Final countdown?

TERRY JONES -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:05 AM ET

Whoever owns the last set of rose-coloured glasses in town is going to be thinking, 'Wow, is this going to be the stuff of legends, or what?'

Yeah, that's the ticket.

"The Eskimos win their last six, all the wheels fall off Winnipeg, Edmonton makes it into the playoffs on the crossover, wins the East semifinal on the road, the East final on the road and represents the East in the in Winnipeg where they beat the Calgary Stampeders to win back-to-back Grey Cups.''

For the rest of you, the Eskimos couldn't even beat the 2-11 Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a team which hadn't scored a touchdown at home in their previous four games, had any starting receiver or running back score a TD all year, didn't have a 100-yard receiver in the line-up, had lost five in a row and ... well, it's a long list.

For the rest of you, who believed the glass may have been refilled to half-empty with last week's wonderful win over the Calgary Stampeders, last night's loss to the Tiger-Cats was the sound of that glass, and their season, being shattered.

The season-long 'Death Watch' of the flagship franchise's remarkable record of 34 consecutive seasons in the playoffs just became a countdown to 'The End.'

The nail the Tiger-Cats pounded in their coffin last night, let history recall, was painted green and gold. Former Eskimos head coach Ron Lancaster and defensive coach Kavis Reed, a former Eskimo, somehow managed to get one good game out of their group. Ex-Esk quarterback Jason Maas finally found his form. And Tay Cody, the forgotten player in the trade, fell on the ball punched out of Ricky Ray's arm to seal the deal.

For years, teams have wanted to get their licks in at the Eskimos. So much has been made about the class involved with Eskimos football, it won't be lost on many that when the wheels came off, there was A.J. Gass kicking former Eskimo Brock Ralph while he was laying on the field when the final gun sounded.

DOOR WAS OPEN

With that huge win against Calgary, Saskatchewan losing and then Winnipeg losing, it was all there.

The door was open again to catch Saskatchewan in the West and then opened to catch Winnipeg for that crossover playoff spot in the East. Last night the Eskimos tripped over the league door mats. The door hit them on the ass on the way down.

They didn't show up until the second half.

They might as well have rolled out a red carpet down the middle of the field for Devon Fowlkes to return a punt 87 yards to the end zone. Moses didn't part the Red Sea with that much room to work.

Hamilton had scored 14 points in the previous four home games and put up 24 on Rick Campbell's porous defence in the first half of this one.

Like everybody else, the Eskimos held Hamilton to three points in the second half. But this was obviously a team which figured they'd collect two wins from the Tabbies and maybe make the official kickoff for the game in Regina two weeks from now.

ALMOST DUPLICATED

While Ricky Ray almost duplicated the 12-play, 96-yard drive to win it the week before, this time it didn't work out that way.

Some will write it off as Hamilton always being a tough place for the Eskimos to play.

Balderdash!

This is only the second time since interlocking play began that the Eskimos had lost games in back-to-back seasons in Hamilton.

This football team is now on life support because they keep committing suicide.

Head coach Danny Maciocia, coaching from the edge of a cliff throughout a season in which he won the Grey Cup as a first-year head coach, pleaded for a show of pride from this team against Calgary.

They gave it to him and that gave Edmonton hope. Hope turned back to nope last night.

Now in the second game of the back-to-back Basement Bowl or Toilet Bowl series in which Hamilton can now match the four wins the Eskimos have to show for this season, is Maciocia going to have to plead for pride again? Against Hamilton? At home?

One thing is still there for the Eskimos this season, however. Never before have they managed to lose all nine games on the road.

The Eskimos lost their first six back in 1971, the last time they missed the playoffs, but stopped it there.

The last time they lost all their games on the road was 1963. But there were only eight of them.

Maybe they can run the table at that.


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