Redblacks Fire on All Cylinders in Road Win Over Blue Bombers

Photo credit: The Canadian Press

Offense and defense combined for a statement road win Friday night. In an intimidating Winnipeg venue against a Blue Bomber team that many consider to be Grey Cup contenders, the Redblacks were able to come away with a dominant 44-21 win. Ottawa improves to 6-3, the best midseason record in Redblacks history.

Trevor Harris had his doubters early on in the season but he seems to have quieted them now. Once again, it was Harris that led the offense with another effective performance. He passed for 361 yards and a touchdown, continuing his hot streak.

With Harris leading the way, the Redblacks enforced their will early-on with long drives ending in scores. The first two fruitful drives were capped off by one-yard touchdowns by backup quarterback and short yardage specialist Dominique Davis. Then Lewis Ward knocked his 23rd and 24th straight field goal attempts through the uprights to finish an impressive first half for Ottawa. The home team was not as successful.

Darvin Adams scored the only points for the Blue Bombers in the opening two quarters with 45-yard touchdown reception. Nichols aired it downfield in the direction of Adams and Redblacks defensive back Jonathan Rose, who dove for the interception. The ball went off Rose’s fingertips and into the hands of Adams in the endzone. Adams would beat Rose again for a deep touchdown in the second half.

Apart from Adams, who finished with eight catches for 162 yards, the Blue Bombers offense was largely handled by a ferocious Ottawa defense. The Redblacks went into the locker room with a 22-7 halftime lead.

The Blue Bombers succeeded on big plays in the third quarter, but Ottawa answered back at every opportunity. It was something they were unable to do two weeks ago in Toronto. When Andrew Harris scored a 13-yard touchdown, the Redblacks returned the favour with a 5-yard touchdown catch by Dominique Rhymes, the first of his CFL career. When Adams caught his second touchdown early in the fourth quarter (a 72-yarder), Ottawa grinded out a long drive that ended in a 28-yard William Powell scamper into the endzone.

“We always had an answer tonight,” said Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell after the game. “They’re a good team and they kept fighting back, but we always had a response.”

Winnipeg never came within striking distance. The Blue Bomber win streak was snapped at three.

In between the touchdowns scored by Rhymes and Powell was an outstanding play made by the Redblacks defense that all but served as the knockout punch. Defensive back Corey Tindal darted to Winnipeg quarterback Matt Nichols’ blindside, catching him just as he was set to release a pass. Tindal knocked the ball loose and it was scooped up by rookie Avery Williams and returned for a touchdown. Along with Williams’ score, the Redblacks defense sacked Nichols four times and forced a late interception.

The game featured the league’s top two rushers. William Powell, currently behind Andrew Harris for the top spot, outgained the league’s leading rusher on the night. He finished with 106 yards to Harris’ 72. It is the fourth time this season that Powell topped the 100-yard mark in a game. The Redblacks limited Harris early on. The Winnipeg offense, which relies so heavily on Harris’ success on the ground, was never able to get into a sustainable rhythm.

Coming into the week, the Redblacks were the top team when it came to attempting (and converting) two-point conversions. That risk-taking reputation precedes them but they outdid themselves on Friday night. Ottawa converted four two-point trys, a CFL record.

The Redblacks will now embark on their second bye week of the season. They will return to action on August 31st against the Montreal Alouettes at TD Place.