Yes, it’s only one game, but the 34-13 drubbing the Edmonton Eskimos took from the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium Saturday is their seventh regular season loss in a row.
If that’s not pressure right out of the blocks for coach Danny Maciocia after two straight seasons out of the playoffs — they lost six straight to end 2007 and finish 5-12-1 — I don’t know what it is.

It was the same old, same old to start the new season as the red zone was a dead zone for the Esks, who marched up and down the field rather handsomely even though Ricky Ray spent much of the day getting knocked on his backside, but couldn’t finish.

“That was the most disappointing part of the game,” Maciocia told reporters. “It was 17-14 going into the third quarter. If we’d scored when we got down there, it could have been a very different result at the end.”

Ray went 25-for-37 for 249 yards in his return from shoulder surgery, but Saskatchewan turned a nail-biter into a laugher with 17 straight points.

Worse still, the Esks have a short week before the Calgary Stampeders come calling at Commonwealth Stadium Thursday.

Defensive end Fred Perry talked the talk, but didn’t walk the walk in his return to Regina.

Perry said he’d take great pleasure getting after former pal and Saskatchewan pivot Marcus Crandall — the two have had a falling out since a stereo business they co-owned in Regina failed — but he never laid a lick on him.

“I’m going to have some fun with Marcus,” Perry said. “He’s going to see the defence more times than a little bit.”

Perry didn’t get a sniff in the sack department and was credited with just one tackle.

Already without defensive lineman Adam Braidwood (knee), the Esks now have a big hole to fill on the other side of the ball after losing guard Dan Comiskey three plays into the game with a sprained ankle.

Comiskey, 36, is the glue that holds a rebuilt offensive line together, but he's struggled with injuries the past couple seasons — a calf injury put him on the shelf for five games in 2007.

“He will probably be out for a least a few weeks,” Maciocia said.

AND … the Esks didn’t do anything to keep the Riders off Ray in terms of a running game as they managed just 59 yards on 20 attempts, with 45 coming from Damien Anderson on 12 carries … Noel Prefontaine’s 54-yard field goal wasn’t only the longest of his career, he had distance to spare … the Esks talked during training camp about stretching defences with more deep pass routes, but outside a 34-yard completion to Jason Tucker, they didn’t complete a pass for more than 15 yards.

– In a decade covering the Edmonton sports scene, Robin Brownlee has been the news-breaker and insightful voice for sports fans in Oil Country.

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