Ottawa Redblacks led by formidable defense in huge win over Edmonton Elks – .

Ottawa Redblacks led by formidable defense in huge win over Edmonton Elks – .

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I hope no one is betting the Edmonton Elks beat the Ottawa Redblacks on Saturday night – and if they do, start looking for another place to live.

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In a game that ended with Elks back James Tuck stopping one yard from a winning touchdown, the Redblacks – big underdogs in the CFL opener for both teams – came away with a 16-12 victory in three provinces. west of the national capital.

It was a huge victory for a Redlbacks team that won just three games in 2019, the last time the CFL played a season, and a team many ‘experts’ choose to be the worst team in the league. .

“We spoke to the players this morning about how long it takes to play this football game – you are going to play for 60 minutes and the games are usually won at the end,” said the head coach of the United Nations. Redblacks Paul LaPolice. “We certainly did today and we put ourselves in a position to get our two points and I’m really proud of the team’s response. “

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Edmonton Elks fans enter Commonwealth Stadium for the Edmonton Elks first game of 2021. Photo de Ian Kucerak /Postmedia

While Ottawa’s offense really struggled on Saturday – quarterback Matt Nichols rushed for 71 passing yards (he completed 12 of 20 passes and was sacked five times) and the ground game only produced that 56 yards – defense and special teams units have taken a big step forward.

Back in the team he was a part of from 2014 to 2016, defensive back Abdul Kanneh had two huge interceptions, the second for a 102-yard touchdown with 9:57 left when he caught a ball from the hands of the Elks wide receiver Shai Ross. . Randall Evans intervened in front of a pass from QB Elks Trevor Harris and provided an interception with just over three minutes to go. Linebacker Avery Williams made 14 tackles for Ottawa.

EDMONTON – August 7, 2021 – Ryan Davis (15) of the Ottawa Redblacks is chased by Jonathon Mincy Sr. (2) of the Edmonton Elks during the CFL first half in Edmonton, Alta on Saturday 7 August 2021. Photo by JASON FRANSON /THE CANADIAN PRESS

When asked what he was thinking as he sprinted to the Elks end zone, Kanneh said, “I thought I better not get caught because my sons and my little ones nephews were going to laugh at me, sending me stuff on Instagram and YouTube and stuff like that. My lady would laugh at me too.

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As TSN CFL analysts questioned whether Nichols’ right shoulder was right – he had surgery two years ago – the quarterback said he was feeling fine.

“It went well the entire game,” said Nichols. “You know there were a few early throws where I felt like it was more me, I wish I had my legs under me a little faster. I just felt like I was taking the drops too fast, trying to catch up. I didn’t have my feet in place on some of the early pitches. Obviously we need to do more on offense. I felt good during the game, however.

The Redblacks also scored three field goals, including two over 50 yards, from record-setting kicker Lewis Ward.

As for the What Ifs … well, the Redblacks seemed to have scored a spectacular touchdown early in the second quarter DeVonte Dedmon punted Edmonton and threw a pass (almost) sideways to Ryan Davis, who accelerated to 72 meters on the left sideline. in the end zone. But the Elks successfully disputed that it was a forward pass. Asked about the closed call, LaPolice told TSN at halftime, “We believe creativity pays off in the Canadian Football League and we want to make sure we’re creative in what we do. “

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The teams were tied 3-3 after the first quarter. The Elks took a 3-0 lead on a 12-yard field goal from Sean Whyte on their first down. A nice 21-yard punt return from Dedmon gave the ball to Ottawa on the Edmonton 48-yard line. And Ward had a 52-yard field goal to tie the game.

Whyte’s 52-yard field goal gave the Elks a 6-3 lead with 3:10 left in the second quarter. The Redblacks recovered all three points on a 20-yard field goal from Ward with 33 seconds left at the half. With no time on the clock, Whyte added 48 yards to bring the score to 9-6 at halftime.

A 43-yard Whyte field goal at 4:58 of the third quarter gave the Elks a 12-6 lead.

With 4:29 left in the third quarter, Kanneh made a good play to jump in front of Derrel Walker and land an interception.

Ward fielded a 51-yard field goal to take the score to 12-9.

READ MORE: BACK IN RED AND BLACK: Celebrate Ottawa’s return to CFL after 645 days


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