The final game in Week 8 of the CFL season saw Ottawa flip the script and win their first game in 2022. A desperate REDBLACKS team topped the Toronto Argonauts 23-13 at BMO Field to improve their record to 1-6. The now 3-3 Argos had the early advantage but failed to put Ottawa away before the end of the half. It opened the door for the REDBLACKS to rally and take control of the game. Ottawa scored 17 unanswered points to get a much-needed divisional victory.
The theme of the game was Toronto not being able to match Ottawa’s energy and drive. They wanted the game more. Thanks to great defensive play that shut down Andrew Harris and the Argos’ ground attack. And timely plays by Caleb Evans and Jaelon Acklin. Ottawa is back in the race in the East.
Ottawa 1-6 will head home and host the 4-2 Calgary Stampeders this Friday night. Toronto will try and regroup as they are home again next Saturday at BMO to face Eastern nemesis, the 2-5 Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The first of four meetings between the two rivals in the next five weeks.
CFL Week 8 Game Recap: REDBLACKS @ Argonauts
Toronto quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson would throw a near pick-six to start the game’s opening offensive series. On a pass intended for Andrew Harris, Ottawa DB Sherrod Baltimore would break up the play, and the ball would float into the hands of Avery Williams, who nearly corraled it. MBT and the Argos would dodge an early bullet and punt the ball away.
On the REDBLACKS’ first possession, Ottawa would quickly move into Argonauts territory, thanks to a quick-hitting 46-yard pass completion by Cale Evans to Jaelon Acklin. Toronto’s defense would hold, but the big play would result in the game’s first score. A 45-yard Lewis Ward field goal gave Ottawa the early 3-0 lead.
Toronto would respond with a field goal drive on their next possession. After two first-down completions that netted the Boatmen 35 yards. It appeared that the Argos would convert a third deep into Ottawa territory. But a Kurleigh Gittens Jr. completion was overruled by replay. As a result, Toronto would settle for a 42-yard Boris Bede field goal to tie the game at 3.
Both teams would trade punts on their next offensive possessions. Ottawa would get things going late in the first quarter when Jaelon Acklin would make a big play once again. This time, a twenty-yard catch and run. The REDBLACKS would drive near the red zone, but Toronto’s defense would force them to settle for another Lewis Ward field goal. This time from 31 yards out to give Ottawa a 6-3 lead.
Toronto would respond to the go-ahead score by driving into Ottawa territory. But a second and one procedure penalty at the REDBLACKS 35, followed by a Lorenzo Mauldin sack, led to the Argos punting the ball away from the 47-yard line.
A well-executed John Haggerty punt would pin the Redblacks deep inside their 10-yard line. A quick two and out by Ottawa’s offense would see the Argonauts’ offense get the ball back near midfield.
Despite allowing another sack on offense, this time by Redblacks DT Davon Coleman. Facing a second and 16, McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Kurleigh Gittens would hook for a 17-yard gain. MBT would connect with Kurleigh Gittens on two more completions down to Ottawa’s 29-yard line. One play later, Thompson would hook up with Brandon Banks on a beautiful 29-yard touchdown pass and grab. Banks would track the over-the-shoulder pass into the sun and haul it in to give Toronto a 10-6 lead.
A 30-yard Terry Williams kick return would put Ottawa near midfield on their next series after the Argos score. But a Shane Ray sack would force a Redblacks punt.
With the Argos up four as the three-minute warning approached. Toronto’s offense would pick up three first downs on the ground to kick start a long, methodical 14-play drive. A red hot Mcleod Bethel- Thompson would complete his 12th straight completion to get Toronto down to the 30-yard line. But the drive would stall on second and long when Lorenzo Mauldin nearly picked up his second sack of the first half, forcing Thompson to run for a short gain. Boris Bede would come on to connect on his second field from 32 yards to extend Toronto’s lead 13-6.
With under a minute left in the first half, Ottawa’s offense would quickly come to life using a no-huddle attack that surprisingly took a sleep-walking Argos defense by surprise.
It would take the REDBLACKS only four plays to drive 70 yards and score their first major of the game. Caleb Evans would find four different receivers on the drive. But the last one was their best option, Jaelon Acklin, for a thirty-yard touchdown pass. Evans made it happen, escaping the pocket and finding his favored target wide open in the end zone. The REDBLACKS’ response would tie the game at 13 going into the half.
Ottawa would carry the momentum from the end of the first half to the third quarter with a terrific opening drive. Using a balanced attack, speared on by a 20-yard William Powell run, the Redblacks would drive down to Toronto’s 14-yard line. The Argos’ defense would keep Ottawa out of the end zone on the series, but a short Lewis Ward field goal would regain the lead for the REDBLACKS.
Now up 16-13, the game’s momentum would stay on Ottawa’s side when Lorenzo Mauldin forced an Andrew Harris fumble at midfield using his helmet to ar the ball loose. Patrick Levels would recover the loose ball and put Ottawa’s offense back to work.
The Boatmen’s defense would stem the tide of the game when a Shawn Oakman sack on second and long led to a Richie Leone put. However, the Argos’ offense would fail to mount a scoring drive in response, and Toronto would get near midfield before punting the football back to Ottawa.
As the third quarter ended, Ottawa picked up two critical first downs. On a third and one QB sneak by Tyrie Adams at their 28. And then a 21-yard pass play by Caleb Evans to Ryan Davis.
Ottawa’s offense would drive to midfield, but Toronto’s defense would force another Redblacks punt.
With Toronto down three, McLeod Bethel-Thompson would connect with Markeith Ambles on a 33-yard corner route to pick up the first down.
But two straight deep shots would misfire; the second miss was nearly a touchdown score to Cam Phillips down the middle of the field. Toronto would end up punting the football away.
The Argos misstep would open the door for more Jaelon Acklin theatrics. The Argo killer would have two nifty receptions for 35 yards to up his game total to 144.
On a key second and long, the REDBLACKS would convert a second and long thanks to a determined Nate Behar catch and run, where he broke several tackles for the first down.
Toronto’s defense would stiffen up and force a field goal. However, Wynton McManis would be flagged for throwing away William Powell’s cleat after the play. Ottawa would shoe in the gift with a seven-yard touchdown pass by Evans to Nate Behar to give them a two-score lead with under 7 minutes left.
Toronto would lose their cool after the penalty and commit two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the extra point try for insulting the officiating crew.
Down 23-13, the Argos would get the ball with 6 minutes left in the game. But they would quickly punt the ball away after a Bryce Carter sack on second down.
Toronto’s defense would get their offense the football back after a Shane Ray sack. But with only three minutes remaining, down ten.
Completing the theme of the day for both teams. Toronto’s offense would falter with two drops down the field. The REDBLACKS, the team that wanted it more, gets their first victory of the season in the battle of Ontario. Ottawa’s first win in Toronto since 2016.
CFL Week 8 Final Score: Ottawa REDBLACKS 23 Toronto Argonauts 13
FG MISSED RETURNS
|GITTENS JR., Kurleigh||1||10||10.0||10||0|
|GITTENS JR., Kurleigh||6||8||84||41||14.0||22||0|
|GITTENS JR., Kurleigh||3||45||15.0||25||0|
FG MISSED RETURNS