EDMONTON - Seems not that long ago that the Eskimos and Lions players were in a verbal battle about which team had the best defence in the CFL.
Back in Week 4, the Eskimos went into B.C. Place and came out with bragging rights in a 27-14 win and a 3-1 record.
Circumstances have changed since that promising start as the Eskimos slumped to a 2-5 record heading into Friday night’s game at Commonwealth.
Meanwhile, the Lions continued to roar with their CFL-best defence that gave up 204 points, just over 18 points per game.
Not quite as good as the Eskimos were in their first four games, but that’s now a distant memory — unless you count the Eskimos league-leading seven defensive TDs.
Yet, the unit showed signs of returning to its early-season form with the return of defensive lineman Marcus Howard and defensive back Weldon Brown off the injured list.
At the very least, keeping the first-place Lions out of the end zone in the first half must be considered a step in the right direction, especially since the team gave up 51 points in their last outing.
WANNA KNOW A SECRET?
More honours continue to come in the direction of our own Terry Jones.
The big guy disappeared out the media centre just before game time only to surface on field level in the south-east corner of Commonwealth.
TJ had been tabbed to crank up the 13th man flag, emblematic of the enthusiastic Eskimos fan.
What surprised some of the press box wags was how Jones was able to keep his cameo appearance a secret.
Despite their defensive woes, the Eskimos have had a pretty good running battle with B.C. to see which team has the most ferocious sack attack.
Edmonton held a 26-25 edge over heading into the tilt, but it took little time for the Leos to roar ahead.
Adam Bighill tied it up in the second quarter and added another in the fourth. Khalif Mitchell put the Lions ahead midway through the third quarter. Keron Williams added his league-leading eighth late in the third.
Notch up a win for the Lions on the sack count.
TWISTIN’ THE NIGHT AWAY
Seemed to be something missing at Commonwealth.
There was a distinct absence of noise from the Khalif Mitchell Fan Club.
AIN’T THAT SPECIAL
After a titanic defensive struggle in the first quarter, something had to give.
Eskimos punt returner Joe Burnett got the game going with a 43-yard punt return that gave the Eskimos good enough field position to give Steven Jyles a chance to toss his sixth TD pass of the year, to fellow Louisianan Cary Koch.
There were no half-time breathers for the Eskimos kickers.
Both Grant Shaw and Brody McKnight missed the locker-room speech by Kavis Reed.
In an unusual move, Shaw and McKnight stayed on the field for the entire half-time break.
Good job the Eskimos promotions department kept the field clear and decided Dog Racing Night could be held over for another game.
SPREADIN’ THE BALL
If the plan for the Eskimos passing game was to share the wealth, it worked in the early going.
Jyles hit seven different receivers in the first half.
Lulay completed 12 passes to four receivers, half of them to running back Andrew Harris.
Meanwhile, it proved to be a slow start for the receiving stars on both teams.
Edmonton’s Fred Stamps and B.C.’s Geroy Simon had only one catch each in the first 30 minutes.