• By: OLM Staff

Ottawa Redblacks stall on last drive in close loss to Edmonton

Photo credit: Walter Tychnowicz

The Redblacks played their best game in weeks but still came up short on the road against one of the league’s top teams. 11 yards short to be exact.

The Edmonton Eskimos kept Ottawa out of the endzone with less than a minute remaining to win 16-12.

It was the first game for the Redblacks at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium since last year’s Grey Cup. It is also the first time they have faced the starting quarterback in that game, Trevor Harris, since he left Ottawa for Edmonton in the offseason.

Harris was accurate and effective against his old club, completing over 80% of his passes for 327 yards.

Running back CJ Gable was a problem for the Redblacks defence. He racked up 118 rushing yards and opened the game with a fantastic cutback on this 28-yard touchdown scamper.

He also scored the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Before the Redblacks’ last drive on offence, they only had one first down in the entire second half. But even with that lack of productivity, the Ottawa offence had a chance to win the game in the dying minutes.

After a CJ Gable holding call brought back a 63-yard DaVaris Daniels touchdown, Ottawa received the ball needing a touchdown to take the lead.

Quarterback Dominique Davis orchestrated a great drive. With decisive and precise throws, Davis had the Redblacks all the way to the Edmonton 11-yard line. The offence had three pass attempts that could have won the game, but three straight incompletions led to the Eskimos securing the victory.

Despite not scoring many points, Ottawa had an impressive offensive game plan in the first half that helped them move the ball up and down the field against the league’s top-ranked defence.

Davis threw for nearly 300 yards and running back John Crockett averaged 6.8 yards per carry with 89 rushing yards.

Unfortunately, mistakes at the end of drives cost the Redblacks.

The opening drive ended in a Davis interception and two later drives in the first half stalled in the red zone. Kicker Lewis Ward was automatic as ever though and the Redblacks held a lead at halftime.

The difference in the first half was an explosive passing play between Davis and wide out Dominique Rhymes. With great pass protection in front of him, Davis dropped an absolute dime into the hands of Rhymes for a 67-yard touchdown.

Rhymes had 118 yards receiving, giving him his first 100-yard receiving game since week two.

Mistakes cost Edmonton as well, especially on third down. They failed to convert on three separate third down opportunities and missed a 45-yard field goal. One of those third opportunities was a quarterback sneak by Harris in which he was stripped by middle linebacker Jerod Fernandez.

Speaking of turnovers, Davis threw two interceptions but you can really only attribute one to him. The other took a weird bounce of the hands then feet of wide receiver Julian Feoli-Gudino right into the hands of Edmonton safety Jorden Hoover.

The loss keeps the Redblacks in third place of the East Division and drops them to 3-5 on the season.

Quick Notes:

  • The speedy Rafael Araujo-Lopes looked effective in his first career CFL game. He could give the Redblacks a quickness on the outside that they have not had since Diontae Spencer left
  • Lewis Ward’s historic field goal streak has now reached 69 straight successful kicks
  • It was a great matchup between the two return men. DeVonte Dedmon had a 41-yard kick-off return and new Eskimo Christion Jones had 161 combined return yards on the night
  • The Redblacks have been ineffective on first down for the majority of the season but averaged a superb 17.4 yards on first downs against Edmonton

The Redblacks are back at home next weekend for an East Division showdown. They host the Hamilton Ti-Cats on Saturday at TD Place.