Heading into this week’s game against the Tiger Cats, the Eskimos had a chance to secure a playoff spot with a win. It would mean the worst the team could finish was fourth place in the west and qualify for the crossover spot. Although this was not the goal when the season started, it would be an improvement over missing the post season last year. For the third straight week, Chad Kilgore got the start at quarterback and was looking for his first win since taking over for the injured Trevor Harris.
The Eskimos offence needed to be better this week, but for the third straight game they struggled to put points on the board. Meanwhile, Hamilton picked up where they left off two weeks ago rolling up 455 yards of offence and 42 points in a convincing win that all but secured first place in the Eastern Conference. The Eskimo offence had decent yardage and had the advantage in ‘time of possession’ but that did not translate into points. For the third straight game, Kilgore put up less than 250 yards passing (actual 233) and combined with 87 yards rushing, that is not going to be enough to win against a high calibre opponent.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Eskimos gave up 178 yards on the ground in the worst loss of the season. This is the third time in six games they have given up in excess of 170 yards rushing and that is an alarming trend. What was a strength at the beginning of the year, the defence is giving up more points and the team has gone on to lose five of their last six games. The timing could not be worse as both the offence and the defence are not performing to the level they need to heading down the stretch.
It was a costly loss personnel wise as well with both C.J. Gable and Greg Ellingson did not finish the game. It was not good news for an offence that has struggled for the better part of a month and there is no word on the severity of the injuries yet. If either of these players cannot go, the impact will be significant as the surging B.C. Lions come to town on a four game winning streak and can still mathematically over take the Eskimos for the last playoff spot.
Since winning the Grey Cup back in 2015, the team has a record of 38-31, but they have failed to host a playoff game. The grumbling from the fan base is getting louder and louder with more fans calling for Jason Maas to be fired. Of course the fortunes of this team are not all the fault of the head coach, but he is the one constant. I am not sure there is anything he can do to keep his job next year, but we are going to have to wait until the end of the season to find out.