Ottawa Redblacks Crash Stampeders Grey Cup Party, Win Season Opener in Calgary
Photo credit: Larry MacDougal (CFL)
The Calgary Stampeders celebrated their 2018 Grey Cup Championship before their season opener Saturday night. Then the Redblacks spoiled the party with a come from behind effort in the final minutes to win – for the first time ever – at McMahon Stadium.
Ottawa escaped with a 32-28 win. Even with a mixed performance, Dominique Davis led the Redblacks to victory in his first game as the bonafide number one quarterback.
Davis scampered to the endzone pylon for the game-winning touchdown with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter, capping off a 14-0 Ottawa run to closeout the game. Despite the final outcome, it was a sloppy game for the offence and Davis in particular.
He threw four interceptions, including three to Stamps DB Tre Roberson and a third-quarter pick six to Brandon Smith. Three of his four picks led directly to Calgary touchdowns.
“For me, definitely not the way I want to play but I just kept plugging away. My teammates had my back,” said Davis.
The interceptions were glaring but Davis did complete 65.9% of his passes and ran for three touchdowns. He also helped lead the offence to a total of 401 yards, more than they had against Calgary in any of their three meetings last season.
“It’s easy to hang your head when a play goes against us but they hung in there and they kept fighting and found a way to get it done,” said Redblacks Head Coach Rick Campbell.
Along with Davis, Mossis Madu is another player who has been thrust into a starting position this season. The 31-year-old running back ran for 112 yards in the season opener, averaging nearly five yards per rush. The all-Canadian offensive line in front of Davis and Madu worked wonders against a Calgary front that has been one to fear in many previous seasons.
The Stampeders lost significant pieces from last year’s number one-ranked defence and looked uncharacteristically out of sorts at times against Ottawa. Even with the errant Davis throws, the Calgary defence often had trouble getting off the field.
The Calgary offence too looked nothing like the Grey Cup-winning unit from last season. The Redblacks defence made quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, last year’s Most Outstanding Player, look average and made the Stamps ground game completely ineffective. The defence shut out Calgary entirely in the second half.
Apart from a 50-yard touchdown reception by Juwan Brescacin in the first half, Calgary could not move the ball without a short field courtesy of a defensive takeaway (i.e. the four interceptions). The Redblacks racked up three sacks, a couple fumble recoveries and a game-sealing Jonathon Rose interception in the end zone to clinch the victory.
The Stampeders let Ottawa hang around in the game and the Redblacks made them pay for it down the stretch. This is the first time the Redblacks have beaten the Stampeders since the 2016 Grey Cup.
- Calgary had previously won eight straight home openers
- Brad Sinopoli was held without a catch in the first half but caught seven in the second half for 75 yards
- Lewis Ward kicked a perfect 3/3, improving his regular season perfect streak record to 50 straight
- Linebacker De’Andre Montgomery recovered a fumble in his first game as a Redblack
Next up for the Redblacks: their home opener. Ottawa will look to start the season 2-0 when they host the Saskatchewan Roughriders this Thursday night at TD Place.