Jason Goss put the lipstick on the pig.
It was a butt-ugly outing by the Edmonton Eskimos, but defensive back Goss put the gloss on the game which otherwise would have beenthe first loss by a Western team at home to an Eastern team this season.
Goss returned two passes for touchdowns for a combined total of 144 yards - breaking John Wydareny's 41-year-old record of two for 127 yards - in yesterday's 38-33 win over the 2-9 HamiltonTiger-Cats.
Picking off three passes in all to equal a team record shared by 10 others, Goss's pair of picks, the second for 94 yards, put him in second place for the CFL record, passing everybody on the list other than Barry Arden of Ottawa, who put together 172 yards for the Rough Riders in 1969.
By all rights, Goss's game should be celebrated. But this one was so ugly that no amount of lipstick could make it look much better. And Goss wasn't the only Eskimo carrying a tube of lipstick.
It's remarkable that you could have three players become bona fide candidates for player of the week honours in a game in which the home team played so unbelievably badly.
Kelly Campbell caught five passes for 154 yards and a touchdown and Calvin McCarty ran nine times for 72 yards and the winning touchdown in a game in which both quarterbacks, Casey Printers and Ricky Ray, each threw four interceptions.
"Jason Goss is exhausted," said coach Danny Maciocia after the game. "He's an extremely valuable member of the defence in that he can also play free safety and play the corner."
McCarty, who took over from A.J. Harris when the No. 1 running back was injured in the second quarter, busted tackles to make it to the end zone on his 21-yard trip to pay dirt which was followed by a 34 yarder which kept the Eskimos in possession at the end of the game.
"He's the best fourth-round pick I've ever been associated with," said Maciocia.
Campbell, who had the ugliest game of anybody on the field the week before against the Calgary Stampeders, certainly bounced back with this one.
"He had a tough day last week, but those are the kind of catches we expect from Kelly Campbell," said his coach.
Goss wasn't the only Eskimo to get into the team record book in the ghastly game. Quarterback Ricky Ray equalled Warren Moon's team record for touchdown passes with his 144th. But he won't treasure the moment.
"You definitely want to play a better game than that to get that record," is how Ray put it.
But while there is all sorts of room to go on and on about so many pathetic performances, Goss's game deserves to be remembered.
"This is the best game I've played in my career," he said.
His first TD came just 59 seconds into the game, when he picked Printers for a 50-yard trip on Hamiolton's second play from scrimmage. But it was the 94 yard pick for his second TD that impressed teammate Shannon Garrett.
"On that last one, it wasn't his man. He was reacting to the ball. Only a veteran is going to make that play. A rookie is not going to do that," said the most veteran of all Eskimo veterans.
Goss doesn't get a lot of interceptions, but when he does he has an amazingly high percentage of getting them to the end zone.
He only has 17 interceptions in five CFL seasons, but he now has taken eight of them for touchdowns.
"I used to be a receiver," said Goss. "I still have a receiver's mindset. If the ball, I'll go up and get it."
Goss had an unfair advantage going against Printers as a defensive back last night.
The quarterback at Texas Christian where he used to be a receiver was one Casey Printers.
"I played with Casey for three years. I know the type of quarterback he is and I know how to read him," said Goss.
He made reading about this one this morning a lot easier.