Esks' win over Bombers a beauty

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:05 AM ET

If you were part of the Commonwealth Stadium clean-up crew and showed up when time ran out at the end of the fourth quarter, it was beautiful.

Two terrific plays.

Two open-line-the-red-sea running plays featuring star-is-born running back Daniel Porter and it was touchdown Eskimos and a 16-13 Edmonton in overtime.

Two plays and the magic number for a playoff position was one and all was well in Edmonton.

"Huge holes," said Porter, the pint-sized running back who packed the pigskin to pay dirt on what was otherwise a night of horrors, or at least horrible football.

"Those holes were huge," Porter said of the runs for 24 yards followed by another for 11 and the touchdown which gave Edmonton their fifth win in the last six games and put them on the couch this afternoon a B.C. Lions loss away from being in the Western Conference semi-final Nov. 14 in Regina.

"The offensive line did a great job up front. In overtime they just told me to run behind them and I did.

"I feel good. I know our team feels good. In the end, we got it done."

The Eskimos, who went into the game having made 13 changes to their 24 starters plus a kicker following their ugly loss in Winnipeg which was the game which began all the changes back in July, weren't going to be depressed about an ugly win against the Blue Bombers in this one.

"It was a good team win," said head coach Richie Hall who, as defensive coordinator was pumped, that

his guys gave up only 10 points in regulation time and stuffed the Bombers on their two plays in overtime.

"I just know it was a great defensive win. We found a way. To finish on two plays in overtime, those guys up front did a great job."

But then there was the first 60 minutes.

On fan appreciation night, it wasn't appreciated.

For the longest while there it looked like Sylvia Little of Edmonton was going to be no worse than any of the (very) offensive Eskimos.

The 72-year-old person picked in a random draw to compete for the $100,000 pass-punt-kick contest to try combine the three to go from goal-line to goal-line, threw a pass which looked like a few Jared Zabransky threw, not even including the four interceptions as he went 14 for 29 and didn't protect the football anywhere near like he had the week before.

Her first pass went for six yards.

The kick was eight yards.

The punt was five.

That's 19 yards total.

The Eskimos had similar stats in the first half.

Edmonton didn't get across the 55 yard line until two minutes remained in the first half and turned the ball over three times, had a net offence of 139 yards in coming on late to achieve a 4-4 tie to take to the dressing room.

When it was 7-7 with 3:07 left in the fourth quarter people in the press box were looking up to see if we were watching anything "special."

On this very day in 1966 Montreal beat Ottawa 1-0. So that was out.

The last time both teams failed to get to double figures in a game here, Edmonton beat Hamilton 5-1 at Clarke Stadium in 1976. The lowest scoring game between the two teams was a 7-3 Winnipeg win in 1954.

But if it makes Zabransky feel any better this morning, on this very day back in the five-in-a-row run

Warren Moon threw five interceptions as well.

But mostly what made him feel better were those two runs by Porter which gave him 102 yards rushing for the night to go with his own 97 on the ground.

"The relief for me personally was huge," he said.

"I've only had one game in my career when I threw four interceptions and that was a blowout against Georgia," said the Fiesta Bowl college football hero. "It was bad."

Zabransky was passing out compliments (at least he completed those) all over the place when it was over.

"The left side of our offensive line was brand new," he said. "We were going against the best defense in the league and probably the best front four. If it hadn't been for bad decisions on my part, we wouldn't have got to overtime.

"And our defence kept us in the football game," said Zabransky.

Stops by Greg Peach, Mark Restelli and Rod Davis on a goal line stand and a third down stop by Elliott Richardson on another provided two turnovers on downs and a fake punt direct snap play to Calvin McCarty didn't hurt either.

But until overtime 72-year-old Sylvia Little was in line to get the game ball.


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