Eskimos' Jyles answers critics

Edmonton Eskimos' Cary Koch makes a reception from Steven Jyles for a touchdown against...

Edmonton Eskimos' Cary Koch makes a reception from Steven Jyles for a touchdown against Saskatchewan Roughriders' Eddie Russ during the Esks 28-20 win on Friday. (Reuters)

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:59 PM ET

EDMONTON - He's become so used to answering questions about what he could have done better that Steven Jyles was caught a little off-guard when asked about his big play from Friday night.

You know, 'that play?'

The one that looked more than faintly reminiscent of touchdown passes with just enough Ôtouch' that Edmonton Eskimos fans have been accustomed to seeing over the past decade? The one that dropped just over the head of Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive halfback Eddie Russ only to land right in the basket of slotback Cary Koch down the sideline and be taken in-stride for a 30-yard touchdown and a 10-3 lead?

The one they made look so easy? Like it had been happening all year long?

So Jyles can be forgiven if, for once, he didn't have to face a post-game media scrum asking him questions that always seem to boil down to: ÔWhy aren't you Ricky Ray?'

"I come out with a big effort every ball game, it just didn't (always) go my way," said Jyles, who improved his career record to 9-16 with the victory Friday.

It was the exact sort of retribution game Jyles needed to come up with after striking a strong performance in Winnipeg by fumbling the win away in the dying seconds his last time out.

"Like I told the guys after we played the Winnipeg game, ÔWe're there,' " said Jyles."This week, I was looking forward through the bye week for this ball game here."

That's because, despite the end result in Winnipeg, Jyles said the offence turned a corner when it came to understanding his receivers' timing and speed, which led to a downfield confidence that hadn't been present in the prior five games.

And it showed on the stats sheet, where Jyles had a passer-efficiency rating in the 130s and was given the game ball by head coach Kavis Reed in the locker-room following Friday's 28-20 win.

"Steven was good this entire game," Reed said of his quarterback's 18-of-23 accuracy for 282 yards and a touchdown as the Eskimos won the turnover battle 3-0. "He managed the football, there were no turnovers, he managed the clock.

"I think this was arguably his best game to date."

And it was enough to overcome a 400-yard performance by his counterpart Darian Durant, though Jyles's defence played a big role in that with a pair of interceptions and a fumble return for a touchdown.

"We have a great defence and I believe in those guys," Jyles said. "Offensively, I struggle to put up a touchdown a quarter. That's one thing I'm disappointed in, we didn't put up 28 points ourselves.

"But our defence, they have our back. Those guys play hard and I'm happy they're on my team."

PICK IT UP? Leading CFL tackler J.C. Sherritt showed he wasn't just a one-trick pony on Friday, earning his first professional interception to shut down a potential game-tying drive late in the game.

"It feels good," said Sherritt, who wasn't happy with his overall performance, despite having a game-high seven tackles. "To be honest with you, I did not play well that whole game so it was nice to get a win and a pick.

"Hopefully (defensive co-ordinator Mark) Nelson won't be too mad after he watches that film, because it's not going to look great."

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

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