'Just plain dumb'

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

REGINA -- Read it and weep.

The Edmonton Eskimos are spiralling downward with the playoffs two weeks away after an embarrassing 55-9 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in windy Regina last night.

The 46-point loss is the worst defeat in Danny Maciocia's era as head coach with the Esks.

The Green and Gold have lost two straight games by a combined 98-37 and have committed a staggering 11 turnovers in the last 120 minutes of football.

"We are just plain dumb," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia, calling out his team in the most blatant fashion this year.

"We're dumb. Collectively as a whole group, we are a bunch of dummies right now.

"And if we keep playing that way, that is exactly what you are going to get. We just have to protect the football - and it sounds like a broken record - we got to convert.

"We can't even convert on a quarterback sneak. And we got to make some catches - especially balls that hit us in the hands."

That assessment came just moments after a closed-door yelling session inside the Eskimos dressing-room last night.

The loss in the Saskatchewan capital means Edmonton is heading to Winnipeg for the East Division semifinal on Nov. 8.

It also means the Esks have finished last in the West Division for three straight years.

Four ugly Edmonton turnovers in the first half led to 24 Saskatchewan points.

In exact order: Kitwana Jones had a 54-yard fumble return for a touchdown after Ricky Ray spit up the ball on a wicked hit from Maurice Lloyd; Luca Congi had a 41-yard field goal after Ray's second fumble; Renauld Williams went 42 yards for a touchdown on a Ray interception; and Wes Cates's 10-yard major came after the Esks turned the ball over on downs.

Edmonton actually coughed up the ball six times in the first 30 minutes, losing it five times.

And it didn't get better in the second half.

Three more Rider touchdowns - Weston Dressler, Cates and Andy Fantuz - made it 55-6 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Esks actually gave up 49 straight points after trailing 7-6 with 50 seconds left in the first quarter.

"Everybody is responsible. There is not an individual player, its not an individual unit. It is collectively - players and coaches - that is as dumb of a football game as I have seen," continued Maciocia on his rant.

Quarterback Ricky Ray was completely ineffective in the first half before being yanked in the second half for Jason Maas.

Ray denied the Eskimos were confused by the Rider defensive schemes.

"There is nothing confusing, I just turned the ball over. I just gave them momentum," said Ray, who finished 10-for-18 and just 99 passing yards and two interceptions.

It marks the third time in the last five games that Ray has been held under 200 passing yards by the Riders.

In the end, the offence generated just 13 first downs.

"I don't think we adapted well in the last couple of weeks to what we have been given. This time we were battling the Riders and the elements and I feel like we didn't make the necessary adjustments," said Edmonton receiver Kamau Peterson.

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GAME BALL

Michael Bishop, Rider QB

Nine for 10 passing and two touchdowns in the second half after Steven Jyles was pulled.

WHY ESKS LOST

The offence produced four points (field goal, two singles) and turned the ball over eight times.

GAME GRADES

OVERALL: F

Offence: F

Receivers dropped balls, the offensive line gave up three sacks and with four minutes left in the game, Edmonton had 198 total offensive yards.

Defence: F

The Riders put up more than 120 rushing yards and torched the secondary for big plays - like the 41-yard touchdown to Weston Dressler, beating Lenny Williams.

Special Teams: F

Three different times an Edmonton returner mis-handled the ball and was forced to scramble.

Coaching: F

The players and the coaches share this loss. The offence didn't seem to have a clue of how to adapt to the Rider defensive schemes or the windy elements. Countless passes sailed in the wind, nowhere near a receiver.

UP NEXT

Vs. Montreal

Friday 7 p.m TSN, CHED


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