LOSING ENDS IN OT: Dedmon's electrifying runbacks help Redblacks snap four-game skid
Redblacks 30, Alouettes 27 (OT)
MONTREAL — After flailing around offensively much of the game, the Ottawa Redblacks finally got a huge monkey off their backs.
With an electrifying performance by returner Devonte Dedmon, the Redblacks stopped a four-game losing streak, dropping the Montreal Alouettes 30-27 in overtime at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium.
Dedmon had two long touchdown runs — one on a kickoff return, the other on a punt return. The 111-yard kickoff return for a TD was the longest ever for a player with an Ottawa CFL team. The record had been Vic Washington’s 107-yard touchdown in 1969.
Quarterback Dominique Davis, returning to the lineup after missing two games with a “lower-leg” injury, completed just five of 12 passes for 44 yards in the first half — some of it was on him, some of it was on his receivers. But he rallied the offence in the final quarter, when it counted, winding up with 164 yards passing.
“I really liked our work ethic and I liked our guys’ attitude,” said Redblacks coach Rick Campbell. “So it’s good to get some results from it. We have to figure out (our offence). We had some self-inflicted things — we have to eliminate that, fumbled snaps and that type of thing, we can’t afford to do that.”
The Alouettes made a big defensive play on the Redblacks’ second offensive possession. A Davis pass glanced off the hands of Julian Feoli-Gudino and into the hands of Montreal defensive back Ciante Evans, who was hauled down at the Ottawa 17-yard line. The Redblacks’ defence held and Boris Bede booted an 18-yard field goal for a 3-0 Montreal lead 5:36 into the game.
On their next possession, the Redblacks coughed up the ball again. Taylor Loffler tore the ball out of receiver Brad Sinopoli’s hands and jumped on it at the Ottawa 53. Montreal QB Vernon Adams Jr. later lunged over the cone and into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown run. The convert made it 10-0 with 4:49 left in the first quarter.
Ottawa got the touchdown back in a hurry. Dedmon took the kickoff, ran left, cut back and dashed 111 yards for a touchdown. Brendan Gillanders ran in for the two-point convert.
The Alouettes marched downfield and Adams Jr. pushed into the end zone from the one-yard line. With the convert, the Als led 17-8 after the first.
Dedmon got his second touchdown of the game with 45 seconds left in the first half, picking up a Bede punt on the bounce, somehow keeping his balance as he was hit a couple of times in his 95-yard journey down the field and into the Montreal end zone. Gillanders was stopped short on the two-point convert attempt.
Asked what he was thinking on the return, Dedmon said, “Don’t give up. Don’t go down. It’s just always been what I’ve done. Stay up and finish for my teammates. That’s about it.”
The Redblacks’ defence came up huge on the opening drive of the second half. An Adams Jr. pass was batted into the air and snagged by Ottawa defensive lineman Mike Wakefield, giving the Redblacks the ball on the Montreal six-yard line. Two plays later, Sinopoli caught a five-yard touchdown pass. Lewis Ward booted the convert and it was 21-17 for Ottawa.
The Als again appeared to take the lead when Adams Jr. rolled left and lofted a pass that Quan Bray jumped into the air to get and came down with in the end zone. But the CFL Command Centre took a look and ruled it an incomplete pass. The Als settled for a 30-yard Bede field goal to get within one. Bede boomed a kickoff into the end zone for a single and it was a tie game.
Ottawa quickly gave the ball up when Davis, shuffling left, threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by Evans at midfield.
Ottawa got the ball back, but gave it back to the Als when Davis fumbled a snap and couldn’t hold onto it on the ground. It was recovered by Henoc Muamba. A 45-yard Bede field goal made it 24-21 for the home side, then the kicker made another one from 18 yards for a six-point lead.
The Redblacks got a drive going midway through the fourth quarter. Lewis Ward kicked his 65th straight field goal, from 46 yards out, to make it 27-24.
Trailing by three, the Redblacks got the ball back on their own 17-yard line with 1:51 left. A 23-yard completion to Caleb Holley got them to the 40. Ward tied the game with a 30-yard field goal.
Ottawa got the ball first in overtime and got a 15-yard field goal from Ward. Montreal coughed up the ball and Ottawa’s De’Andre Montgomery picked it up. Game over.
SECOND AND LONG: The Redlbacks talk about winning the time of possession battle, but they were trailing 18:59-11:01 at halftime. … Things got a little heated in the second quarter. Former Redblacks LB Chris Ackie got two unnecessary roughness penalties on the same play, while Jason Lauzon-Seguin and Evan Johnson were flagged for Ottawa. … At least the Redblacks didn’t go two-and-out on their first offensive drive — it was four-and-out, with the snap on the fourth play sailing off Davis’ hands and over his head. … Ottawa used up its challenge 8:54 into the game, saying Chris Randle was interfered with on a 16-yard completion to Bray. Command Centre ruled otherwise and the play stood. … Rather than try a 53-yard field goal with 9 1/2 minutes left in the first half, the Redblacks punted, and Richie Leone pinned the Als on their 11-yard line. … Antonio Pipkin got into the game at QB for Adams Jr. midway through the third quarter. … Lauzon-Seguin was helped off the field midway through the fourth quarter.
THE END AROUND: With his team trailing by three early and pinned deep in its own end in the fourth quarter, Campbell didn’t give up the safety, letting Richie Leone punt. Wonder if last week’s late-game gaffe influenced that? … Redblacks DB Corey Tindal was helped off the field late in the game. … Attendance was 17,498. … Always amazes me how many fans actually arrive to CFL stadiums — I’m looking at you Ottawa — after the game has started. If the game is 7 p.m., wouldn’t you want to be in your seat or at least in the concourse before then? … Ran into Miles Gorrell, the Als’ national director of scouting, before the game. A great guy who not long ago worked for the Redblacks, Miles complimented me on my shirt. Actually, with a smirk, he called it my pyjama top. … Overtime aside, the game dragged on … and on.
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