Sorry setback dooms 'Gades

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:40 PM ET

HAMILTON -- The Renegades' playoff chances are now as thin as the smoke from the steel factories visible from the stands at Ivor Wynne Stadium last night.

It wasn't supposed to be like this, was it? The Renegades, a team supposedly fighting for its playoff life, losing 40-32 to a 4-12 club holding auditions for next season.

They were beaten by a rookie quarterback making his first start in the CFL and a running back just three games into his pro career.

Where was the fire?

Where was the execution?

"I didn't see this coming," said Renegades coach Joe Paopao. "It's disheartening, given the things at stake. The score was close, but the game wasn't.

"Now we have to depend on other people to give us help and you hate doing that."

The disappointing Renegades fell to 6-10 with the loss to the last-place Tiger-Cats, beaten by rookie quarterback Kevin Eakin, a free agent signed just over a month ago.

NEED HUGE HELP

To make the playoffs now, the Renegades must beat the Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts in their last two games and hope the loser of the Calgary Stampeders-Saskatchewan Roughriders game tomorrow loses their remaining game(s). A tie between the two tomorrow eliminates the Renegades from the playoffs.

"We're better than that," said Ottawa receiver Markus Howell, who pulled in touchdown receptions of 34 and 15 yards. "I'm not taking anything away from Hamilton. They made a lot of adjustments from the last time we played them. But we're better than that. We left a lot of points out there.

"We're the ones playing for something. We should be the ones with the fire under us, but they were the ones who made the big plays, one more big play than us."

While Renegades quarterback Kerry Joseph had another uneven performance (22-for-36 for 336 yards, two interceptions and three touchdowns), Eakin shredded the Renegades defence in the second half for 78- and 80-yard touchdown passes to running back Jesse Lumsden and ex-Renegade D.J. Flick, respectively.

Joseph's second interception, with just 27 seconds left in the first half, was a killer. It was returned 42 yards for a touchdown by Hamilton defensive back Jason Goss to give the Ticats a 17-14 lead at the half.

"It hurts. This is a tough loss," said Joseph.

"We didn't take advantage of our opportunities and when they had to make a play, they made theirs."

Joseph has now thrown 22 picks on the season with two games left to go. The Ottawa record is 30 interceptions thrown by Damon Allen in the 1991 season.

The Renegades never did get rolling last night, surrendering big plays on defence and unable to find any consistency on defence.

Trailing 33-17 late in the game, they rallied last night, but came up short. Joseph hit Howell for a 15-yard touchdown reception and a two-point conversion on a pass to Yo Murphy pulled the Renegades to within eight points.

But faced with a third-and-four from the Hamilton 42 yard line with just over a minute left, Joseph fumbled when he was sacked and Hamilton's Tim Cheatwood returned it 59 yards to make it 40-25.

Howell caught a five-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds left in the game.

chris.stevenson@ott.sunpub.com 


Videos

Photos