Disaster strikes!

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:23 AM ET

HAMILTON -- Did the Edmonton Eskimos just flush their season down the toilet?

That answer won't come for a few more weeks, but if the Green and Gold miss the playoffs, they can now point to a disaster in Hamilton as another reason.

Facing a team that hadn't scored a touchdown at home in two months, the Esks surrendered three majors in the first half to put themselves in a 16-point hole.

And when the Edmonton offence finally woke up for a few brief moments late in the fourth quarter and appeared to be heading to another Ricky Ray-led amazing comeback, they managed to cough up the ball for the fourth time.

POUNDING A FIST

The sight of Ray pounding a fist into the ground in utter frustration when Steve Josue stripped him of the pigskin with less than a minute on the clock said it all.

In a game Edmonton was expected to win, they failed or suffered key breakdowns in every facet of the game, losing 27-22.

"I'm 10 years into this league and I have seen quite a few things and this is just hard to explain," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia.

"You go to playing as well as we did last week (against Calgary) to playing the way we did tonight.

"I'm clearly disappointed with the effort.

"It hurts in every sense of the word."

And it could really hurt the Esks' playoff chances. With six games remaining they are four points out of the final playoff spot.

And to some extent, Jason Maas gets credit for that predicament.

While Ray and the entire Eskimo offence was nothing short of awful last night until a brief flicker at the end, Maas picked apart the Edmonton secondary.

Feasting on his old team, his new crew built a 27-11 halftime lead by scoring through the air with a 20-yard pass to D.J. Flick, on the ground with Anthony Davis and with the foot of kicker Jamie Boreham.

Returner DaVon Fowkles also joined the scoring frenzy by adding an 86-yard punt return.

And while the Edmonton defence stopped the bleeding through the second half, the offence didn't find the end zone until late in the fourth quarter on a Ray one-yard run to make it 27-22.

But then he threw an interception on the two-point convert attempt, which came back to haunt the club.

Instead of needing a field goal to tie inside the final minute, Ray was forced to try to score a major, which explains his wild scramble that eventually led to the fumble.

START BELIEVING

"You actually start believing that things are going your way and you are putting a drive together and you think you are going to score the winning touchdown and you come up short," said Maciocia.

Added Ray: "You have got to know that guys are going to be coming from all angles and I need to do a better job of protecting the football."

But the Esks still believe the playoffs are a real possibility.

"We have got six left and we take six we're 10-8," said linebacker A.J. Gass.

"This was a terrible one for us to lose because we were in a perfect position to win.

"It's penalties again, turnovers again. You can write the same story for almost every game.

''But I still believe we can (make the playoffs)."


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