Defence falls short on drive

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

The bend but don't break philosophy is completely shattered.

After holding the Edmonton Eskimos to five field-goal attempts during a 33-26 loss in yesterday's West semifinal at McMahon Stadium, the Calgary Stampeders defence allowed one of the longest drives of the season.

Eskimos backup quarterback Jason Maas came on at halftime and led his team on a 16-play, 93-yard drive to begin the fourth quarter.

The drive chewed eight minutes of clock and gave the Eskimos the tying score, effectively swinging momentum in Edmonton's favour.

A bruised and battered Stamps defence was completely worn out after that, giving up the winning score a few minutes later.

"They were in second and short a lot and we couldn't get off the field," said middle linebacker Brian Clark. "We beat ourselves, offence, defence and special teams. It was a team loss right there."

Eskimos starter Ricky Ray was completely ineffective in the opening half as Calgary built a 14-point lead.

The only time Ray could put any points on the board was off turnovers but the pivot still had to settle for Sean Fleming field-goal attempts.

Ray left after going 12-of-21 passing for 99 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.

Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia gave Ray the hook at halftime and Maas came in to give his club a boost.

On the 16-play drive, Maas hit Trevor Gaylor (21 yards), Troy Davis (10), Andrew Nowacki (13) and Mike Maurer (eight) on perfect passes to get to the goal-line for a Mathieu Bertrand touchdown run.

For the winning score, Maas went three straight times to receiver Jason Tucker, one a pass-interference penalty on Joey Boese, to engineer the winning score on a 25-yard touchdown pass.

Maas finished 15-of-18 passing for 144 yards without turning the ball over.

So the Eskimos have a quarterback controversy heading into the West final at B.C., while the Stamps have to figure out how they allowed a backup to pick them apart in the fourth quarter of a playoff game.

"We pride ourselves on stopping the long drives and getting some turnovers ourselves but tonight it didn't go that way," said defensive lineman Sheldon Napastuk.


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