Esks Bowman credits O-line
By Con Griwkowsky, QMI Agency
|Edmonton Eskimo Adarius Bowman gets snagged by Calgary Stampeder Brandon Smith during the CFL Western semifinal at Commonwealth Stadium on Sunday. Amber Bracken, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Sometimes, you have to hit bottom to appreciate being on top.
Coming off a 226-yard, two TD career game against Saskatchewan last week, Eskimos receiver Adarius Bowman continued to make strides toward establishing himself one of the team’s top receivers.
Bowman turned in another sure-handed performance in Sunday’s CFL West semifinal against the Calgary Stampeders.
He had 93 yards on four catches, including a 56-yarder that set up the team’s first offensive TD of Sunday’s tilt.
In a tough defensive struggle in which the Esks produced 245 passing yards, Bowman emerged as the go-to guy for the second straight week and proved that last week’s performance was no fluke.
The goofy thing about it is that Bowman’s entire production came in the first half.
“We got that win, man, so it feel great,” said Bowman. “I’m always down to do that. Our offensive line did a great job, they’re the players of the game.
“With a guy like Ricky Ray as your quarterback, it’s not that tough to have great games. When guys try to double us, other guys step up to make the play. I’m just so happy we’re going to the Western final.”
Bowman now seems comfortable enough to run with the talent that made him a highly-ranked player at Oklahoma State.
Heading into his draft year in 2008, some scouts had him projected as a first-rounder. But a combination of off-field issues and disappointing performances yanked the rug out from his NFL aspirations.
Down to his last chance in pro ball after stints in Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Bowman signed with the Eskimos and has turned his career around.
“I have to take my hat off to coach Kavis (Reed),” said Bowman, who missed four regular-season games with a rib injury. “He’s the man I trust. It’s a comfort thing and you’re going to get the best out of your players when you can make them feel comfortable.”
Heading into next Sunday’s CFL West final against the B.C. Lions in Vancouver, Ray now knows he has at least a couple of dangerous targets he can depend on.
“That one catch was big,” said Ray. “It was just a two-yard pass. He made a guy miss and it (56-yarder) put us in scoring range.
“This year, it’s been a different story. We have a solid group and we don’t have to rely on one guy. There’s a lot of different guys capable of making play for us.”