It was being called the Ricky Ray Game, but it ended up being just as much about the guys he was traded for.
Ray made his return to Edmonton on Saturday after his off-season trade to the Toronto Argonauts, but couldn’t make it a triumphant one as the Eskimos came away with a narrow 19-15 victory.
Despite a shaky pre-season performance, it was the quarterback who went the other way in the deal that ended up smiling as Steven Jyles went the distance to help his team collect the win in the CFL season-opener for both squads.
“This was a great win for the Eskimos,” said Jyles. “We know we can win ball games as a team. The defence played great and we moved the ball when we needed to offensively.”
Jyles’s ability to be a full-time starter has been questioned, and he hopes that he has gone at least partway to answering those queries in his season debut with the Eskimos.
“I’m always harder on myself that anyone else can be and I know I have a lot of improvements to make,” he said. “I missed a few throws that I should have hit but we’ll work on that. I felt like we left four touchdowns on the field, but we can work on that and fix that.
“I think we’re going to be OK. This is my first full game with the guys. We just have to get on the same page.
The numbers didn’t look too bad for Jyles overall, as he went 21 for 36 passing for 236 yards.
Jyles wasn’t the only Eskimos player who moved to Edmonton in the Ray trade to have an impact in the game. Kicker Grant Shaw, who wasn’t sure he would be playing when Edmonton signed kicker Swayze Waters earlier in the week, was good on four field goal attempts in the contest.
“It felt good to make the kicks, that’s my job,” Shaw said. “They are always going to be bringing competition in and it just pushed me harder. I prepared like I would be doing the job all week and when I got the nod I was ready to go. I hope we can build on this going forward.”
Shaw had a fifth field goal chance go awry when the snap was bobbled by holder and backup QB Matt Nichols.
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