Catch them if you can

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:13 AM ET

There is a trend that is getting worse by the game for the Edmonton Eskimos.

After repeatedly shutting down opposition runners in the first half of the season, the Esks' top-ranked run defence has given up at least 100 yards on the ground in six of the last eight games.

This comes after keeping the enemy below the 100-yard mark in 10 of the first 11 games.

More alarmingly for the Green and Gold is the fact the rushing total for the opposition has increased with every game during the last three weeks.

In total, Edmonton has given up 461 yards on the ground in the last three games, which is an average of 153 yards per tilt.

In the first 11 games of the year, Edmonton gave up a total of 671 yards -- an average of just 61 yards per game.

IT'S THAT TIME

"I think guys are getting to the point of the season where every game counts and every play counts. A lot of times you try to do a little more than what you are required to do with your job.

"And when you get into that, any running back in this league can make you pay," said DE Joe Montford.

Added head coach Danny Maciocia: "You have to know your responsibility and cancel gaps (that running backs can run through)."

Another reason for the growing running total: great play-calling and offensive schemes.

"They had a lot of formations that got our corners and halfbacks involved," said LB Steven Marsh of the Calgary Stampeders on Sunday.

"I know for me, they got me out of the box (near the line of scrimmage) in different positions.

"I have to give credit to their offensive co-ordinator -- he called a really good game."

But the most blatant reason for Calgary's gigantic 198 yard rushing total on Sunday: missed tackles.

JUST BAD

"(Sunday) was just bad," said eight-year veteran LB Singor Mobley.

"At this point and time that shouldn't happen.

"We have to grab cloth and hold on instead of going for the kill shot.

"Your reinforcements are going to be coming.

"But we came in at halftime and adjusted and played our style of defence in the second half."

In the second half, the Esks only allowed 46 yards on the ground.

The Edmonton defence also excelled in the second half in causing turnovers, as the Stamps turned it over four times in the final 30 minutes.

But cutting the rushing total will be job No. 1 this week for the defensive unit which will face a very good B.C. rushing attack on Sunday in the CFL West final.

"They run a lot of the same formations (as Calgary) and have an excellent back in Antonio Warren, so they would be foolish not to try and run the ball on us," said middle LB A.J. Gass.

"But us knowing that and preparing for that -- let the chess match begin."


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