Blue Bombers 19, Black Red 12
I weighed. Frustrating. Deja vu. All over again.
For the second week in a row, the Ottawa Redblacks appeared to topple the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. For the second week in a row, the Redblacks fell short on the scoreboard; this time, it was 19-12 for the Bombers.
Another wasted opportunity. Two weeks into the young CFL season, the Redblacks are 0-2. It really could be 2-0. But give them this: They are a much better team than we saw a year ago. And they are fighting like crazy to win a football match.
“Like I said to the players, I’m not happy with where we’re sitting, but I’m happy with them and I’m happy with their effort,” Redblacks head coach Paul LaPolice said. “There are things we have to be better at to be successful, especially against a team as good as the defending Gray Cup champions. We have to have a belief… and improve.”
“It was a good challenge for us to play those guys back to back,” said Redblacks quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who completed 27 of 38 passes for 331 yards. “Disappointed. We’re disappointed for sure. We have to be better. Our defense played perfectly, we have to match it and do what we do.”
Ottawa running back Devonte Williams carried the ball 12 times for 85 yards. On the other hand, Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros went 15-of-22 for 228 yards. The Bombers began their rushing career with 115 yards.
Once again, there were too many “what ifs”. Time and time again, the Redblacks ate up huge chunks of yardage. But there were no touchdowns in Ottawa; only four field goals. Ottawa had the advantage in time of possession: 31:22-28:38. Ottawa was better in net yards: 394-324. But Winnipeg scored two touchdowns. This is how games are won.
“When you move the ball, you have to be able to shoot,” LaPolice said.
“I feel like we have a lot of things to build on,” Masoli said. “We are moving the ball very well, but in attack, in general, we have to feel more comfortable in the red zone, putting up 7s. We have to give our defense a little breathing room.”
Ottawa started their first drive at their 37-yard line. On the first offensive play, Jaelon Acklin caught a 15-yard pass. After a three-yard run from Williams, Justin Hardy made a nice 10-yard catch. Pass interference in Winnipeg gave Ottawa the ball at the Bombers’ 35-yard line. An inside pass to Williams, running upstream, went for 15 yards. A 27-yard field goal by Lewis Ward gave Ottawa a 3-0 lead at 4:38 into the game.
On Ottawa’s third drive of the game, Masoli, rolling to the right, found Nate Behar for a 28-yard gain. Two plays later, Hardy went skyward to hang on to the ball to gain nine yards and a first down. With nothing available inside, Williams bounced out to the left and rushed for 19 yards. Ward’s 37-yard field goal attempt missed to the right. Bombers returner Janarion Grant took it into the end zone and rushed 49 yards to Winnipeg 39.
Winnipeg got a punt single with 13:56 left in the second quarter. On the next play, Masoli threw a pass downfield, and Darvin Adams caught it for a 48-yard gain. A trick play, with two flips, then another back to Masoli, resulted in a 14-yard loss, with Bombers defensive lineman LB Mack sniffing him out. Ward’s 37-yard field goal made it 6-1.
Defensive back Money Hunter got the ball back for Ottawa, intercepting a pass from Collaros.
Trapped deep on their own end, the Bombers got a 24-yard run from Johnny Augustine. An interception by Randall Evans was erased by an offside by Cleyon Laing.
Masoli led for a first down on a sneak pass from the quarterback after receptions by Acklin (14 yards) and Adams (16 yards), with a sack in the middle. Ward kicked a 32-yard field goal to give him a 9-1 lead with 1:32 left in the first half.
A 24-yard catch by Rasheed Bailey carried Winnipeg into Ottawa Territory. Former Redblacks star Greg Ellingson caught a 13-yard touchdown pass. Winnipeg was stopped in its tracks on Dru Brown’s two-point conversion attempt from the 1-yard line. Ottawa received a 41-yard catch from Shaq Johnson on the final play of the half, which finished 9-7 for the hosts.
Marc Liegghio kicked a 30-yard field goal to give Winnipeg a 10-9 lead. The Bombers got into an offensive groove, completing passes to Brady Oliveira (20 yards) and Schoen (31 yards). A 22-yard field goal made it 13-9.
The Redblacks responded and Ward’s 37-yard field goal made it 13-12.
Another Redblacks drive into Winnipeg territory resulted in a fumble on a short third when Jackson Jeffcoat hit Masoli. The Bombers capitalized on Schoen catching a 27-yard touchdown pass. The converted kick missed and it was 19-12.
The Redblacks got the ball back with just under five minutes to go. Williams’ 17-yard run on a tying play took them to the Winnipeg 29-yard line. Masoli then sent a 17-yard pass to Hardy. On third and 10, with two minutes remaining, the Redblacks took it for granted. It was the right call. But the pass fell incomplete. A challenge from Ottawa failed; however, it appeared that officials may have called an illegal contact.
Ottawa was called out for contacting the kicker. Game over.
THE END AROUND: I was told actor/comedian Tom Green was at the game… Attendance was 22,185… Not sure about unnecessary roughness penalty at Ottawa’s Money Hunter – he turned his head before making big contact with Rasheed Bailey… Also not sure about a third quarter Objectionable Conduct Penalty on Bailey… There seemed to be a lot more empty seats in the second half. I wonder how many people left at halftime; must have taken a look at the weather forecast (high winds and rain for part of the fourth quarter)… One tip for the Redblacks, who do so many things well on game night: the audience needs to be energized between plays, especially in the first part of the game. Sweet Caroline. Take me home through the country roads. Jump. Sandman enters. We will Rock You. Please! … Mr. ShoeBeer was back, in good shape, on Friday … Something you don’t see every day: Referees called a five-yard offside penalty in Winnipeg, then changed it to an illegal procedural call and they walked her in the other direction. .