Eskimos have a pulse

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

MONTREAL -- The Edmonton Eskimos are finally starting to show some serious signs of life.

It's much too early to suggest a playoff spot is a given - especially with a critical back-to-back set with the Toronto Argos on tap next - but the Esks have suddenly won two straight tilts.

A 16-10 victory over the slumping Montreal Alouettes yesterday afternoon at Molson Stadium keeps the Esks in possession of the final playoff spot in the East Division while moving them to within two points of third-place Calgary in the West.

But just as important as the victory is the way Edmonton earned it.

- The defence stepped up and delivered an all-star effort by holding Montreal's offence to just one point until late in the fourth quarter.

"They were absolutely amazing," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia on his defence.

"We knew we had to do a few things differently. We just couldn't take the game plan from last week into this week because they are just too good of a football team - they would have picked up on it and probably dissected us.

"We threw in a few more coverages. We gave them a couple of more looks up front."

Added middle linebacker A.J. Gass: "We really controlled the game.

"This was definitely a bold statement (by the defence)."

- The offence produced key, long drives when required. The Esks stalled in the red zone - failing to produce a touchdown on four trips inside the 20-yard line - but they still produced points.

- Sean Fleming was perfect on the afternoon - going four-for-four in the field-goal department after missing three kicks in the previous two games.

- And there wasn't a second half collapse, like three times previous this year.

"That is the type of football game we need to play. Take it to the end," continued Maciocia.

"Those are the ones that we have let slip away.

"This is huge (this victory) - (in) this type of environment."

In a game that featured three safeties - two by Montreal and one by Edmonton - the only taste of drama came after the only touchdown was scored.

Kerry Watkins' 15-yard touchdown from backup quarterback Jason Maas with 1:01 remaining pulled Montreal to within 16-10.

With momentum finally riding with the Als, the Esks needed to produce a first down on the ground to kill the clock and clinch the win.

"That is what makes this huge," continued Maciocia.

"Yeah you could have scored down there - a few more points (in the red zone) - but there was 59 seconds left on the clock and we knew they had a timeout and we knew we had to get a first down.

"We didn't want to get our punt team out there.

"We didn't want to play defence any more.

"We stuck with the run and converted.

"It sounds like the Edmonton Eskimos of old."

The same could be said of the defence yesterday.

Montreal was held to just 41 yards on the ground and 257 total net yards.

The Edmonton front seven also produced six sacks, including a key stop on Montreal quarterback Marcus Brady on a third-down gamble from the Eskimo one-yard line in the first half.

"I think everyone on the D-line damn near got a sack," said defensive end Adam Braidwood.

"Our secondary played great, it was easy to get to the quarterback because they had those receivers locked down.

"Life is good."

It is today in Eskimoland.


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