Turnovers cost Redblacks in East semifinal loss against Riders

Lisa Wallace, Canadian Press

The Ottawa Redblacks didn’t do themselves any favours in the CFL’s East Division semifinal.

The Redblacks turned the ball over four times and saw their hopes of repeating as Grey Cup champions end with a 31-20 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday afternoon.

It was Ottawa’s first home playoff loss.

“It’s very hard to win, especially turning the ball over,” said Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell. “The two biggest indicators you can look at is turnovers and penalties, but the turnover thing is hard to overcome – they created some turnovers and we didn’t.

“We never found a way to make key plays in the big moments of the game.”

Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris, who played his first playoff game, underperformed despite going 37 of 60 for 457 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“We’re not going to sit here and make excuses. We just didn’t get it done,” said Harris, who is in the final year of his contract. “It hurts, but if it didn’t hurt that would mean it didn’t mean anything.”

Harris threw an interception in the first half with Ottawa on Saskatchewan’s ten-yard line and an incomplete pass forced the Redblacks to settle for a field goal early in the second half while deep in Roughriders territory.

Saskatchewan scored a 75-yard touchdown to take a 28-11 lead on the next play.

“I don’t want to say we lost the game, but we shot ourselves in the foot early on that we gave them the game and we gave them the momentum and you can’t do that,” said Redblacks fullback Patrick Lavoie. “I think this is a team that we’re capable of beating, but we shot ourselves in the foot and we didn’t finish our drives and I think defensively we were a little surprised by Marcus Thigpen’s speed.”

Missed assignments on defence allowed the Riders to get wide open on offence and gain favourable field position throughout the game.

Saskatchewan was 12-for-22 on second down conversions, compared to just 10-for-27 for Ottawa.

“They just had more big plays than we had today,” said Redblacks linebacker Taylor Reed. “Defensively we gave up a big play to Thigpen and plays like that in the playoffs when you’re trying to win against a good opponent you can’t have those mistakes.”

The sting of the loss was that much deeper for the Redblacks knowing the Grey Cup will be played in Ottawa in two weeks.

“To come up short in the semifinal, it’s heartbreaking,” said Ottawa centre Jon Gott. “I feel bad for my teammates, I feel bad for the fans. I thought we were going to go further than this.”



19 Comments on Turnovers cost Redblacks in East semifinal loss against Riders

  1. Ottawa looked unprepared. I expected more from Mark Nelson and Jamie Elizondo

    • I no longer do. Including playoffs, they have 6 home wins over 20 games in the past two years.

      The say that one of Campbell strengths is that he’s constantly even. You’re never too high after a win, never too low after a loss. I think the flip side of that is that he struggles to get his guys to that extra level.

      People tend to forget that Ottawa blew comfortable leads against Edmonton and Calgary in the playoffs last year too. They only ever seem capable of playing three quarters and I’m not sure they even played that many yesterday.

      Antoine Pruneau’s first comment? “We cam out a little flat today”. How come? Not enough at stake?

      It’s an ongoing problem, masked by the outcome of the playoffs last year.

  2. The saying goes; when you’re hungry for a big steak you are motivated to go hunting for that steak. After you eat it you are far less motivated to go hunting for another. It’s instinct and nature

  3. Colour me green // November 12, 2017 at 7:16 pm //

    where are the Donkey comments.
    Coward. Man up, you were wrong yet again.
    Can’t wait for Calgary choke

  4. justforkicks // November 12, 2017 at 7:57 pm //

    As I said in a previous post I had to miss the games today but sure am happy to be looking forward to a second round for the Riders. Judging by the game stats refs kept flags to a strangely severe minimum so that must have been a relief. As well it looks like Riders were firing on all cylinders after what started out as an old west shootout.
    As for the WSF I would have been happy with either team winning but I think an Eskimo / Stamps match will be more highly regarded. Looking forward to that game as well.
    Go Riders, Go CFL!!!

  5. the flammer // November 12, 2017 at 7:58 pm //

    unless that steak is taken from the mouth of the stamps, if they even get achance to eat it. go get em riders, time to eat some more.

  6. Good win by the Riders & Esks. Clearly the better teams on this night. Argos are unlikely to rush 3 all night like Ottawa did. They have the 2 Eastern All-Stars at tackle, Butler, Tuggle & Davis have 17 sacks between them at DE. Woods & Ball are really good LB’s. So the Riders will have their hands full as I expect Glenn will get a lot more pressure. Should be 2 good games next week.

    • Good point Boneyard, however if the Argo’s prepare only for Glen , we do have Bridge to turn to . Nice thing is Bridge played very well against Argo’s D , just a few short weeks ago. Ray, cant have a couple of coverage busts that we had today and not have Ray hurt us bad. But again win or loose it’s only year 2 of the Jones rebuild plan soooooooo things are looking good for our future either way.

  7. Can’t deny that the Riders are trending the right way. Getting ahead of myself but all the teams will have 15-20+ free agents available so there will be a lot of good players available. It’s going to be a very interesting off season again. IF, & that’s a big IF the Riders win the Cup this year or next, will Jones be back? If the colleges down south come calling, Riders can’t match the money. There’s been no sign yet of any extension talks.

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 12, 2017 at 10:18 pm //

      I suspect that they want jones to concentrate on football until the end of the season, then i expect a HUGE effort to extend jones beyond 2018. Considering how massive of a rebuild the riders have gone through, its pretty impressive to be in a conference final in only year 2 of the rebuild.

      • Well truthfully given past history I woulnt beat on Jones being around long. In fact a big NCAA offer could come in Dec or Jan. And Jones would not hesitate to bail on his contract

        • You know this how? You and Jones hanging? Your constant speculation about what goes on in Riderville is 99% wrong, 99% of the time. You’re sweating bullets donkey as you know your team has but one more game to get their hat handed to them and then it is see you later. Any regular Rider fans to this site, can’t wait to see that.

  8. George Fogarty // November 12, 2017 at 10:13 pm //

    Congrats to the Riders, they came out and played. The RBs looked pathetic. Hopefully the RBs get a new OC next year and some decent DBs.

  9. greenonions // November 13, 2017 at 1:28 am //

    Even if he does sign a new deal, an offer outside the CFL doesn’t mean he can’t bail on it.

  10. I guess the RB’s even having the CFL schedule makers and refs in their back pocket this season couldn’t save their bacon. Hope they make their home dressing room nice and comfy for their guests on Nov. 26th (which most likely be these same Riders).

  11. Don’t think Calgary has much gas left in the tank
    …ssk edm my picks to go to grey cup

  12. Good game by the Riders. But the green and white will have a more formidable challenge against the Argos. Yes, we did beat the Argos twice in the regular season. But the Argos are now healthy on most fronts. And they have a great front seven. It will be a challenge Rider fans. I hope our green and white are up for it. Besides the front seven of Toronto, the Argos boast one of the better if not, best running back in the league … and then there’s Ricky Ray. Kudos to the Riders. But let’s not take the Argos lightly at all. Go Green and White!!!

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