Eskimos downright putrid in home opener

Eskimos wide receiver Efrem Hill is brought down by Lions linebacker Joe Henderson at Commenwealth...

Eskimos wide receiver Efrem Hill is brought down by Lions linebacker Joe Henderson at Commenwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta on July 4, 2010. (QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:03 AM ET

Ten points.

That’s all they scored.

First let’s put this in historical perspective.

The last time the Edmonton Eskimos scored 10 points in a home opener, you should know, was way back in 1973.

That was so long ago it was five years before Commonwealth Stadium was built.

Not once in 278 regular-season games defending their old dressing room in the big stadium did the Eskimos come out and only score 10 points in a home opener.

And that game they scored the 10 points in to open a season at old Clarke Stadium back in 1973, at least they won it, 10-3 over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. To go back to find one they didn’t win, you have to go back to 1968 when they tied Saskatchewan 10-10. And to find one that they actually lost you have to go back to 1967 and a 20-0 defeat to Winnipeg.

After a lot of loose talk about defending the room, their fabulous state-of-the-art dressing-room which is now the benchmark for all of football and part of a $110-million revamp of Commonwealth Stadium, the home town team allowed the B.C. burglars to come to town and steal yet another one, the fourth straight game the Eskimos have lost to the Lions at home.

Defend the room?

They didn’t even bother to slap a security sticker on the window.

The Lions ran all over Richie Hall’s own personal edition of the defence and, while they were at it, up the back of quarterback Ricky Ray in a 25-10 embarrassment to open a Grey Cup hosting season on empty.

It was a dog’s breakfast. Even the dogs at halftime were better than the dogs in the first half and the second half. And the halftime dogs perhaps put on their most shabby show since they’ve been part of the scene.

To force fans to sit through an hour of rain and three hours of that game was cruel and unusual punishment.

It’s a good thing the first game they showed on the NFL Network wasn’t this one.

This was the flip side of the 54-51 thriller between the Montreal Alouettes and Saskatchewan

Roughriders. This was a mistake-riddled mess from the point Ricky Ray marched the Eskimos to the one yard line and Jared Zabransky scored only to have it called back for running the play without an end, then Patrick Kabongo taking a penalty, then Ray getting blindsided from behind to spring the ball.

“One of the biggest things was that first and goal,” said head coach Richie Hall.

“We sputtered after that.”

Are these Eskimos, a team supposedly finally ready to reach for the top again, that fragile that two penalties and a sack can make them collapse like a $10 tent?

“I hope we’re not,” said quarterback Ray who was sacked five times and seldom had time to even consider the big play.

“You face adversity every game. If you let it start with one guy and have a domino effect ...

“It just takes one guy to break down on any given play. If you don’t get much time you’re not going to find receivers down field.”

Arkee Whitlock had the longest play of the day with a 23 yard run. The Eskimos wasted a 116-yard game from the sophomore running back this day.

Kelly Campbell caught eight passes but looked like he may have injured brittle legs yet again and may even be looking at the end of his career.

Rush end Greg Peach left early with an injured ankle and might be a big question for next week or next month.

But let’s leave the butchers bill for a day or two.

How could this team come out after two weeks to prepare for a team they played in their last preseason game and look so completely, well, unprepared?

“We’ve got to get more consistent,” said Hall.

Consistent? If there was one thing they were yesterday it was consistent.

Consistently brutal in almost every area.

“We aspire to be better than we were,” said Hall. “As a team we weren’t good enough to win a football game.”

Duh.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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