Nobody believed Edmonton could finish first in the West this season, not even the Eskimos, and seven weeks into the season reality is finally setting in.
The Esks followed their surprising 5-0 start with consecutive losses, culminating with a putrid four-point offensive performance in Montreal in their second consecutive loss.
After lighting up the scoreboard through that five-game win streak, the Esks have posted just 20 total points in the last two losses in which opponents have shut down the Green and Gold running game. With Ricky Ray forced to throw, opposing defences have narrowed their focus on pummeling the Edmonton quarterback, recording 10 sacks. In the last two games Jerome Messam has collected just 47 yards along the ground, a far cry from the first five games when he provided the Esks with a balanced and often unstoppable attack.
The Eskies get a reprieve this week against the B.C. Lions, before taking on the Calgary Stampeders in back-to-back contests starting Labour Day. A sweep and Calgary could be well on its way to first place in the West.
No flipping way:
Give full credit to Saskatchewan’s Hugh Charles for his athletic prowess in scoring three Touchdowns against Calgary last week, but can the man not count? His third TD left the hapless Riders 17 points (yes, 17!!!) behind Calgary on the scoreboard yet the last-place Roughies running back was celebrating with backflips. Add selfish behaviour to the long list of problems in Ridervillle.
Then came news this week out of Regina that Charles has been sidelined with an injury, preventing him from playing Thursday night in Toronto. The Riders aren’t disclosing details, but wouldn’t it be ironic if it happened during one of those flip-flops. Maybe Charles slipped on some mustard?
Argos leading the crawl to playoffs by a nose:
We’re only one-third through the CFL schedule but it’s hard to imagine B.C., Saskatchewan or Toronto deserving a berth in the playoffs in November, yet at least one will find a way.
The Argos may have the inside track, with four consecutive games against the Riders and Lions over the next month. A decent showing in the next four weeks could at least secure the Double Blue a crossover spot in the West.