Not official but ...

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

It's not quite official for the Edmonton Eskimos - but the casket is going into the ground and the shovels are in the dirt pile.

The Green and Gold's 34-year playoff string is hanging by the thinnest of threads after another debacle in this dreadful season.

Facing the Hamilton Tiger-Cats - the previously considered doormats of the CFL - on home turf, the Eskimos laid a giant rotten egg at Commonwealth Stadium by losing 20-18 last night.

DOSE OF IRONY

In one of the biggest doses of irony in Eskimo history, quarterback Jason Maas led the Tabbies on two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to erase a seven-point lead and pound a huge nail in the Green and Gold's coffin.

"I said a long time ago that I play better when I am emotionally attached to something - and I was emotionally attached to this one and it's surroundings," said Maas, who played six years for Edmonton before being traded last winter.

"I was very much looking forward to it and thrilled with the way we played tonight.

"I'm going hunting tomorrow and if I kill an elk - one that I want to kill - this is going to be the best weekend of my life."

Maas threw for nearly 400 yards in his first return to Edmonton and put together a stunning four-play 79-yard scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter that was capped with a 28-yard strike to Kamau Peterson, who easily got behind defensive back Keyuo Craver.

That made it 17-17 and promptly answered an Eskimo 16-play major scoring drive.

Maas then engineered the clinching drive with less than two minutes on the clock that ended with a Jamie Boreham chip shot field goal to seal the win.

"I feel sick to my stomach," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia.

"The fourth quarter rolls around and we are up by seven points and I thought we were in pretty good shape.

"Then they come down and score on us four plays later."

The loss means it's time to nail the Help Wanted sign on the Edmonton Eskimos' dressing room door.

RECORD PLAYOFF STREAK

If the Green and Gold are going to extend their record playoff streak, they're now going to need help from other teams.

With just five games remaining, Edmonton is still four points out the final West Division playoff spot. But if Saskatchewan wins tomorrow against B.C, the gap will grow to six points. Granted, the 4-9 Esks play the Riders next week, but if they mimic last night's dreadful outing it won't matter.

And that isn't counting the fact Edmonton is winless on the road in six tries this year.


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