Fake em, surprise em, run em!

 

The Esks have been at or near the bottom of the league in 2010 when it comes to rushing stats despite the heroic efforts of currently injured running back Arkee Whitlock. They just could not run the ball effectively enough to win games without having to sooner or later take to the air. Opposing teams knew this and prepared accordingly, which is why running the ball proved to be so successful for the Green & Gold in a must win situation on Saturday night in Vancouver.

For the season, the Esks rank last in net rushing yards and can boast a rather pedestrian 96.4 yards per game on the ground. Putting up 346 yards on the ground is not something they were supposed to be able to do. If that isn’t the most surprising stat, than this one certainly is; the Esks did it on only 48 carries, giving them an average gain of 7.2 yards per attempt. That’s 1.6 yards per carry better than their season average which means that someone was blowing up some pretty good holes for running backs Daniel Porter and Calvin McCarty to run through. As for Ricky Ray tacking on his 135 yards, that’s simply the Lions not perceiving Ray as a threat to run, and when he did, not making the proper adjustments to limit his gains.

Big Hits

Watching Ray make like Michael Vick was entertaining, but the Esks might need to revisit this strategy if they want to keep number #15 upright and healthy for the remainder of the season. Ray has been hit a lot this season, and when we mean a lot, we mean like more times than a pinata at a kid’s birthday party. Like at said birthday party, the five and six-year olds are not strong enough to inflict much overall damage, but sooner or later, that big kid is going to come along and really paste Ray with a knockout blow. He took some big hits on Saturday, but kept on coming back for more.

Pound the Rock

Earlier in the season, the team struggled to get the ball into the end-zone when faced with opportunities inside of five or six yards from the opposition’s goal line. They tried passing the ball and couldn’t convert. They also tried on a few occasions to run the ball, but fumbled it away on at least one occurrence in the first Saskatchewan game. On Saturday night, the Esks scored on two touchdowns from one yard out by simply pounding it up the middle. Nothing fancy about it. Matthieu Bertrand steamed in from one yard while Ricky put his head down and tunneled in for the game winner. Simple, but effective.

While the Esks may not be able to run the ball like this in the coming weeks, it will at least give opposing defenses something to think about. Having that threat could at least help to keep Ray on his feet just a little bit more than he has been up to this point in the season.

Injuries

Apart from the running game, the secondary story to the game was a couple of significant injuries to the Esks receiving corps as both Kamau Peterson and Kelly Campbell were knocked out of the game. One has to feel for Peterson who looked like he re-injured the Achilles injury that kept him out for most of the season. It’s a good thing that the Esks added Derek Armstrong this past week.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by TurfToe on October 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I eel really bad for KP8… another achilles problem. Could this spell the end?

    Also feel bad for poor JR LaRose. The kid couldn’t buy a break, but he got another one. I think that will be it for him.

    Attrition is starting to take it’s toll on all of the teams. And with the injuries the EE have making the playoffs is still very tenuous.

    Reply

  2. Agree wity your sentiment on Peterson, and on such a dirty cheap shot ! The upside here is BC lost a few good bodies as well, and they now have to clearly beat the Esks in the standings to get in, which makes the hill they have to climb very steep indeed. Even the cross over is now wieghted in our favor, again the Bombers have to beat the Esks in the standings, and they play each other, so match whatever BC does, but for sure win the Bomber game and the Esks are in. As you said the playoff prospects are tenuous, but they sure are a lot better than they were a week ago. Would much rather be sitting where the Esks are, as opposed to where the Lions and Bombers are.

    Reply

  3. In order for the Esks to not make the playoffs, the Lions have to either win or tie one more game than the Esks. If the Esks win one, the Lions will need to win and tie at the very least. Given that the Leos have @ Calgary, vs. Saskatchewan, and @ Hamilton, it seems unlikely that they win more than one of those three.

    In order for Winnipeg to beat out the Esks, they would need at the very minumum for the Esks and Leos to lose all six of their remaining games (unlikely), and get at least a win and tie out their final three due to the fact that the crossover is only in play on total points, not season series or any other factor. They have vs. Toronto, @ Edmonton, vs. Calgary. If the Bombers win against Toronto and the Esks fail to beat the Riders, the game against the Esks could be the deciding game for who gets the last playoff spot in the West.

    Reply

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