their last four games, the Edmonton Eskimos could not afford another loss this week against the visiting Ottawa RedBlacks. The Calgary Stampeder’s and Saskatchewan Roughriders had defeated their opponents this week, so the Eskimos needed this game to keep pace with their Western counterparts. The injury woes for the Eskimos continued again this week as Calvin McCarty, Hugh O’Neill and Martese Jackson were all injured last week in Calgary and were placed in the six game list this week.
There was a ‘silver lining’ for the team when it came to injuries and that was because both LB Don Unamba and CB Anthony Orange were coming off the six game list to play for the first time since week three of the season. While the defence has been having a stellar season despite the injuries, the Eskimos offence continues to sputter. Despite leading in a number of offensive categories, the one stat that jumps off the page is their rank in the red zone. The Eskimos are tied for seventh in red zone efficiency with Ottawa at a dismal 43%.
The first half was a continuation of that trend for both teams as the score was 12-10 for the visiting RedBlacks. Ottawa had 278 yards of offence in the first half but all they had to show for it was a two point lead! The Eskimos managed 199 yards and scored 10 points. The one common thread? Both teams turned the ball over twice but the Eskimos managed to score 10 points off those turnovers while Ottawa was only able to score three. The biggest surprise had to be the number one CFL defence giving up so many yards!
The second half was a different game for both teams. After giving up huge yardage in the first 30 minutes, the Eskimo defence shut down the RedBlacks offence in the second half as they were only able to manage four yards on the ground and 104 in the air. Meanwhile, the Eskimo offence was able to move the ball against the RedBlacks in the second half, but it was turnovers continued to haunt them. Both teams turned the ball over four times but what stood out was the Eskimos had turned the ball over THREE times on downs.
It was those turnovers that allowed Ottawa to stay close. Two of the three turnovers were in field goal range while the third one was on the RedBlacks ONE yard line! They say if you can’t get one yard, then you have no one to blame but yourselves! It has been a disturbing trend as the Eskimos have been stopped in third and short SIX times this season. Ever since Trevor Harris tweaked his knee and Matt O’Donnell got injured, the Eskimos have had problems on third down gambles. Next game for the Eskimos will be in Toronto next Friday night to take on the Toronto Argonauts and you know they want to get some revenge on the team that shut them out only a couple of weeks ago.