Taylor-made Alouettes win

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

MONTREAL -- It took just 67 seconds for the Edmonton Eskimos' season to sink in Montreal.

Head coach Danny Maciocia claimed during the post-season run his club was sailing a ship to their destination, which was hopefully the Grey Cup next weekend.

But the ship crashed and sank in the second quarter of yesterday's East Division final in Montreal when the hometown Alouettes scored 14 points in 67 seconds.

The Green & Gold couldn't recover and lost 36-26, ending their season.

"When it is staring you in the face that you have six months before you can come back, it is tough," said Eskimos receiver Kamau Peterson.

"It is tough knowing you are not ever going to play with these guys again -- this same group."

Returner Tristan Jackson took the loss in tougher fashion.

"Heartbreaking -- like a trainwreck," Jackson said. "It is so close."

Jumping out to a 13-3 lead courtesy of a Justin Cooper blocked punt for a major and two field goals, the Eskimos then collapsed in stunning fashion.

A seven-yard touchdown pass from veteran quarterback Anthony Calvillo to receiver Jamel Richardson, beating Eskimos defender Lenny Williams, brought the Alouettes within one point with 2:31 left in the second quarter.

Just 67 seconds later, Larry Taylor weaved his way 62 yards for a punt return major, slipping past an early tackle attempt by Taylor Inglis, to give the Als a lead they would never relinquish.

The Alouettes actually scored 33 unanswered points before the Eskimos finally got off the carpet for a Ricky Ray to Kelly Campbell touchdown early in the fourth quarter to cut it to 36-20.

"Hats off to Montreal -- they outplayed us today," said Esks defensive back Jordan Younger.

For the Als, Taylor had a second punt return major of the game, going 97 yards in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.

That gave Taylor a CFL playoff record for most punt return touchdowns in a game and a black eye to the Esks' special teams unit.

The Eskimos gave up just one return major in the regular season but three in the post-season.

In a game that was hyped as being a showdown between the two quarterbacks, it was Ray and the Esks offence that could barely get out of neutral in the first three quarters.

The Esks had one rushing yard and 128 total net yards in the first half.

"We just didn't sustain enough drives. We lost the time of possession battle," Peterson said.

The Alouettes had a six-minute edge in time of possession in the first half.

On eight of 11 first-down plays in the first half, the Esks failed to generate more than two yards.

Dominated by the Alouettes defensive line, the Esks offensive line left Ray scrambling many times and on his back after several plays.

But that wasn't the only area of domination.

The Alouettes finished with a five-minute edge in time of possession, while Esks turned the ball over three times to the Als' two.

And perhaps most importantly, the visitors lost the physical battle on special teams through much of the game.

Taylor ended up with 203 return yards, marking another new CFL playoff record.

The Esks' special teams unit came to life in the final minute with a Jackson punt return major and a successful on-side kick.

But it was too late.


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