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Title - Frederico Sanmartin
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Federico Sanmartin is the Edmonton Eskimos' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Federico was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Eskimos blog - Green and Gold Yardstick. He is an avid follower of both the CFL and his hometown Eskimos. Having followed the game closely for over two decades, you can contact him at fsanmartin@ourhometown.ca as he prepares to follow the Esks en route to the centennial Grey Cup match in Toronto.
CFL - Esks’ bubble bursts; lose tight one to Bombers
Federico Sanmartin
OurHometown.ca

CFL - Esks’ bubble bursts; lose tight one to Bombers
The stage was set and the prize there for the taking: a big victory over the Bombers courtesy of a last minute drive. Indeed it would have been a Ricky Ray special. Instead what resulted was a Steven Jyles blunder and a tough loss for the visiting Eskimos.
PHOTO CREDIT - EdmontonEskimos.com

Edmonton - Jul. 27, 2012 - The stage was set and the prize there for the taking: a big victory over the Bombers courtesy of a last minute drive. Indeed it would have been a Ricky Ray special. Instead what resulted was a Steven Jyles blunder and a tough loss for the visiting Eskimos.

In the final minute, with the team trailing by a single point 23-22, Steven Jyles took the reins and completed a precious third down conversion to Nate Coehoorn and a second first down completion courtesy of Cary Koch. The Esks were in Grant Shaw FG range. On the following play, in his attempt to secure a better range for his kicker, Jyles took off with the ball only to have it punched out by a Winnipeg defender prior to him taking to the ground. Jovon Johnson recovered and secured the first win of the season for the hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

In front of a boisterous home opening crowd at Canad-Inns Stadium, Jyles showed exactly why it may have been a mistake to trade Ray. The blunder occurred on an evening when the Edmonton QB showed signs of maturity throwing for a season high 244 yards and two touchdowns, including a 47-yard bomb to WR Fred Stamps who had been called out by former Bomber great Milt Stegall earlier in the week.

The defence, for the most part, did its part with two interceptions and kept the Bombers offence at bay. However, there was still much to be desired as at the end of the first half, Bombers’ QB Alex Brink needed only two plays in the final 16 seconds to secure a 40-yard Chris Matthews touchdown. The scoring play cut the Esks’ halftime lead to 14-11. The Green and Gold would seize momentum back on their first drive of the second half traveling 75 yards on five plays culminating in the Stamps touchdown. The ten point lead had been regained and all seemed well.

The turning point of the game came when the Bombers had their punt blocked late in the third quarter only to get the ball right back after it touched an Eskimo. Two plays later the Bombers Chad Simpson ran it into the end zone trimming the Esks’ lead back to three. From there the momentum seemed to be with the Bombers. The Eskimo defence struggled with the poise of QB Alex Brink, who passed for 294 yards and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, the Esks’ offensive line struggled against a relentless Bomber pass rush and Jyles failed to make any significant plays the entire second half (following the Stamps touchdown) until the final minute, when it was too late. Three consecutive two and outs forced punter Burke Dales to concede a safety. Eventually the Bombers took the lead for good on a 26-yard Justin Palardy FG with 6:04 left in the game.

Indeed it will be a difficult week for both Jyles and Esks GM Eric Tillman as again the focus will shift on the inadequacies at quarterback. In a year which has seen many tight games so far in 2012, one play stands as the difference between the Green and Gold and first place with a 4-1 record (rather than 3-2 which is where the team currently sits). Fans have been waiting for that pivotal mistake that Jyles would make and it has occurred. It will be difficult to continue playing absolute mistake free football and try and win, which is what is being asked of the defence and special teams. The offence has been a ticking time bomb. The question is whether that bomb has officially gone off.


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