Redblacks Fall Short to Stampeders in 106th Grey Cup
Photo credit: Darryl Dyck (CFL)
Two years ago, the Calgary Stampeders were forced to watch the confetti fall on the heads of the Ottawa Redblacks, Grey Cup in hand. In Edmonton Sunday night, the roles were reversed and revenge tasted sweet for the Stamps.
Calgary defeated Ottawa 27-16 to win the 106th Grey Cup.
Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was named the game’s Most Valuable Player with a stat line of 253 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. B.C.-native Lemar Durant was named the game’s top Canadian. The receiver finished with four catches, 30 yards and a hard-fought touchdown. He hooked up with a scrambling Mitchell and dove for the score.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) November 26, 2018
Also named the league’s Most Outstanding Player during the regular season, Mitchell has averaged two interceptions in each of the last three Grey Cups but played a great second half to keep the Stamps ahead.
The Stampeders could not close the deal late in their losses in both the 2016 and 2017 Grey Cups. This time around however, they built an early 14-3 lead and didn’t let the Redblacks within striking distance down the stretch. Calgary made the plays in crucial moments that Ottawa did not.
That included six Ottawa turnovers, a third-down conversion throw to Brad Sinopoli in the red zone that was punched out and a Lewis Ward field goal miss. But the biggest mistake came at the end of the first half.
The Redblacks had finally reached the endzone with an incredible 55-yard touchdown catch and run by Julian Feoli-Gudino, in which he fought threw multiple Calgary defenders, to bring them within three points.
The very next Ottawa drive, Richie Leone punted with mere seconds remaining in the half. The punt landed in bounds and Stamps return man Terry Williams took it 97 yards to the house, a new Grey Cup-record.
Just like that, the Stampeders were back up by two scores heading into halftime. That is all the Calgary defense needed to closeout the game.
The field at Commonwealth Stadium provided tough conditions for both teams. The icy turf made players slip on countless occasions and had an impact on the footwork for virtually every position. Players on both teams ran tentatively, knowing a hard cut would likely cause them to lose their footing.
The Redblack defense held the Stamps to only 20 points and forced several key stops to give Ottawa a chance in the fourth quarter, but were outshined by a Calgary defense that continuously took the ball away.
The Ottawa offense could only find rhythm in short spurts and was ultimately undone by their turnovers. Trevor Harris threw three interceptions, two of them late in the game, and there were fumbles by William Powell and Diontae Spencer, who had the ball stripped on a punt return. Apart from the fumble, Powell got it going on the ground. He took 16 carries for 94 yards.
R.J. Harris was the leading receiver for the Redblacks with four catches and 66 yards receiving. The trio of star receivers for Ottawa, Sinopoli, Ellingson and Spencer, were contained by the ball-hawking Calgary secondary.
Defensive back Jonathan Rose played in the Grey Cup despite the one-game suspension handed down by the CFL (it is currently in the appeal process) and he intercepted Bo Levi Mitchell in the first half. He read the eyes of the veteran quarterback perfectly and jumped the play, as did Sherrod Baltimore on his interception of Mitchell in the second quarter.
Calgary found Grey Cup redemption and finished the 2018 season a perfect 9-0 against East Division teams. That includes a 3-0 record against the Redblacks.
As is often said, the big game losses stick with you. The season was a successful one for the Redblacks, but it ends on a sour note. Ottawa will now look towards the off-season; where among the biggest storylines will be Trevor Harris’ upcoming free agency.