SportsRedblacks Throttled by BC Pass Rush, Drop Second Straight Game

Redblacks Throttled by BC Pass Rush, Drop Second Straight Game

Redblacks Throttled by BC Pass Rush, Drop Second Straight Game

Photo courtesy of The Canadian Press


The Redblacks’ offense was beaten down in their 26-14 loss to the Lions Friday night in BC. It is the first time that Ottawa has lost consecutive games this season.

For the second straight week, the Redblacks’ offense has looked out of sorts for the entirety of the first half. Harris was off the mark on numerous throws, throwing two interceptions and having at least two other potential interceptions dropped by BC defensive backs. Though poor decision-making and even worse execution from Harris were factors, the Lions’ pass rush dirtied up the Ottawa passing pocket all night long.

Following a disastrous first half, Harris was pulled for the first two series of the third quarter. Backup Dominique Davis was no more effective in his limited appearance, even throwing the Redblacks’ third interception of the night. Harris was plugged back in and led a William Powell-fueled scoring drive that resulted in a Brad Sinopoli touchdown grab in the back of the endzone. But by then, the damage of a dreadfully slow start was done.

“We’re not playing our best football right now. We need to make sure we do the basic stuff well and take care of the football. Can’t turn it over,” said Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell after the game. “Too many good coaches and players to keep playing like this.”

The teams then traded field goals, including two from Ottawa’s Lewis Ward that extended his streak to 29 straight, the fourth longest in CFL history. The Lions iced the game in the fourth with a Jeremiah Johnson touchdown run.

Harris finished 21/36 for 216 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He has roughly a 55% completion percentage over the last two games, both losses. Known for his sometimes inconsistent tendencies, Harris’ doubters will certainly come out of the woodwork over the next week.

The Lions’ offense was far from dominant on Friday night, but was able to take advantage in the game’s key moments. BC opened the scoring after blocking Richie Leone’s punt in the first quarter. Travis Lulay lobbed the ball right into Ricky Collins’ lap to put the Lions up seven early. The Lions were also able to take advantage of Davis’ second-half interception with an ensuing touchdown catch by Bryan Burnham.

Lulay was forced to leave the game after a high hit from a Redblacks defender late in the first half. He entered the concussion protocol and was replaced by a serviceable Jonathan Jennings. Lulay finished 9/15 with 108 yards and a touchdown, while Jennings threw 10/12 for 68 yards and the touchdown to Burnham. The Lions’ quarterbacks were not required to be exceptional, that was the job of the defense.

The BC defense finished with three interceptions and six sacks, three of which came from defensive end Odell Willis alone. Lions’ defensive back Winston Rose was responsible for Harris’ first interception. Rose now has the sole lead for the CFL’s most interceptions with four. While winless on the road this season, the Lions are now 4-1 at home.

The Redblacks were sitting pretty heading into their bye week in late August, but Ottawa’s back-to-back losses plus two straight wins for Hamilton has closed the gap between the East’s top teams.

The 6-5 Redblacks travel to Saskatchewan next week for a Saturday night matchup with the Roughriders.

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