Friday, July 19, 2024

Ottawa defence delivers as Redblacks hold off the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23-19

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OTTAWA – The Ottawa defence delivered late in the fourth quarter Thursday night as the Redblacks held on for a 23-19 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in their season opener.

Lightning and heavy rain had forced a weather delay with 2:09 remaining in regulation. After a wait of about an hour, the teams returned to the field.

The Blue Bombers marched to the Ottawa seven-yard line in the final minute, but Damon Webb made a brilliant deflection on a Zach Collaros pass into the end zone. Lorenzo Mauldin IV then sacked the Winnipeg pivot on the next play to turn the ball over on downs.

Ottawa conceded a safety with 14 seconds left and a Blue Bombers’ Hail Mary at the buzzer was incomplete.

A two-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter gave the Redblacks (1-0) the lead before the weather turned ugly.

With 7:09 remaining and Ottawa trailing 17-16, Dru Brown, making his debut with the Redblacks, connected with Justin Hardy for a 42-yard gain to put Ottawa on Winnipeg’s five-yard line.

A short run put Ottawa on the two and with heavy rain falling, Brown found Hardy alone in the end zone. Ottawa fell short on the two-point conversion, but a single off a Richie Leone punt put Ottawa ahead 23-17.

Brown finished 20 for 33 for 238 yards and one touchdown.

Collaros was 15 for 31 for 285 yards. He was picked off twice.

The Bombers had trailed all night before taking their first lead in the third quarter.

Collaros connected with Keric Wheatfal for a 76-yard gain, before he was pulled down at Ottawa’s five-yard line. Chris Strevler completed the drive by pushing in a two-yard TD to take a 17-16 lead with 4:51 remaining in the third quarter.

Ottawa led 16-10 at the half.

On the game’s opening drive, the Redblacks reached the five-yard line but settled for a 12-yard field goal.

Late in the first quarter, the Redblacks extended their lead with a drive sparked by Devonte Dedmon’s 45-yard punt return to the Winnipeg 27-yard line. Four plays later, Dustin Crum punched in a one-yard touchdown.

Adarius Pickett intercepted Collaros at midfield early in the second quarter, leading to a 31-yard Lewis Ward field goal. Five minutes later, Winnipeg responded with a 45-yard Sergio Castillo field goal to make it 13-3.

Though Collaros struggled early, he redeemed himself with a 47-yard pass to Chris Demski, reaching Ottawa’s 35.

After a sack pushed them back 17 yards, a face mask penalty gave the Blue Bombers another chance, resulting in Johnny Augustine’s four-yard touchdown run.

With just over two minutes left in the half, Ottawa drove downfield but settled for a 34-yard field goal after a penalty nullified a promising drive.

The Bombers finished the game without defensive end Celestin Haba, defensive back Deatrick Nichols and defensive tackle Miles Fox.

UP NEXT

Redblacks: Will play the Montreal Alouettes on June 20.

Bombers: Will meet the B.C. Lions on June 21.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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