EDMONTON — The Edmonton Eskimos aren’t wasting time lamenting what could have been when they last faced the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but there’s little doubt in their minds going into a rematch at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday they let one get away.
While the Eskimos carried the play at Ivor Wynne Stadium on Aug. 8, turnovers and the inability to finish drives cost them as they frittered away a 12-0 lead en route to a 28-21 loss.
There are no points in the standings for could have or should have.
“Did we let one get away? They made the plays,” said Edmonton head coach Richie Hall. “Hamilton made plays.
“When you go through a whole season, sometimes you win some you shouldn’t have won and sometimes you lose some you shouldn’t have lost. We felt we played pretty well.”
Coming off a bye-week after a 38-35 win over the Calgary Stampeders, the rallying cry for the Eskimos is to finish what they started when the Ticats come calling.
The first time around, the Eskimos marched the ball up and down the field against the Ticats, holding a 422-299 advantage in net yards. They had a big edge in time of possession, 35:17 to 24:43.
But they couldn’t finish in the red zone, and Ricky Ray had two passes picked off — one in the end zone by Markeith Knowlton and another that turned into a 48-yard touchdown by Geoff Tisdale that put the Tiger-Cats up 14-12.
“We don’t call it the red zone,” said offensive co-ordinator Rick Worman. “Red means stop and they did stop us. That’s a credit to Hamilton. They play a bend-don’t-break type of defence.
“They make you concentrate all the way down the field. Our guys did a good job for the most part, but then you have a missed throw here or a missed route assignment there and that kept them in the game.”
The game turned when Ray had a pass picked off by Chris Thompson. When Thompson hit a wave of tacklers, he flipped the ball to Tisdale, who went the distance to put the Tiger-Cats ahead for good.
“Offensively, we’re going into the game saying we left some (points) out there,” Ray said. “We’ve got to play better and help our defence out a little bit more.
“You do feel like it got away, but it’s such a fine line between winning and losing. You’re going to play some close games where you win them and some where you lose. Should have, could have, would have, that’s the way games are sometimes.”