EDMONTON - The negative angle, of course, is what took so long.
What took so long to make the decision to put the ball in the hands of your top two play makers and if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
But the positive angle trumps all over.
“The only thing that matters is that we got it done tonight,” said head coach Kavis Reed.
On the verge of sewering the season with a loss this night, the Eskimos won a football game they had no choice but to win.
“It’s a big win. A very big win. If we had lost it, we’d have been rolling a bolder up a hill,” said Reed, who took on an additional roll as offensive co-ordinator and wouldn’t consider going away from Fred Stamps when he had board hands on the first three passes thrown his way and dropped all three.
And he didn’t stop calling Hugh Charles number despite the fact he had three carries for two yards in the first half.
Stamps ended up with nine catches for 204 yards including a 48-yard touchdown grab.
Charles ran 10 times for 67 and caught another three passes for 37 yards.
And Kerry Joseph, on the day after he turned 39 and for the first time since he was 35 on July 24, 2009, won a football game.
Joseph was 24 for 39 for 359 yards passing for three touchdown against two interceptions and three knock downs. He ran another four times for 35 yards.
But those aren’t the stats that mattered last night at Commonwealth Stadium as the Eskimos beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 35-20.
The win put the Eskimos two points ahead of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a potential crossover playoff position.
That’s the stat.
If the Eskimos match the Tiger-Cats win for win and loss for loss the rest of the season, it will put the Eskimos in the Eastern Conference semifinal, quite possibly against Ricky Ray and the Toronto Argos in the host city of the 100th Grey Cup game.
But the Eskimos have the tougher schedule and ending the season in a tie in the standings with Hamilton would give the spot to the Tiger-Cats.
The Eskimos have Saskatchewan and Calgary at home and B.C. and Montreal on the road.
Hamilton has B.C. and Winnipeg at home and Toronto and Calgary on the road.
There’s also now hope through the Western window.
The win moves the Eskimos within two points of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the final playoff position. A Saskatchewan loss Monday in Toronto and an Eskimos win back here Saturday over the Riders and the two teams would be tied. And the Eskimos would win the season series to settle a tie in the standings at the end of the season.
It was the 10th win over the Tiger-Cats in the last 11 games at Commonwealth Stadium and none of the others had the hair on it as this one did.
In the end Reed, while he didn’t go to the Sally Rand and the naked bootleg and relatives of Sally like he suggested he would, did do the other things that he promised when he became the offensive co-ordinator in addition to his other duties.
“It was simple,” he said.
“Put the ball in the hands of your play makers.”
Reed said it was the usual thing from the defence which told the team they’d hold Henry Burris and the No. 1 offence to 20 points if they could find the rest.
“We committed a lot to the running game and when we we having trouble getting the ball to Fred we kept making adjustments until we got off the big play to him.
“And Kerry .... Kerry just battled. That’s Kerry Joseph. His heart is as big as this province.
“All these guys. Through the losing streak they just came to work every single day.”
The win ended a five-game losing streak.
Hamilton and Saskatchewan also had five game losing streaks this season.
Only four times in Eskimo history dating back to 1949 has the team ever lost more than five games in a row.