The CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks opened up their 2022 season in Winnipeg on Friday night against the defending grey cup champions, Winnipeg Blue Bombers. After winning just 6 games combined over the past two CFL seasons, Ottawa’s one goal and plan for this season is to flip the script, to get back on the positive side. Despite losing the game 19-17, on the last Blue Bombers drive of the game, it looks as if the Redblacks are right on pace to do exactly what they hope to, in flipping the script.
This off-season, the Redblacks acquired general manager Shawn Burke who made a lot of major changes to the roster. Of them all, the biggest change came from the quarterback position with veteran quarterback Jeremiah Masoli now calling the shots under centre for Ottawa. In his first regular season game in red and black Masoli showed a lot of great things, and previewed what the rest of the season could look like for the Redblacks.
He threw for 380 yards and one score. His favourite target of the night was his former teammate in Hamilton Jaelon Acklin who caught 6 of 8 targets for 143 yards. Darvin Adams caught 7 passes for 71 yards while Canadian pass catchers Shaq Johnson, Marco Dubois and Nate Behar combined for 147 receiving yards. Unfortunately the pass game was the only thing that worked for the Redblacks offence though. Head coach and play caller Paul LaPolice called 20 run plays which gained just 61 yards. Considering the pass game was very much alive, getting the run game involved with Will Powell, and Jackson Bennett moving forward can help the Redblacks score points, the one thing that they struggled to do offensively in week one.
On the defensive side of the ball, a lot went well. Like it was for the Redblacks, Winnipeg’s run game was non existent, their leading rusher was Brady Olivera with just 17 yards on 10 carries. Blue Bombers quarterbacks were held to 239 passing yards, and Sherrod Baltimore was able to get himself a fumble recovery which was perfect for Mike Benevides’ defence, however one thing that put the Redblacks out of the game at the end was the two touchdowns given up. With the offence only scoring one touchdown and kicking three field goals themselves, Winnipeg’s two touchdowns and two field goals put the Redblacks behind at the end of the game, resulting in a loss unfortunately.
The Ottawa Redblacks will get the opportunity to finish what they started this upcoming Friday at TD Place in Ottawa as they kickoff against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers yet again. If they are able to do what they did in the season opener, while fixing what went wrong as well, it may be a big night in Ottawa to kickoff a successful season at home.