‘TOUGH PILL TO SWAL­LOW’

Sour taste of play­off loss lingers with Red­blacks

Ottawa Sun - - SPORTS - — Tim Baines

Ot­tawa Red­blacks re­ceiver Greg Ellingson limped into a scrum of re­porters on Tues­day — he was forced out of Sun­day’s dis­ap­point­ing 31-20 Cana­dian Foot­ball League East Di­vi­sion semi­fi­nal loss to the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers with a knee in­jury.

Hurt­ing even more, though, was the way his team went down in its big­gest game of the sea­son.

“It’s tough, but they were the bet­ter team that day,” Ellingson said. “They won the day — they moved for­ward and we didn’t. We made some of the mis­takes we’d made all year, we turned the ball over twice in their ter­ri­tory. You can’t do that, es­pe­cially in play­off foot­ball. That’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween win­ning and los­ing.”

“We couldn’t stop the run and we couldn’t get a damn turnover,” said line­backer Tay­lor Reed, a po­ten­tial free agent.

“De­fen­sively, we have to get bet­ter. We have to help our of­fence. We have to cre­ate turnovers and give our of­fence a short field.

“It’s crazy be­cause we’re used to at least go­ing to the fi­nal. This is a tough pill to swal­low, I re­ally be­lieve this team had the tal­ent to go all the way. To play here in Ot­tawa (in the Grey Cup) would have been a dream come true. It’s a young de­fence, these guys are re­ally tal­ented. If we can keep the core here, it should be some­thing special next year. I’d love to be back in Ot­tawa. But I can’t con­trol that.”

Coach Rick Camp­bell tried to ex­plain what went wrong dur­ing a game where Ot­tawa’s of­fence made a cou­ple of back-break­ing mis­takes, plus its de­fence sprung sev­eral leaks.

“We lacked mak­ing the big play,” Camp­bell said. “They cre­ated some turnovers, we didn’t. There were mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties in the game to make some plays to get our­selves back in the game — it just didn’t hap­pen.”

The Red­blacks will re­group — fig­ure out which play­ers they need to re­tain and what fixes they need to get bet­ter for 2018.

Said GM Mar­cel Des­jardins, when asked about his team’s de­fence, in par­tic­u­lar the pass rush: “Did it all come to fruition the way we wanted it to? No.

“But part of the equa­tion is try­ing to cre­ate stuff and be a bit more ag­gres­sive in get­ting to the quar­ter­back. We were up there in the stats in terms of pres­sures, but we weren’t able to fin­ish con­sis­tently, so that’s some­thing we need to work on.”

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Red­blacks head coach Rick Camp­bell ar­rives to take part in an end of sea­son me­dia avail­abil­ity in Ot­tawa yes­ter­day fol­low­ing Sun­day’s loss.

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