EDMONTON - After giving up 56 points in a humiliating loss to the Calgary Stampeders last week, the Edmonton Eskimos came up with a huge defensive effort Saturday.
The defence gave up just a single field goal to hold the fort as the Esks improved to 2-6 on a bleak season.
“We were just assignment-sound, do your jobs and have an opportunity to make plays,” said head coach Richie Hall.
“If you take care of your responsibilities you always got a chance and you always provide hope.
“When you don’t do your job, then you’re always playing behind the eight ball.
The bye-week break helped.
“When they came back, it seemed like there was a different atmosphere in the locker-room regarding their togetherness,” Hall said of his players.
“They believed in each other and they fought for each other.”
The togetherness on display on the field flies in the face of a recent report singling out middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd as a “locker-room cancer.”
“We learned from our past, we prepared for the future and we understand what the future holds for us,” said Lloyd, who had three tackles and an interception.
“We came out as a group of guys and said we’re going to believe and we’re going to give the ball back to the offence and let them do what they do.”
The Eskimos held the Roughriders to just 89 rushing yards — well below the 163.7 yards Saskatchewan averaged heading into the game.
“Whoever said that I’m a cancer bringing this team down, whoever said that we’re not good enough as a team, we came out here and showed them that it’s a new season,” Lloyd said.
Defensive end Kai Ellis agreed.
“We’re 1-0 right now,” said Ellis, who had two sacks and a forced fumble to help send the invading horde of Roughriders fans home with a loss.
“I’m happy that they drove all the way from Saskatchewan and paid three times to fill up their tank, that’s great!”