Craving peace

Edmonton Eskimos' Keyuo Carver (left) tries to stop Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Milt Stegall from making...

Edmonton Eskimos' Keyuo Carver (left) tries to stop Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Milt Stegall from making a catch during second half action at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton last Thursday. (Edmonton Sun/Jason Franson)

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

Keyuo Craver had a tough time swallowing the loss.

After watching Winnipeg's Milt Stegall beat him - and then embarrass him - for the game-winning 100-yard touchdown last Thursday, the Eskimo defensive back only went to bed for a couple of hours early Friday morning.

In fact, he was still working the ugly game through his mind and swallowing some food at a 24-hour diner in the middle of the night.

"I went to Denny's at like 3 a.m. with Jabari (Issa), Reggie (Durden), Marcus (Winn) and (Andre) Sommersell," he recalled.

"It was a rough night. A play like that has never happened to me."

Malcolm Frank - who left his receiver to try to help Craver on the final play but missed tackling Stegall - didn't join his frustrated teammates for the feast in the middle of the night.

"I'm married, so I don't stay out until three o'clock," he quipped. "But ... it (was) kind of hard to sleep at night."

But more importantly for the struggling Eskimos, they can't let that one play cause their young season to spiral downward any farther.

And Step 1 in that process is taking responsibility and moving on.

In the aftermath of the debacle, there is no shortage of players and coaches willing to accept responsibility.

FACE THE FACTS

"You have to face the facts. We didn't make the play when we were supposed to make it," said Craver, who wishes he had played the man instead of the ball.

"Of course, the highlights (of the play) were on every channel (this past weekend) - and everybody and their momma reminded you of it."

Defensive co-ordinator Rick Campbell - like head coach Danny Maciocia - also feels he should take the blame.

"It's a coaching mistake in the fact we didn't get our guys coached up well enough to make the play," said Campbell, who wanted his players to play deeper on the zone coverage call which involved the safety blitzing the quarterback.

"I will be more than happy to take the responsibility for that."

However, in a veteran-laden locker-room nobody is pointing fingers - and that is what will keep the team from falling further, according to offensive lineman Dan Comiskey.

"You don't blame a football game on one play - ever," he said. "And that is what will save us in the end. There is no I in TEAM. It's an oldie (saying), but it's a goodie. It's true."

The Eskimos don't have to look any further than the B.C. Lions to see what can happen to a team that suffers a tough loss.

The Leos lost any hope for a perfect season last year when the Eskimos beat them in September, ending their 11-0 run.

To this day, that game is pointed to as the spark that caused the Lions to burn and self-destruct down the stretch, losing seven of eight games.

Well aware of the potential dangers of a demoralizing loss, Campbell also tried to help avoid that disaster by bringing his players into the office the day after the last-play nightmare.

"One play can't destroy us," he said. "You better get back up and get ready to play again.

"We got the defensive guys in and talked about it and watched it (the play) and got it over with, so that we could get on to Montreal."

COULD GET WORSE

The Eskimos (2-3) battle the undefeated Alouettes (5-0) on Friday at Commonwealth Stadium. "We are playing a real good football team and if we are not on top of our game, it could be even uglier," said Craver.

But this club also knows that in a inconsistent and topsy-turvy West Division, a win on Friday could vault them into a tie for first place by the end of the weekend and push their confidence level to a new height.


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