Thursday, July 18, 2024

Ottawa Redblacks beat Blue Bombers in game delayed by lightning

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Even thunder and lightning couldn’t stop the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday night.

In a game that was delayed an hour by a storm, the Redblacks fought off the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23-19 in their season-opener.

Following a couple of flashes of lightning — the game went on for 37 seconds after the first one — it was halted with 2:09 left, with the Redblacks leading 23-17.

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One of the possible scenarios: CFL protocol is if the storm delay is more than an hour and it’s at least midway through the third quarter, the game is ended and the team winning at the stoppage is awarded the win. The last time it happened: A game between Montreal and Saskatchewan was called late in the third quarter in 2019, with the Roughriders awarded the win.

When the game resume at 11:13 p.m., with most of the fans long gone, the Bombers were stopped as they drove to try to win the game.

A terrific second-down diving knockdown by Damon Webb prevented a Winnipeg touchdown with just under a minute left. Then, Lorenzo Mauldin IV sacked Winnipeg QB Zach Collaros and the ball was turned over to Ottawa.

Winnipeg got one last chance after the Redblacks conceded a safety with 14 seconds left.

“The vibe in our locker room was we wanted to get back out there (and play),” said Redblacks coach Bob Dyce. “These guys wanted to win this game the way it should be – on the field for 60 minutes. In the locker room, we stayed mentally prepared to go out there and finish the game.”

Coming off a bye week, the Redblacks did a lot of good things.

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Other than a huge breakdown that resulted in a long completion by the Bombers, the Redblacks defence was very good.

The Redblacks led 16-10 at halftime.

After taking the opening kickoff, the Redblacks marched downfield with a drive that included a 30-yard completion to Bralon Addison and ended with a 12-yard field goal by Lewis Ward, giving Ottawa a 3-0 lead.

On Ottawa’s next drive, running back Ryquell Armstead, who had been listed as questionable on the depth chart, rambled for a 31-yard gain. But the drive stalled when Ottawa QB Dru Brown was sacked by Devin Adams.

Armstead wound up with 95 yards rushing on 16 carries.


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A 49-yard punt return by DeVonte Dedmon got Ottawa deep into Winnipeg territory, with an unnecessary roughness penalty taking it to the 14-yard line. Ottawa gambled on third-and-two, with Armstead dragging defenders to the two-yard line for a first down. Two plays later, backup quarterback Dustin Crum pushed his way into the end zone from the one. The convert made it 10-0 with 1:36 left in the first quarter.

A play after Redblacks coach Bob Dyce changed his mind on challenging a pass interference call, Adarius Pickett intercepted a Collaros pass, giving Ottawa the ball on the Winnipeg 51 with a bit less than 13 minutes left in the second quarter. Another nice run by Armstead, this time for 19 yards, got Ottawa to the 32. A 31-yard Ward field goal made it 13-0.

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A 45-yard field goal by Winnipeg’s Sergio Castillo made it 13-3.

A 47-yard pass completion to Nic Demski got the Bombers into Redblacks territory with a bit more than four minutes left in the first half. After a roughing-the-passer penalty, running back Johnny Augustine, starting in place of injured Brady Oliveira, scored on a four-yard run. The convert made it 13-10 with 2:16 left.

With Armstead grinding out yards on the ground, the Redblacks got a 34-yard Ward field goal with five seconds left.

Winnipeg’s Keric Wheatfall was left uncovered on a double-move route, running down the sideline to Collaros’ left, and he was stopped at the Ottawa five after a 76-yard gain. Three plays later, backup QB Chris Streveler scored from the two-yard line. The convert gave Winnipeg a 17-16 lead with 4:51 left in the third quarter.

An interception by Alonzo Addae, who jumped into the air to pull down the ball, got Ottawa to the Winnipeg 45 with 1:28 left in the third quarter. But the Redblacks couldn’t take advantage and punted, pushing the Bombers back to their six.

Winnipeg gambled on third down, needing a yard, from its own 15, with Streveler getting a few inches more than he needed.

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A 42-yard completion to Justin Hardy got the ball to the Winnipeg six. Two plays later, on a play-action pass, Brown found Hardy alone in the middle of the end zone for a touchdown. The two-point convert pass failed and it was 22-17.

A 66-yard punt single on a ball that should have been booted out of bounds deep in the Bombers’ end, made it 23-17.


In his regular-season debut as the Redblacks’ starting quarterback, facing his former team, Dru Brown completed 20-of-33 passes for 238 yards, with one of them going for a touchdown.

“You always feel like you can do better,” he said. “I’m to enjoy this tonight and I will be extremely critical on myself tomorrow. I will continue to get better; that’s my process. I’m going to spend time with my teammates tonight and talk about the game. (Saturday), we’ll go back to work.”


The Redblacks served up a much-improved in-game entertainment program, with a DJ controlling the tunes. But it’s still lacking singalongs to get the fans even. more involved … Halftime was shortened a bit because of the threat of lightning … Bombers punter Jamieson Sheahan boomed a 70-yard line drive that got plenty of bounces early in the third quarter … A completed pass to Bralon Addison late in the third quarter was overturned after a challenge by the Bombers … On the next play, a punt – the punter, Richie Leone, took an unnecessary roughness penalty … Justin Hardy was Ottawa’s leading receiver, with seven catches for 111 yards … Concerning to the Redblacks will be nine penalties for 105 yards.

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