Eskimos' defence pulling their weight

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:49 PM ET

The force is with them.

In the two games where Edmonton Eskimos defensive linemen have forced a fumble, the team has come away with victories.

Defensive end Kai Ellis sacked Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant Saturday as the second quarter wound down, causing Durant to fumble the ball away to Eskimos defensive tackle Dario Romero.

While the Eskimos offence couldn't convert the turnover into points, the play set the tone for a scoreless second half by the Roughriders.

"We always play Saskatchewan close. We gave it away last time we played them," Ellis said of the 24-20 loss in Regina in Week 2, where the Eskimos held the lead going into the fourth quarter. "I think that, as a collective group, we never quit and we just kept on playing hard."

Victories have been hard to come by this year, with both of them being attributed to the defence. Last Saturday's game started out as bad as the rest, with Ricky Ray throwing an interception and the other team scoring. But it didn't drag the defence down.

"I've been on a couple of teams where stuff like that happens and then you turn it around," said Ellis, who led the way with the forced fumble, five tackles, two sacks and a knock down. "Like my stepdad always says: 'Somebody's always watching no matter what the score is, and then it's always 0-0.' "

Ellis recovered a fumble -- one of two forced by fellow defensive end Kenneth Pettway -- in a 28-25 victory over the B.C. Lions in Week 5 to get their first win of the season.

In both games, the defence hung in to make the difference while the offence did just enough to win by three-point margins.

Leduc's Corbin Sharun also had a forced fumble via a blocked punt that was recovered by Jason Barnes and led to the Eskimos lone touchdown last Saturday.

The only other forced fumble the Eskimos have this year is by defensive back Lenny Walls against his former team, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, in Week 4.


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