Redblacks Top Argos in Regular Season-Finale, Look Ahead to Playoffs

Photo credit: Justin Tang, The Canadian Press

Ottawa fans may have already been looking ahead to the playoffs, with home field clinched, but the Redblacks finished the regular season with a solid performance from their offense and defense. They beat the last-place Toronto Argonauts 24-9 at TD Place to closeout the regular season. The Redblacks finish the season 11-7, their best record since 2015.

The Redblacks rested many of their offensive starters, including Trevor Harris, William Powell, the star receiving trio (Brad Sinopoli, Diontae Spencer and Greg Ellingson) and members of the offensive line.

Dominique Davis made his first start at quarterback since 2015 and looked polished in his first half appearance. He finished 16/23 for 220 yards. He hit Julian Feoli-Gudino on a 23-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter.

Third-string quarterback Danny Collins took over the reins for the second half. He attempted only 10 passes and finished with 49 yards passing.

Even with the healthy scratches at receiver, Davis and Collins still had solid weapons on the outside to deliver the ball to. Dominique Rhymes finished with six catches for 101 yards. He was one of four other Ottawa receivers that totaled at least 45 yards receiving.

The Argonauts split quarterback duties as well, James Franklin in the first half and McLeod Bethel-Thompson in the second. The two quarterbacks finished with comparable statistics. Each had less than 200 yards passing and a completion percentage of around 65%. Running back Branden Burks only received five touches but totaled 48 yards on the ground.

Toronto amassed 60 yards more on offense than the Redblacks, but the only Argos points came from three Drew Brown field goals. Toronto also turned the ball over six times, including losing two fumbles. Avery Williams and Jonathan Rose each forced a fumble and Kevin Brown and Avery Ellis each had a sack.

Mossis Madu started his second straight game in the Ottawa backfield and ran for 78 yards on 14 carries. He found the endzone on a one-yard run in the second half.

There are still a few statistical categories that individual Redblacks could finish atop following the regular season’s final weekend. Although sitting the game out and not getting the chance to pad their league leads, Powell still leads the CFL in rushing yards (by a mere seven) and Brad Sinopoli has a sizeable lead and will finish first in the CFL in receptions.

On defense, Jonathan Rose and Rico Murray both have a part of the five-way tie for the CFL lead in interceptions. Murray picked off Bethel-Thompson in the second half against Toronto to setup the Madu touchdown. Fan favourite offensive lineman Jon Gott celebrated the score by jogging to the stands and downing what remained of a Redblacks fan’s beer.

Lewis Ward knocked in two field goals and ended the regular season with his perfect streak still alive. He now sits at 48 straight made field goals.

To say it was a disappointing 2018 season for the defending Grey Cup champions would be an understatement. The Argonauts finish the season with a record of a 4-14 and without a single road victory.

The Redblacks will be off next week. As the East Division’s top seed, they can sit back and watch Hamilton battle BC in the first round of the playoffs. They will take on the winner in the Eastern Final on November 18th.