Ottawa’s defence dominates as Redblacks upset Elks

Photo courtesy: Ottawa Redblacks

The Ottawa Redblacks shocked the football world on Saturday night when they upset the Edmonton Elks by a score of 16-12 at Commonwealth Stadium.

Matt Nichols was questionable to play on Saturday due to a lingering injury to his right shoulder. He completed 12-of-20 pass attempts for 71 yards in a shaky performance that saw the Redblacks generate just 127 total yards of offence.

For reference, Ottawa’s worst single-game passing total during the 2019 season came in Week 6 when Jonathan Jennings and Will Arndt threw for a combined 102 yards in a 30-1 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Edmonton quarterback Trevor Harris did an excellent job of protecting the football in 2019, throwing just six interceptions in 478 attempts over 13 starts. He threw three picks on Saturday, two of which were intercepted by two-time East Division all-star Abdul Kanneh.

The two-time Grey Cup champion finished the game by completing 33-of-44 pass attempts for 333 yards, but his three turnovers were a huge factor in Edmonton’s loss.

The most exciting play of the game came early in the second quarter when DeVonte Dedmon threw an overhead lateral to Ryan Davis on a punt return. The Auburn product scampered for a 72-yard touchdown, through the play was called back after Edmonton successfully challenged for an illegal forward pass.

Dedmon, a second-year return specialist, was a key contributor for Ottawa, returning eight punts for a 93 yards and a long of 26. A 21-yard return in the first quarter allowed the Redblacks to get on the scoreboard when Lewis Ward booted a 52-yard field goal after the offence went two-and-out.

The game’s only touchdown came midway through the fourth quarter when Shai Ross bobbled a pass from Harris deep in Ottawa territory. Abdul Kanneh scooped it up for his second interception of the night and returned it 102-yard.

Kanneh made another huge play on the final snap of the game when he and strong-side linebacker Don Unamba tackled fullback Justin Tuck at Ottawa’s one-yard line. The play sealed the victory for the Redblacks, who entered Saturday’s game as eight-point underdogs.

James Wilder Jr. was the focal point of Edmonton’s offensive attack. The former CFL Most Outstanding Rookie recorded 15 carries for 89 yards while leading the team in receptions, catching nine passes for 72 yards.

It was a banner night for Canadian placekickers Sean Whyte and Lewis Ward who combined to connect on seven-of-seven field goal attempts, four of which came from distances of 48 yards or greater.

Saturday’s game was the first to be played in Edmonton since the team changed its name to ‘Elks’ in . A collection of legendary players headlined by Henry ‘Gizmo’ Williams took part in a ceremony before the game to formalize the transition from the team’s old moniker to its new one.

TSN also did a tribute to Edmonton Elks superfan Brian D. Edwards, who passed away in July. You can watch the video by clicking here and we’d encourage you to do so — it was brilliantly done.