Ricky Ray wants redemption.
The Edmonton quarterback will have a chance to get it next Sunday when the Eskimos make a return trip to Calgary to play the Stampeders in the CFL's Western semifinal.
"We just need to focus a little bit harder knowing we've got to come back here and play this team again and find a way to make some better plays," Ray said after throwing three interceptions in a 43-23 loss to Calgary at McMahon Stadium on Sunday.
The Esks could have earned a bye straight into the Western final with a win. Instead, Calgary will host Edmonton next Sunday with the winner earning the right to travel to Vancouver to face the B.C. Lions Nov. 20 in the Western final.
"We had something to play for and now we have to come back here," said Ray, who failed to throw a touchdown pass for the fifth straight game. "We've got to be able to break out and make some big plays.
"We're just unable to do that right now."
It took until the last game of the regular season to decide the Eskimos' fate. And a loss to the Stamps wasn't exactly what coach Danny Maciocia had in mind.
"We did not cash in on the opportunity given us and now we have to take our act back on the road," said Maciocia.
Calgary and Edmonton finished with identical 11-7 records but finished third in the West because of the Stamps' 2-1 head-to-head record.
After the game, Maciocia said Ray shouldn't shoulder the loss himself, noting that things could have been different if receiver Jason Tucker had hauled in an almost sure touchdown pass late in the third quarter.
"If Tucker catches the ball, that's now a question that's going to come up," Maciocia said.
Although they would have liked to earn a week off to watch the Stamps and Lions beat each other up, Maciocia said the Eskimos will now have to forget about their missed opportunity and focus on the future.
"We cannot over-react at this time of the year," he said. "We have to regroup and come back here."
Eskimo defensive lineman Joe Montford said the Stamps shouldn't count on scoring as many points against the Edmonton defence again next weekend.
"We made some mistakes and they cost us," said Montford, who vowed to put more pressure on Calgary quarterback Henry Burris next week. "We have to get more pass pressure."
Eskimo linebacker A.J. Gass echoed Montford's sentiments.
"We have to make adjustments," noted Gass. "I can play better and we as a group have to play better."