A pulled groin had Matt Kellett pulling up lame at the starting gate last night.
That left punter Pat Fleming to take the reins and make his pro place-kicking debut in a Fleming vs. Fleming (Esks' Sean) ball-booting matchup at Frank Clair Stadium.
While it's true special teams did cost the Renegades any hope of extending their home winning streak to three games, it was more their inability to contain Edmonton returner Tony Tompkins than the shortcomings of Pat Fleming, who missed field-goal trys of 34 and 36 yards while making an 11-yarder.
Kellett, who has battled through early eye problems on his way to a CFL third-best 73.3% (11-of-15) field-goal success rate, tweaked his right groin in practice Wednesday. He tested it in the pre-game warmup but -- after failing to knock a 20-yarder through the poles -- he realized he would be of no help.
"I played with a pull groin before, and I'll do anything to get on the field and help the team, but I thought I would have been more of a hindrance," said Kellett. "Unfortunately, I put Pat and the team in a bad situation."
The short notice meant the Renegades had to play a man short, with 39, and Fleming had less than an hour to mentally prepare for his new responsibilities.
"It would have been better to know before, obviously," said Fleming. "(But) I know I'm better than that. I just didn't get it done."
Ottawa might have to get used to life without Kellett for a bit. Coach/GM Joe Paopao said he might be forced to bring in another kicker (Bjorn Nittmo's name will at least be mentioned during in-house discussions).
"Hopefully, the long week will come in handy," said Kellett, whose team travels to Saskatchewan for a meeting with the Roughriders next Friday. "Hopefully, the extra time will allow me to get it right."
And allow the Renegades time to bolster their special-teams coverage.
"That kid's pretty special," Paopao said of Tompkins, who had a 96-yard punt return for a TD and set the Esks up with good field position time and again. "He made people miss."
He also helped the Renegades lose.
Five days after making a spectacular interception to save a touchdown, Korey Banks allowed Edmonton's Jason Tucker to speed past him in the end zone for an uncontested six ... Disagreed with Ottawa's play selection on the opening series. The defence had just stopped the Esks, setting the offence up with the ball on the Renegades 16. The first call was a razzle dazzle, with Kerry Joseph throwing laterally to Jason Armstead, who released a bomb headed Pat Woodcock's way. Incomplete. Next, Joseph goes deep to Yo Murphy, incomplete. One punt later, the Esks have the ball on the Ottawa 43, and if not for the ineptness of Sean Fleming, they would have ended that drive up 3-0 instead of by one ... Frankly, the Renegades went for the bundle too often, when a nickel-and-dime approach with the attack would have probably been more successful ... Doesn't Joseph realize he has other receivers than Woodcock?
According to Cheapseats insider Mr. Sippy Delta, cops who escorted a young woman from the upper deck southside with the instruction to kick her out of the stadium were told to do so by a Renegades employee. The reason? She flashed. If such was indeed the case, Renegades president Lonie Glieberman owes her an apology, season tickets and $1,000. You can't advertise a Mardi Gras Madness encouraging the softer gender to collect beads then throw them off the premises for participating in the true spirit of the contest. That's just wrong. The cops obviously thought so too, for when leading her through the exit signs on the southside, they told her she could go and take a seat in the northside stands.
Frank Clair Stadium faithful could not be fooled -- Eskimos players were indeed diving and faking injury to buy their teammates a breather throughout the night. The Renegades are also guilty of the tactic, as is every other team in the league, but last night Edmonton went overboard. "Until the rule is changed, you going to have to assume the guy is injured," said Paopao ... Former CFL all-star DE Ray Jacobs recorded his first sack as a Renegade.