When the Eskimos were sitting with a 6-3 record in mid August, things were looking pretty good for the team. They were challenging for first place in the Western Conference and had a chance to prove to everyone they were for real! Meanwhile, critics were saying the team had not beaten anyone with a winning record and that the real measure of the team would come in the next four games against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Calgary Stampeder’s (back-to-back) and the Hamilton Tiger Cats. In what can only be described as failure, the team lost all four of those games and on a night where the Eskimos added Ricky Ray to the ‘Wall of Honour’.
After Friday nights loss to the Tiger Cats, the Eskimos sit with a 6-7 record and have lost the tie breakers to both Calgary and Winnipeg. They trail the Roughriders by four points and while they still have to play them the last two weeks of the season, the two teams appear to be headed in opposite directions in the standings. To complicate matters, Trevor Harris’ injury last week prevented him from playing this week and the team is being rather vague as to how long he might be out. Although this was only Logan Kilgore’s second start in three years, his 223 yard passing and three interceptions were not going to get it done on this night.
In what is becoming a troubling pattern, the Eskimo defence continues to give up the ‘big play’. The Hamilton Tiger Cats had three receptions for 159 yards in the first quarter that staked the visiting team to a 21-0 lead. It got worse in the second quarter when placekicker Lirim Hajrullahu hit a 48-yard field goal to give the Tiger Cats a 24-0 lead. The Eskimos finally responded with a touchdown of their own with no time left in the half to make the score 24-7. It queued the second half comeback for the Eskimos who went on a 24 point run of their own to tie the score early in the fourth quarter. The two teams traded field goals afterwards, with the Tiger Cats kicking the game winning field goal with no time left on the clock to win 30-27.
The Eskimos now head out on the road for two weeks where they will play the slumping Ottawa RedBlacks and then to Hamilton for another crack at the Tiger Cats. With each passing week it is looking more and more like the Eskimos will be the cross over team, but with the B.C. Lions beating the Ottawa RedBlacks in back-to-back games, they are not a ‘shoe in’ for the cross over yet! Despite losing this game, Jason Maas likes the ‘fight’ his team had coming back to tie the score and believes it will set the stage for the team to turn their fortunes around. I hope he is right…because if he isn’t, he may find himself out of job come the end of the season.