What went wrong?

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

So, what really happened to the top-ranked Edmonton Eskimo defence last weekend?

In the 24 hours after the Calgary Stampeders' 43-23 shellacking of the Green and Gold last Sunday, the answers from Eskimo camp were a lack of intensity and mental mistakes.

But what are the specific details behind the collapse in the biggest regular-season game of the year?

And, more importantly, what has the club learned from its mistakes as it prepares for the rematch in the West semi-final in Calgary this weekend?

After reviewing film of the defence giving up a season-high 441 yards of total offence, the answers from the Eskimo coaching staff: a lack of containment on the defensive line and busted assignments.

Two key plays at McMahon Stadium last Sunday clearly demonstrated the problems that plagued the team the entire afternoon.

Play #1

Quarterback Henry Burris hits a wide-open Brett Ralph for a 22-yard TD reception in the second quarter.

"We ended up losing contain on the edge, meaning Henry got to roll out and buy extra time, which we can't allow," said Edmonton defensive assistant Rick Campbell.

"(Joe) Montford was on that side (of the D-line) and we had a blitzer coming and they ended up bringing a receiver down and cracking one of our guys.

"We have to be aware that is coming and adjust to that."

But that was only part of the problem.

Once Burris cleared any danger near the line of scrimmage, the defensive secondary suffered a meltdown.

"We were playing a zone coverage and that zone (where Ralph was standing) that was supposed to be occupied (by a defender) was unoccupied," said Esks head coach Danny Maciocia. "There can't be any coverage busts if we are going to be successful."

Ralph's touchdown grab led the Stamps to a 15-9 halftime lead, putting Edmonton in chase mode in the second half.

Play #2

MarTay Jenkins's 50-yard catch-and-run TD in the second half, helping put the game out of reach in the third quarter.

"Once again you are going to get a theme here," said Campbell during a break in meetings yesterday.

"We lost contain on the quarterback and he had extra time to throw the ball.

"It was really a 10-yard pass and we have three guys that have got to get to (Jenkins) and tackle him.

"And he knifed it through all three and turned a 10-yard pass into a 50-yard pass.

"I don't know if we misjudged his speed or whatever, but he made a play."

Losing containment along the defensive line also hurt the Eskimos on the ground last Sunday, as Burris scrambled for almost 40 yards on just five carries.

"If you make an inside move or get out of your pass rush lane because you want to go and make a play -- he is going to run ... and make you pay for it," continued Campbell.

"It is like covering a kickoff, you are not always the guy that is going to make the tackle, but you are going to be part of making it because we are working as a unit to make sure he doesn't have any escape lanes."

The Eskimo defence, which entered last Sunday's tilt giving up an average of 299 yards -- a league-low mark -- returns to the practice field today to further learn from the mistakes.

FINISH LINES: Maciocia believes DB Shannon Garrett, who strained a quad muscle in Calgary, will be able to play in the rematch.


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