EDMONTON -- The heat inside the Edmonton Eskimo pressure cooker is finally starting to drop.
By no means is everything calm and cool in Eskimoland but the defending Grey Cup champions have now snapped out of the franchise's worst start to a regular season in 34 years.
After watching nearly every break and big play go against them in the first two months of the campaign, the Eskimos reversed that trend last night to beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 24-18.
"We are relieved," said Eskimo receiver Ed Hervey. "This win right here has done a lot for the confidence of everyone (in this locker room)."
From a key interception to a blocked punt to a reversed replay challenge, the Esks can look back to several well-timed key plays, but nothing was bigger than a 44-yard TD strike to Trevor Gaylor streaking down the sidelines to give the hometown crew some much needed breathing room in the third quarter.
"The coach asked me on the sidelines if I could get (Rider defensive back) Almondo Curry on a pump-and-go (route)," said Gaylor. "But I didn't know if he would call it."
Well, the call was made and Gaylor and Ricky Ray delivered to give the Esks an 18-10 lead.
"It was an unbelievable (throw). We like to joke, but (Ray) really does pass long handoffs. His ball is so soft and easy to catch," continued Gaylor.
For the first time this year, the defensive unit put points on the board courtesy of a 72-yard interception return for a TD by Gerald Dixon, giving Edmonton a 10-7 lead in the second quarter.
"It is a big (interception) now that we look at the scoreboard," said Dixon, who practically took the ball right out of Jason French's hands.