The Edmonton Elks entered week 3 in the hopes of turning around an 0-2 start for the 2022 season in which they would play their Provincial rivals the Calgary Stampeders on the road at McMahon Stadium last night.
Edmonton did put up a fight. However, the experience of the Calgary squad showed in the 2nd half in the form of another comeback victory over the Edmonton Elks as Calgary has conducted in every game this season thus far.
On the opening Calgary offensive drive, Edmonton looked pretty good on the defensive side of the ball in which they forced Calgary to a punt.
On Edmonton’s 1st offensive possession, they opened the game with a TD on a short-yardage run by QB Kai Locksley who was actually placed in as SB on the depth chart for this game. Edmonton then attempted a 2-point conversion which was unsuccessful in which QB 2 on the depth chart Tre Ford, came into a set package. Surprisingly enough, Edmonton was still up 6-0 in the game.
As the game continued, Edmonton looked pretty good in executing plays on the defensive side of the ball. It appeared that they were putting up a good fight against Calgary Stampeders. The Edmonton defense forced Calgary for a 2 and out on their 2nd offensive possession. Unfortunately for the Edmonton offense, they were starting to show inconsistencies again in being unable to manage longer offensive drives. There was a spark on the defense at the 5:36 mark of the quarter. Calgary WR Malik Henry fumbled the ball on a Calgary momentum drive which was recovered by DL Thomas Costigan. Unfortunately, the Edmonton offense became stagnant and came up with no points on this drive in which the 1st Quarter ended with an Edmonton 6-0 lead.
For the Edmonton offense, it appeared that they were unable to establish a running game in which the offensive line had challenges against the Calgary front 7 in opening any running lanes for James Wilder Jr. However, Nick Arbuckle was more effective now in the passing game at a more consistent pace. The defense looked more improved in stopping the run against Calgary at key moments in the 2nd Quarter in which they Ka’Deem Carey was kept more in check rather than in the 1st Quater. At the 1:59 mark left in the half; Nick Arbuckle connected with a 33-yard pass to Emmanuel Arceneaux for a key touchdown. However, with the experience of Bo Levi Mitchell, Calgary would counter on a 6-play, 81-yard drive that was capped off with a Ka’Deem Carey 3-yard run. The only prior scoring for Calgary in the 2nd Quarter was contributed by PK Rene Paredes on a 46-yard field goal. The half would end with a 13-10 Edmonton lead.
The passing game would continue for Edmonton to open the half with some pretty good movement by the offense. Nick Arbuckle would find some groove in connecting with James Wilder Jr, Kenny Lawler, and Kai Locksley marching down to the Calgary 33-yard line. Calgary would then counter with veteran LB Shawn Lemon in coming up with a knocked-down pass, and followed up by an 8-yard sack on the next play. Edmonton would punt in which they would score a rouge. With the next Calgary possession, Edmonton had some pretty good flashes in containing the Calgary running game again. Rene Paredes would then strike with a 28-yard field goal. Edmonton would then counter with their next possession with a 46-yard field goal by Sergio Castillo. The turning point in the game would come at the 1:01 mark left in the 3rd Quarter. Nick Arbuckle would throw an interception to LB Cameron Judge. Cameron Judge would then return the ball 17 yards to the Edmonton 45-yard line. On the ensuing offensive play, Bo Levi Mitchell instantly struck on a glorious opportunity to begin the comeback by connecting with a 28-yard pass to Malik Henry. The 3rd Quarter would end with a Calgary 20-17 lead in orchestrating a possible comeback.
In the 2022 CFL Season thus far, TSN announced that Calgary had outscored opponents in the 4th Quarter by a score of 30-9. And the trend would continue. Calgary closed out the game as good teams do with effective clock management led by Bo Levi Mitchell, along with wearing down the Edmonton defense with both the passing and running game. Both Edmonton and Calgary would exchange field goals by both Sergio Castillo and Rene Paredes respectively. Calgary would cap off the game with another TD by 3rd string QB Tommy Stevens with 2:01 left in the game. Now being down by 10 points, Sergio Castillo would strike with a 38-yard field goal with 00:33 left in the game. Unfortunately for Edmonton, there were unable to capitalize on the onside kick in which Calgary ran the ball for a short moment to kill off the clock, and ended it in a victory formation snap to close out the game. Calgary would complete a 30-23 comeback victory over Edmonton.
Overall Thoughts on Edmonton For Week 3
Although it was another defeat for Edmonton in the 2022 season, and starting off with an 0-3 record; there are still positives with the progress with Edmonton thus far. The passing game was expanded by getting more players involved throughout the duration of the game. Emmanuel Arceneaux led the way with 7 receptions, 100 yards receiving, and the lone touchdown in the passing game. Derel Walker and James Wilder Jr were more involved in the passing game at key moments in extending drives. However, the running game appears to be non-existent again in which the offensive line was unable to open any real running lanes against a revved-up Calgary defensive line. Edmonton was only able to muster a total of 64 rushing yards of which 45 of those yards were contributed by James Wilder Jr.
On the defense, there were flashes of really good things in which they were able to stall a few Calgary drives and force them to punt on a few occasions. This was prevalent in the short to mid-passing defense in which they had stalled the Calgary offense. The cornerstone of the Edmonton defense was none other than Middle Linebacker Deon Lacey who was a key figure in making key stuffs at the line of scrimmage, along with dropping back into coverage and stalling short to mid-range passes on Calgary drives. He finished the night with 10 defensive tackles and a lone tackle on Special Teams. The 2 things that stood out against the Edmonton defense were when the Edmonton defense was exposed on too many occasions. This was mainly in the mid-3rdrd Quarter and onward when Calgary began to be more effective in their offensive production. Edmonton was lacking the deep ball coverage in which they allowed Bo Levi Michell to complete key long targets mainly by Malik Henry and Reggie Begelton. Malik Henry completed a day with 6 receptions, 173 receiving yards, and a touchdown. The other was being more effective in run defense which the Edmonton defense is currently last in run defense this year, along with overall defense. Although it was better with only allowing a total of 116 yards, it was the fact that they were not able to stop the run-on key 2nd down drives more often that made Calgary eliminate more clock time towards Edmonton.
Overall, with all things considered, it was another positive baby step for the Edmonton Elks vs. the Calgary Stampeders. They did put up a fight in which they hung in there with a more experienced and more overall polished Calgary team. It clearly showed that the experience factor was on Calgary’s side which a lot of Edmonton players will take as a positive.
Next up for Edmonton will be a tough road game in the Hammer vs the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday, July 1st, 2022.
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