Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Redblacks lose game to Winnipeg, and lose QB Brown

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The Ottawa Redblacks were hit with a double whammy Friday night in Winnipeg.

They lost the game, and their starting quarterback.

The Redblacks became the first team to fall to the Blue Bombers this season, dropping a 25-16 decision at Princess Auto Stadium.

The setback leaves the Redblacks’ record at 2-2, while Winnipeg is now 1-4.

Of lingering concern for Ottawa is the status of quarterback Dru Brown

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On a keeper play late in the second quarter, Brown took a blow to the head from Blue Bombers defensive back Redha Kramdi as he was sliding at the end of a run.

He did not return to the game.

“Drew is functioning normally,” head coach Bob Dyce told TSN1200’s A.J. Jakubec immediately after the game. “So we’re happy with that.”

Brown will likely have to go into concussion protocol, but it’s too soon to know if he’ll be available for the Redblacks next game on Sunday, July 14 in Edmonton.

Taking over at the pivot position was Dustin Crum, who was the Redblacks starter most of last season.

Crum directed a third-quarter scoring drive, leaning heavily on running back Ryquell Armstead.

He also turned the ball over twice, once on a fumble and again on a fourth-quarter interception.

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Scoring the game’s only touchdowns were Blue Bombers quarterback Chris Streveler, on a one-yard plunge in the second quarter, and Armstead on a four-yard run in the third quarter.

After a slow start, Armstead had a big second half, finishing the night with 17 carries for 103 yards, the first triple-digit rushing game of his CFL career.

Even at that, he could not keep pace with Winnipeg’s Brady Oliveira, who rushed the ball 23 times for 129 yards.

Subbing for injured quarterback Zach Colllaros, Blue Bombers backup Chris Streveler completed 13 of 21 passes for 127 yards and also added 13 carries for 79 yards.

The biggest mistake the Redblacks defence made was not keeping Sergio Castillo on his own side of the field.

The Blue Bombers kicker was 6-for-6 on field goal tries, hitting two from 53 yards, one from 49, one from 28, one from 18, and one from 13.

Redblacks ball booter Lewis Ward was also perfect with a 3-for-3 performance, connecting on field goals of 51, 35 and 18 yards.

Ward’s 35-yarder with 2:25 left in the fourth quarter brought the Redblacks to within a converted touchdown of the Bombers.

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But the running of Oliveira and Streveler — as well as a facemask penalty on the Redblacks’ Davion Taylor — set up Castillo for his icing on the cake field goal and kept the ball out of Ottawa’s hands the rest of the way.

The Redblacks did very little offensively in the opening 30 minutes.

They amassed  just 129 yards, most of which came after Crum replaced Brown, who was good on just two of 6 passes for 24 yards before exiting.

They also had their hands full defensively trying to stop the Blue Bombers’ running game.

Through two quarters, Oliveira had 11 carries for 75 yards, and Steveler ran the ball nine times for 55 yards.

Yet the Redblacks trailed only 13-3 at the intermission, and that deficit could have been smaller if not for back-to-back errors by Armstead in the final minute.

First he let what should have been an easy reception slip through his hands on the Blue Bombers’ 28 yard line.

Then he failed to jump on the loose ball, as officials ruled the Crum throw was a lateral.

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Winnipeg took over, ending Ottawa’s chances of putting more than a field goal on the board in the opening half.

The Redblacks were moving the ball on their first possession of the second half until 6-foot-7 defensive end Willie Jefferson stripped Crum of the ball while he was back to pass.

dbrennan@postmedia.com

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