Esks fans have fun with numbers

Eskimos offensive lineman Patrick Kabongo (back) hugs quarterback Ricky Ray in celebration after a...

Eskimos offensive lineman Patrick Kabongo (back) hugs quarterback Ricky Ray in celebration after a touchdown against the Stampeders Saturday in Calgary. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:57 AM ET

EDMONTON - It’s been a while since Edmonton fans have been able to have fun with facts and figures.

When the Eskimos beat the Stampeders Saturday in Calgary they made it a 4-0 start to a season for the first time since 1986.

“Wow, 1986. It’s really been that long?” said Eskimos new general manager Eric Tillman.

“Unless I’m mistaken, that was the year Oprah Winfrey started her television show.”

As the Eskimos head into Friday’s home game against the Toronto Argos at Commonwealth Stadium, you should know that the last time Edmonton won its first five in a row was back in 1980.

It was also the middle season in the five-in-a-row Grey Cup run of 1978-1979-1980-1981 and 1982, a season in which the Eskimos only lost three games and won the Grey Cup game 48-10 over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

“We shouldn’t even go there, in discussing 1980,” suggested Tillman, the architect of this total turnaround.

‘Amazing’

“First, we have a well-coached, highly motivated Toronto team standing between us and the milestone Friday night.

“And secondly, our coach, Kavis Reed, must have been in Grade 1 back in 1980 just learning where Canada was located. Now, 31 years later, he and his team are the talk of the country he was first being taught about then.

“Amazing, isn’t it?”

Amazing that Reed has yet to suffer his first defeat as a head coach and is already in third place all-time among head coaches’ winning streaks to start a career.

What’s most amazing is the Before & After picture involving Tillman’s work here.

The Eskimos’ fourth win last year came on Oct. 3. The fifth was Oct. 16.

Fun with figures?

How about this one? The Eskimos have only trailed in a game for 1:34 this year. They’ve led for 200:05.

It’s too bad, from a fascinating-fact point of view, that Saskatchewan didn’t lose as expected in Montreal. It almost certainly would have been the first time in the history of the Western Conference that one team would have started with a 4-0 record while two teams were at 0-4.

It also, almost certainly, would have been the first time that one team would have double the number of wins as the other teams in the West combined.

As it is, the Eskimos have four wins and the other teams have a total of three combined.

The Eskimos go into Friday night’s game against the Toronto Argos as not only the only undefeated team remaining in the league but also as the only team which has yet to lose a game at home.

Unbelievably, the other three Western Conference clubs — Calgary, Saskatchewan and B.C. — are all 0-2 at home.

One of the best numbers going was Ricky Ray attempting 141 consecutive passes without throwing an interception, which ended in the third quarter in the win in Calgary Saturday when Greg Fassitt picked one off.

“I made just a horrible, horrible decision,” said Ray.

“That streak, whatever it was, should still be going.”

Ray said he’s not even looking at his stats.

“I know I haven’t turned the ball over. I follow that stat. But I know as well as anybody that when it comes to quarterbacks, it’s all based on wins and losses. We’re graded a little bit different.”

Fun to win

Ray says it’s like people didn’t even notice that he had a bad game last week.

“Man, it’s just so much fun when you win.”

Ray is leading the league in passing yardage with 1,231. Projected to the end of the season, that’s 5,535. Ray’s 5,663 and Moon’s 5,648 are 1-2 in Eskimos history.

Ray’s QB efficiency rating of 130.4 is way ahead of Dave Dickenson’s league record of 118.8 from 2005.

And then there’s Stamps, who has already put up 477 yards in pass receiving this year to lead the league by lots. Projected, that’s 2,146.5 yards for the season. The receiving yards single-season record is 2,036 yards, owned by Calgary’s Allen Pitts.

“Oh really? I hadn’t paid attention to that,” said Stamps.

“It’s too early. It’s a long season. I don’t even want to get thinking about anything like that. We’re winning. That’s all anybody in here cares about.

“Oh man, it’s awesome.”


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