'Dumb' effort punches Esks into East playoffs

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

REGINA -- The Edmonton Eskimos are spiralling downward with the CFL playoffs two weeks away.

They dropped an embarrassing 55-9 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in windy Regina last night.

The 46-point loss is the worst defeat in Danny Maciocia's era as head coach with the Eskimos.

The Green and Gold have lost two straight games by a combined score of 98-37 and have committed a staggering 11 turnovers in the last 120 minutes of football.

"We are just plain dumb," said Maciocia, calling out his team in the most blatant fashion this year. "We're dumb. Collectively as a whole group, we are a bunch of dummies right now.

"And if we keep playing that way, that is exactly what you are going to get. We just have to protect the football, and --it sounds like a broken record -- we got to convert. We can't even convert on a quarterback sneak. And we got to make some catches, especially balls that hit us in the hands."

That assessment came just moments after a closed-door yelling session inside the Eskimos dressing room last night.

The loss in the Saskatchewan capital means the Eskimos are heading to Winnipeg for the East Division semi-final Nov. 8.

It also means the Esks have finished last in the West Division for three straight years.

Four ugly Eskimos turnovers in the first half led to 24 points for the Riders.

Kitwana Jones had a 54-yard fumble return for a touchdown after quarterback Ricky Ray spit up the ball on a wicked hit from Maurice Lloyd. Luca Congi hit a 41-yard field goal after Ray's second fumble. Renauld Williams went 42 yards for a major on a Ray interception. And Wes Cates' 10-yard TD came after the Esks turned the ball over on downs.

The Esks actually coughed up the ball six times in the first 30 minutes, losing it five times.

And it didn't get better in the second half.

Three more Rider touchdowns -- by Weston Dressler, Cates and Andy Fantuz --made it 55-6 with 10 minutes left in the game.

The Esks actually gave up 49 straight points after trailing 7-6 with 50 seconds left in the first quarter.

"Everybody is responsible. There is not an individual player. It's not an individual unit. It is collectively -- players and coaches -- that is as dumb of a football game as I have seen," continued Maciocia on his rant.

Ray was completely ineffective in the first half before being yanked in the second half for Jason Maas.

Ray denied the Eskimos were puzzled by the Rider defensive schemes.

"There is nothing confusing. I just turned the ball over. I just gave them momentum," said Ray, who was 10-of-18 with 99 yards and two picks.


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