Soiled stadium

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

Danny Maciocia's biggest mistake as head coach last night was not bringing a pooper scooper to the game.

"Who am I kidding? We have a lot of work to do here,'' said the rookie head coach after his team soiled the sheets and the Commonwealth Stadium turf.

His team set some sort of record for stupid last night in losing 22-18 to a Toronto Argo team which managed only nine first downs - 21 fewer than the Eskimos - and completed 11 passes, 29 fewer than Edmonton.

Maciocia's team didn't show up early again, then tried to pull it out late, but failed for the second week in a row.

"We're not playing smart. We're doing dumb things.

"We're not playing like a good football team. The way we are right now, we're just another team good enough to do OK, but fall short,'' said Maciocia.

"It's not like they did anything to confuse us. Toronto had four first downs in the first half and were leading 7-1.''

When you win ugly and don't learn the lessons, you start to lose. And when you lose ugly at home and have 38,927 booing you in the third quarter, it's makes it difficult marketing the "Defend The Turf" slogan.

"When you lose turnovers, take bad penalties and time count violations and make stupid mistakes, you're going to lose,'' said Ricky Ray who had never lost a home game to a team not named the Montreal Alouettes.

Ray, with no running game and teams taking away the big play to Mookie Mitchell and Jason Tucker, is playing in a set of handcuffs.

Suddenly they're 5-3, haven't really beaten anybody and are on the down escalator to the floor where the Stampeders, Roughriders and Blue Bombers live.

"This is something that just didn't happen today,'' said Ray. "Today was things catching up to us.''

HOW BAD?

The previous two home games the Eskimos won ugly. One, the 14-12 against Winnipeg, was one of the worst examples of sporting entertainment ever foisted off on a paying public. Not much better was the 36-30 win over winless Hamilton.

But this ...

How bad was it?

Even the Argos didn't like it!

"When you're unhappy with a win in Commonwealth Stadium, that's a good thing,'' is how coach Pinball Clemons put it.

This was a classic example of shooting yourself in the foot. Again. And again. And again. And again.

What follows are just a few of the lowlights.

- Dumb holding penalty to Patrick Kabongo kills big play to Argo 33 yard line. Takes Eskimos out of scoring position. No points.

- Mike Maurer fumble on the Argo 26 yard line. No points.

- Ray has Eskimos on 33 and hits Eric England in the numbers. England is employed by the Argos. As a defensive lineman.

- Ray had Sean Fleming set up for a 30-yard field goal at the end of the half but intentionally grounds ball. Ten yard penalty. Fleming missed from 40. One point.

- Two Ray time-count violations takes the Eskimos from 17 to 27. Field goal.

- Eskimos' defensive back Steve Marsh drops easy wide-open interception in Argo territory.

- Arland Bruce left totally uncovered for 89-yard touchdown.

- Tony Tompkins fumbles return and Allen turns it into seven points in four plays.

- Ray throws into triple coverage. Interception. Fourth turnover.

- Tompkins concedes single in the final minute to put Eskimos four points down and eliminate hope of hitting a field goal to tie the game and take it to overtime.

TAKES THE CAKE

That last one took the cake. It was the final straw. It broke their back.

"We self-destructed at times we shouldn't be self-destructing. We left points out there we shouldn't be leaving out there,'' said Maciocia.

"Normally good football teams don't do that. We can't continue to take penalties like that holding penalty early to take us out of scoring position. And Tompkins ... that's another situation right there,'' he said of having a return man who can't do simple math involving three and four.

"Obviously he has to bring the ball out. I'll guarantee you that won't happen again.''

A lot of things better not happen again.

The bloom is off the rose with Danny Maciocia's 2005 Edmonton Eskimos.


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