Red­blacks’ Grey Cup ride over

Sloppy play a ma­jor fac­tor in Ot­tawa’s ti­tle reign end­ing

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page - Sun­day at td Place

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 ex­cuse. 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.

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

Justin tang/the Cana­dian Press

Roughrid­ers’ Bakari Grant jumps past the Red­blacks’ Sher­rod Bal­ti­more dur­ing the Eastern semi­fi­nal on Sun­day at Lans­downe Park.

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