Early on in Monday's 37-34 loss to the Stamps at McMahon Stadium, the Eskimos did nothing to live up to those accolades. Then Edmonton's offence woke up in the fourth quarter as Mike Reilly tossed four straight touchdown passes to Cary Koch, John White, Matt Carter and Fred Stamps to pull the Eskimos within a field goal.
The Esks have now outscored their opponents 105-56 in the fourth quarter this season, but it hasn't translated to any success in the won-loss column for the 1-8 squad.
"I doubt there's many teams that score many points than us in the fourth quarter, but if we scored more of those in the first quarter, we wouldn't have to wait until the end of the game," said Reilly, who completed 16-of-35 passes for 246 yards to go with four TDs and two interceptions. "It would be nice to go into the end of the game with a lead instead of playing from behind."
Despite the late surge, Reilly was extremely disappointed in his play and vowed to be better when the same two teams meet again on Friday night at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
"It's time to man up and realize that was terrible football early in the game and that's not what we're about," Reilly said. "That's not something for any of us to be proud of and it's not the type of football that we play."
The Esks fell behind 17-0 after one quarter until they showed some life in the second, mainly thanks to a 78-yard punt return by Joe Burnett to get them into scoring territory.
"The guys blocked real well for me," Burnett said. "I saw a crease and I hit it. We needed some type of momentum swing. Our special teams did it for us. It was big for us."
That set up a two-yard touchdown run by back-up quarterback Kerry Joseph.
The Stamps then built up a 37-7 lead before the Eskimos came to life in the fourth quarter.
"It's hard to digest right now all the things that happened, being down by 30 points with I believe nine minutes left and having the opportunity to put ourselves in position for at least a tie or a win," said Edmonton coach Kavis Reed. "Sooner or later the football gods are going to have to smile on us and give us a couple breaks."
The Eskimos have now lost seven games in a row, but the cumulative deficit over the past five games has been just 15 points.
"This football team, it seems, has to be perfect to win a football game," Reed said. "We're not getting the breaks, we're not creating some of the breaks. We created a lot late in the fourth quarter, but early on we're just digging ourselves holes."
When asked if he's ever been involved in a game where his team rallies with four touchdowns late in a game only to lose, Burnett replied: "No I haven't. That's Labour Day for you."
Burnett added that the Eskimos will have to bounce back with a better team effort if they hope to end their losing streak against the Stamps on Friday.
"Calgary's a great team," Burnett said. "As we watch film, we've got to fix a lot of mistakes that we made out on the field just to keep them from scoring and getting all those points they got early on in the game."