It is near panic time in the City of Champions. Thanks to the 24-20 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders the Edmonton Eskimos have now started their season at 0-3 for the first time since 2004. The Esks, had an ok first half and were leading going into the break 14-10 although it could have been more if receiver Kelly Campbell who was wide open had not dropped a sure touchdown pass in the end zone, (even the TSN broadcast crew was so sure it was a touchdown they had already called it until Campbell bobbled it). Once again, It was a case of the Esks beating themselves by not being able to finish off a game as their mistakes allowed Saskatchewan to get back into the game. The Riders were able to come back on the strength of the Hugh Charles touchdown run (which was set up by a 83 yard run by fellow running back Wes Cates), Luca Congi’s three field goals and a Darian Durant touchdown pass to Andy Fantuz to make it a 24-20 game with less than 3 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. For the third straight game the Esks were unable to score in the 4th quarter which goes to show how the offense is clearly still in a state of disarray.
With just over 7 minutes to go, Esks running back Calvin McCarty had a chance to take back the lead for the Esks when they were down 21-20 but he fumbled on the Roughriders 14 yard line, that would be one of two Eskimo fumbles that resulted in turnovers in the quarter. Later in the 4th, after Ricky Ray hooked up with Fred Stamps deep downfield with the score 24-20 it appeared that the Esks still had some life but the ball was stripped from Stamps’ hands as he crossed the Riders 40 yard line and that would seal the win for the Riders who were wearing black and red throwbacks to honor their 100th anniversary.
The Esks are now at 0-3 and will face the Winnipeg Blue Bomers in week 4 in Winnipeg (July 24th) but the Bombers will be without starting QB Buck Pierce who has a knee injury so former Eskimo Steven Jyles will be under centre for Winnipeg. The Roughriders, remain the only unbeaten team in the CFL at 3-0 and will face Calgary in Calgary (July 24th) in week 4 action.