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RedBlacks edge Eskimos in Emotional Contest

Henry Burris goes off on his critics at half-time while leading his team to victory.


The defending Grey Cup champion Eskimos come into this game on a 2-game losing streak, desperate to turn things around while the RedBlacks come into the game off of home loss to the Toronto Argonauts. Both teams come into this game raring to go and somebody’s losing streak was bound to end. Both teams come in with very hot offenses so defense and special teams would be a key factor in this game.

Ottawa’s first drive looked promising before stalling out deep in Edmonton territory. A 17-yard field goal by Chris Milo ensured the RedBlacks at least got a 3-0 lead out of their first possession.
The Eskimos did not score on their first possession.

The rest of the first quarter was dominated by the defense as the only other points came from when the RedBlacks conceded a safety to the Eskimos to make it a 3-2 game heading into the second quarter.

Later on in the second quarter, Henry Burris showed off his arm on a touchdown drive for the RedBlacks that included a 43 and 21 yard completions to Greg Ellingson. The drive culminated with a 20 yard touchdown pass to Ernest Jackson and after the Chris Milo convert the score was 10-2.

A single by the Eskimos on their next drive made the score 10-3.

After forcing Ottawa to punt on their next possession the Eskimos went on a good drive of their own that ended up stalling at the Ottawa 25-yard line. The subsequent 33-yard field goal made it a 10-6 game and had the Eskimos right back in the game.

The score would remain 10-6 heading into half-time.

An interesting wrinkle was added to this game at half-time. Henry Burris, never one to mince words, sounded off on his critics, making sure to call out some on-air personalities at Canadian sports network TSN in a heated conversation that went live across Canada on national television and various carriers of games the world over. Burris has never been one to shy away from the media in his career and hopefully his team would use his passion as a rallying point going into the second half.

After the defenses were locking it down to start the second half, the Eskimos were able to break through and get the first points of the half. This time coming off of the foot of Sean Whyte who blasted a 52-yard field goal through the uprights.

Ottawa was able to respond on their next drive as the squeezed in a late 25-yard field goal by Chris Milo for a 13-9 lead heading into the fourth and final quarter.

An early 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter by Sean Whyte made it a one point game with a 13-12 score line.

Ottawa had a chance to add to their lead but a field goal attempt was missed by Chris Milo to give the Eskimos another chance.
On Ottawa’s next drive, a Henry Burris pass intended for Chris Williams bounced off of his hands and bounced high into the waiting hands of Edmonton defender J.C. Sheritt who was able to return the ball 43 yards to the end zone. The Eskimos were able to get a 2-point convert pass to Chris Getzlaf and now the Eskimos had a 20-13 lead.

The RedBlacks did not seem to be fazed by the shocking interception. Henry Burris marched his team right back down the field putting together a 7 play touchdown drive that culminated with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chris Williams. After the convert kick by Chris Milo the RedBlacks found themselves tied with the Eskimos at 20-20.

On their very next play from scrimmage, a Mike Reilly pass attempt was picked off by Jermaine Robinson and was returned 48 yards. 2 plays later the RedBlacks had the ball through the uprights from 25-yards out for a late 23-20 lead.

Edmonton was now in desperation mode to get down the field and tie the game. Unfortunately for the Eskimos at the most important time of the game their series failed, only getting 1 first down before turning the ball over on a late Third Down incompletion to seal an important 23-20 Ottawa victory.

This was an important win for Ottawa that vaults them over the Toronto Argonauts for top spot in the East and also ties them with the Calgary Stampeders for first overall in the CFL.

Even with Henry Burris’ emotional half-time interview, the team never wavered in their belief to win and had an answer all night for anything the Eskimos threw at them while still holding them off late. Henry Burris silenced his critics in the win going 26/39 for 341 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.

This loss continues the troubling play as of late for the Eskimos and while it was a close game late there were some defining trends. The Eskimos did not score an offensive touchdown in this game and relied on the kickers for the rest of their points. Their offensive play must improve in order to get their season back on track after a third consecutive loss for the defending champions. Mike Reilly went 25/41 for 255 yards with no touchdowns and 1 interception.

The Eskimos head home to host the Alouettes on August 11th at 9:00pm EST while the RedBlacks head into a bye-week.


Riccardo Di Stefano

RealSport's Lead CFL writer and also a contributor of NHL content. Riccardo currently pursues many media interests as a freelance Master Control Operator for Bell Media in Canada while also running his own, now affiliated stream on Twitch at Twitch.tv/RicD55.

RedBlacks edge Eskimos in Emotional Contest

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