Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Streak secured, Esks prepare for the next step

With a 40-34 victory over the Bombers, the faithful of the Green and Gold can breathe for another day. While they wait to learn if they need to hop into the car and drive across the Lloydminster line for a road game, or sit back in the cozy if frozen confines of Commonwealth, Eskimo fans can be sure of one thing, history won’t record this year’s team as the one that let them down (totally).

Holding onto a professional sports record, the Eskimos qualify for a playoff spot for the 33rd consecutive time. Waiting until the last game of their season to make their stand, the Eskimos eliminated the Blue Bombers in an entertaining effort at Commonwealth. The Bombers found that the problems that have dogged them all year, continued to haunt them on Sunday afternoon. Special teams this time in the guise of a blocked punt sealed the fate of the Blue and Gold as Jabari Issa, timed his approach on Jon Ryan perfectly, blocking the punt and setting the scene for Jason Maas’ toss to Ed Hervey, to lead the Eskimos the final eight yards for the winning points.

The game would go down to a last gasp chance for the Bombers who got the ball back with fourteen seconds to go, only to have their final attempts swatted away.

While the Eskimos enjoyed their win, and underlying sense of controversy seems to be building with the not so unified Green and Gold uniforms. Mike Pringle visibly expressed his disappointment in not being given a chance to carry the ball in the waning minutes of the game. With the clock ticking down, the chance to pass George Reed in touchdowns slipped by on this final game of the year. Perhaps sensing that his days in the CFL may be coming to an end, he seemed to uncharacteristically put personal goals ahead of team accomplishments. The folks at TSN tried to sell the idea of him being a competitor who just wanted to help the team into the end zone, but it was a hard sell judging by the media reaction after the game in Edmonton.

The Eskies will have a week to sing kumbaya and become a unified group again; they have the bye week with the final four games of the CFL season played out over the weekend. They now await the final score from Vancouver next week, a roughrider win means pack the woollies and head for Regina. A Rider loss and the staff at Commonwealth get one more paycheque.

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