IT’S A FAKE FIVE things we learned

Gerry Mod­de­jonge looks back at Thurs­day’s loss by the Esks against the Li­ons

Edmonton Sun - - SPORTS - daustin@post­media.com @Dan­nyaustin_9

It was a tale of two halves as the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos squan­dered an 11-point lead on the way to a 31-23 loss thurs­day to a B.C. Li­ons team that is prov­ing tough to beat at home this sea­son. It was the first loss Ed­mon­ton suf­fered at the hands of a West di­vi­sion op­po­nent this year, as they fell to 5-3 over­all.

af­ter con­trol­ling the first half with 200 yards of of­fence to go ahead 20-10, the Eski­mos didn’t show up for the third quar­ter, where they man­aged to earn just two yards. de­fen­sively, the Eski­mos al­lowed just 255 yards to the Li­ons, and gave Mike Reilly

& Co. nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties to put to­gether one of their patented come-from-be­hind drives in the fourth quar­ter.

In­stead of forc­ing over­time with the hopes of com­ing up with the 22nd game-win­ning drive of his ca­reer, Reilly was in­ter­cepted in the end zone on his fi­nal snap of the game by for­mer Eski­mos de­fen­sive back Garry Peters. But there were plenty of other fac­tors lead­ing up to that point that led to the loss:

a rare trick kick saw the Eski­mos form out of a 46-yard field-goal at­tempt to com­plete a 16-yard pass from holder Danny O’brien to de­fen­sive tackle Al­mondo Sewell to con­vert on third down, sus­tain­ing a nine-play, 75-yard touch­down drive that ended in Reilly earn­ing his league-lead­ing sev­enth rush­ing touch­down. While the Eski­mos went ahead 14-3 for their big­gest lead of the game, B.C. bounced right back with a spe­cial-teams play of their own as Chris Rainey re­turned a Hugh O’neill punt 79 yards for his fourth punt-re­turn touch­down of his ca­reer. up to that point, it breathed life into a Li­ons team that didn’t have much to show over the first quar­ter and a half.

SACK AT­TACK

the ad­di­tion of Shawn Le­mon to B.C.’S de­fen­sive line made a big dif­fer­ence from the first time these teams met this sea­son, on the way to a con­vinc­ing 41-22 Eski­mos win in Com­mon­wealth Sta­dium. By one count, Le­mon had seven pres­sures, in­clud­ing a sack — one of three al­lowed on the night by an Eski­mos pass pro­tec­tion that sur­ren­dered just four in their first five games, fol­lowed by seven in their last two.

“I could have done bet­ter with chang­ing up some of our pro­tec­tions and giv­ing our o-line a break,” Eski­mos head coach Ja­son Maas said. “Call some screens or some­thing like that, so I’ll take it on me. I didn’t do good enough chang­ing up our pro­tec­tions and mov­ing the pocket.”

FLAGGED FOOT­BALL

Ed­mon­ton’s on-again, off-again penalty prob­lems came back to bite them on thurs­day with 14 in­frac­tions that cost them 132 yards, com­pared to seven for 72 yards by the Li­ons. While not their most crim­i­nal show­ing on the sea­son, it was cer­tainly more than the 10 penal­ties for 109 yards they’d been av­er­ag­ing up to that point, which al­ready placed them dead last in the league in both cat­e­gories.

“We weren’t dis­ci­plined at times and gave them yards that they didn’t need,” Maas said. “It comes down to yards that you don’t need to give them that they get and we need to fig­ure it out.

“Ob­vi­ously, it’s on all of us.”

GIMME A ‘D’

de­fen­sively, the Eski­mos stood tall once again, con­tribut­ing three sacks to their league-lead­ing tally and hold­ing Travis Lu­lay to 55 per­cent com­ple­tions for just 239 yards, a touch­down and an in­ter­cep­tion. the Li­ons quar­ter­back came into the game av­er­ag­ing 311 pass­ing yards in his three pre­vi­ous starts this sea­son, and if you fac­tor out the spe­cial­teams gaff on Rainey’s punt-re­turn touch­down in the sec­ond quar­ter, the Eski­mos have sur­ren­dered an av­er­age of just 20.5 points across their last six games.

HOW YOU FIN­ISH

the Eski­mos scored a touch­down on their open­ing drive for the sec­ond time this sea­son. Reilly found Nate Be­har on a 10-yard pass into the end zone to cap an eight-play, 71-yard drive. It was the Car­leton prod­uct’s first Cana­dian Foot­ball League touch­down since be­ing drafted in the first round (fifth over­all) in 2017. their only other open­ing-drive td came in Week 2 against the Hamil­ton tigercats on an 88-yard catch and run by Duke Wil­liams. But, con­sid­er­ing both of those games ended in a loss, the old adage holds that it’s not about how you start, but how you fin­ish.

Darryl Dyck/the cana­dian Press Darryl Dyck/the cana­dian Press

The Esks’ Duke Wil­liams fails to make the re­cep­tion as the Li­ons’ Anthony Thomp­son and Garry Peters de­fend dur­ing Thurs­day’s tilt in Van­cou­ver. The Eski­mos’ Nate Be­har is up­ended by the Li­ons’ Otha Foster III dur­ing sec­ond-half CFL play in Van­cou­ver on Thurs­day.

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