EDMONTON — Get ready for the resistable force slamming into the movable object.
The last-place Toronto Argonauts, and their league-worst offence, have a chance to deliver a hammer-blow to the playoff hopes of the cellar-dwelling Edmonton Eskimos — and their league-worst pass defence — when the teams clash today at Commonwealth Stadium (7 p.m., TSN).
“We’ve run out of time. We’ve used up more mulligans than we were entitled to,” Eskimo head coach Richie Hall said Thursday.
“Our window (of opportunity) is like this,” he said, holding his palms about a hand-width apart.
The 3-13 Argos have already been eliminated from the post-season and are 0-7 against West Division opponents.
The 7-9 Eskimos, sitting last in the West, are in a dogfight with the 8-8 B.C. Lions. They’re also fighting with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers to grab the crossover playoff spot.
Edmonton beat Toronto 22-19 two weeks ago, but quarterback Ricky Ray said he expects to see more risk-taking from the Boatmen’s defence in the rematch.
“We’ve got to expect they’re going to bring it, and we have to go out and do the same,” said Ray, the league’s top-rated passer with 20 TD passes against 11 interceptions. “They didn’t show very much (blitz) against us the first time we played. They pretty much said, ‘We’re going to drop off and play zone and make it tough on you guys.’
“Their one adjustment will be to come after us a little bit more.”
The Argos have struggled to bring it against anyone in 2009. They’re on a six-game losing streak and their offence has been a woebegone tale of six months in a leaky boat.
Toronto is dead last in points scored (18.8 a game), in touchdowns (24), and passing TDs (13). Quarterback Kerry Joseph is third-last in passing ratings (10 TDs against 15 interceptions).
They are the most penalized team in the CFL (1,649 yards) and, adding fuel to the fire, head coach Bart Andrus was fined this week for criticizing the competence of the officials.
The Eskimos, after a strong start, have faded badly down the stretch and may miss the playoffs for the third time in four seasons.
The defence is allowing almost 30 points a game, worst in the CFL. They’ve allowed 25 passing TDs and 44 total TDs to go with just 30 quarterback sacks — all worst or tied for the worst in the league.
Edmonton was 5-4 before it ditched offensive co-ordinator Rick Worman at mid-season and hired Kevin Strasser, the theory being a vanilla offence needed some razzle dazzle.
But they are 2-5 with Strasser. First down and yardage totals are down and Ray, wearing a wristband to keep on top of the new plays, has been out of sync with his receivers.
Eskimo linebacker Maurice Lloyd said the Argos will fight hard because misery loves company.
“I think Toronto would be much happier with us going home with them, so I think this is the biggest game we may face.”