Esks desperate to ignite offense
TEAM HASN’T SCORED A TD IN NINE QUARTERS
The Edmonton Eskimos have lost five of their past six games and sit in last place in the CFL’s West Division heading into a critical contest against the Ottawa Redblacks today.
Somehow, the 2018 Grey Cup hosts have to jump-start an offence that’s come off the rails and hit the ditch.
The Eskimos (7-8) haven’t scored a touchdown in nine quarters and counting. They haven’t scored a single point in the fourth quarter of their last four games. And quarterback Mike Reilly has been running for his life behind an offensive line that‘s given up nine sacks the last two games.
What’s more, Reilly could be less than 100 per cent for the game. Reilly wasn’t on the field for Friday’s walkthrough because he has the flu, although he is expected to start.
“He just had the flu,” said coach Jason Maas, who had backup Kevin Glenn taking snaps with the first-team offence. “He just wanted to stay home so he doesn’t affect everybody else. He’ll be ready.
“Our walk-through was great. Kevin took charge of that and he looked good. Our guys looked ready to play. We still have 24 hours to lock it down, but right now I think we feel pretty confident that they know what to do.”
Edmonton hasn’t scored a touchdown since Duke Williams hauled in a 23-yard pass from Reilly in the third quarter of a 28-15 loss to the East Division-leading Redblacks (8-6) in Ottawa on Sept. 22. The fourthquarter scoring drought dates back to a 23-20 loss to the Calgary Stampeders on Sept. 3 when the Eskimos managed three points on a 43-yard field goal by Sean Whyte.
“The mistakes that we make in the red zone, that’s it,” said running back C.J. Gable. “We get down there. We’re just not executing our plays when we get down there.
“It’s like a fumble or an interception. We’re hurting ourselves. Nobody else is really hurting us.”
In Monday’s 19-12 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium, Reilly was sacked a total of five times and tossed three interceptions, including the winning points on a 49-yard pick-six by Willie Jefferson with 2:16 to play.
After allowing just four sacks in the first six games (four wins), the Eskimos’ offensive line has given up 31 sacks in nine games since. Their total of 35 is second only to Montreal and is six more than the 29 they allowed all last season.
“Right now, everyone has to play better and work that little bit harder,” said Edmonton’s Matt O’Donnell, who is moving back to right guard today after playing left tackle. “Every inch counts right now.”