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Winnipeg Blue Bombers Top Ottawa Redblacks 25-16 for First Win of CFL Season

July 5, 2024 10:42 PM | The Canadian Press

By Judy Owen, The Canadian Press

Chris Streveler - Brady Oliveira

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Chris Streveler (17) hands off to Brady Oliveira (20) during first-half CFL action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Winnipeg Friday, July 5, 2024. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

Brady Oliveira was thrilled the Blue Bombers picked up their first win of the season, but the way they did it brought extra satisfaction.

Oliveira and quarterback Chris Streveler combined for 208 yards rushing to help propel Winnipeg to a 25-16 win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Friday.

“Man, that feels good,” Oliveira said. “When you truly go out there and fight every single play, all three phases going out there doing their part, battling, and when you go out there and get a ‘W,’ it feels good.”

Bombers placekicker Sergio Castillo was good on all six of his field-goal attempts, including a pair from 53 yards. Winnipeg improved to 1-4 while Ottawa fell to 2-2.

Oliveira had 23 carries for 129 yards and five catches for 37 yards in front of 28,719 happy fans at Princess Auto Stadium.

Streveler, who was starting at quarterback in place of the injured Zach Collaros, rushed 13 times for 79 yards and one touchdown. He was 13-of-21 passing for 127 yards and no interceptions in his first start since October 2019.

“It’s fun, man,” Streveler said of teaming up with Oliveira in the ground attack. “To know that we’re both going to put our bodies on the line to move the football and to win games, it’s exciting.

“And I can’t say enough about the way our offensive line responded. We challenged them this week to be physical, and they were physical.”

Redblacks starting quarterback Dru Brown was injured late in the second quarter and didn’t return. He was hit by Bombers defensive back Redha Kramdi, who was called for roughing the passer.

Dustin Crum replaced Brown and completed eight of 11 pass attempts for 102 yards with one interception.

Ottawa head coach Bob Dyce said Brown was “functioning normally” but didn’t know when he’d be ready to play again.

“When it comes to concussion protocol or anything like that, you go through the process,” Dyce said. “But you’re never going to try and predict what the situation is.

“If it is a concussion, everyone handles them differently so I can’t tell you anything on that.”

He didn’t like Kramdi’s hit.

“It seemed to me to be someone leading with their head on a player who was defenceless, but I can’t control that,” Dyce said.

Crum was disappointed he couldn’t help the team pull out a win for Brown, who was Winnipeg’s backup quarterback the previous three seasons.

He didn’t think Kramdi was intentionally trying to hurt Brown.

“I don’t think it was dirty, I think it was a football play,” Crum said. “I mean things happen so fast out there, I understand it. I argue with guys all the time, sometimes that’s why I don’t like to slide almost because you kind of are putting yourself into the hands of the defence.”

Running back Ryquell Armstead scored a four-yard TD for the Redblacks. Ottawa kicker Lewis Ward connected on field goals from 18, 51 and 35 yards and had one convert.

Castillo booted his other field goals from 28, 13, 49 and 18 yards and made one convert.

Dyce lamented his team’s two fumbles and the one pick. Winnipeg had no turnovers, but took eight penalties for 95 yards. Ottawa was flagged five times for 52 yards.

The game was tied 3-3 after the first quarter and the Bombers led 13-3 at halftime and 19-10 heading into the fourth.

Castillo booted a 28-yarder on Winnipeg’s first possession at 5:55, a drive that included a designed run play by Streveler on third-and-two that went for a 27-yard gain.

Ward and Castillo exchanged field goals to make it 6-3.

Winnipeg put together a run-based 11-play, 70-yard touchdown drive capped by Streveler’s one-yard push over the goal line at 12:51. Oliveira rushed for 53 of those yards, including a 26-yard gain.

The Redblacks responded by getting down to Winnipeg’s 21-yard line, but Armstead fumbled a lateral pass from Crum and Bombers defensive back Evan Holm recovered.

Ottawa opened the second half with another fumble, this one by Crum after Bombers defensive end Willie Jefferson knocked the ball loose and recovered it near midfield. The turnover ended with Castillo’s 13-yard field goal at 8:15.

Crum marched the Redblacks down for Armstead’s TD run at 12:51 to make it 16-10.

After Castillo booted a 53-yarder with three seconds left in the third quarter, Crum was intercepted by Bombers defensive back Terrell Bonds but Winnipeg couldn’t capitalize.

Oliveira sat out a few plays late in the third quarter, but returned to action in the fourth because he said he didn’t want to let his teammates down. He didn’t explain the injury.

Castillo and Ward each had a pair of field goals to account for the fourth-quarter scoring.


Bombers: Host the Calgary Stampeders on July 12.

Redblacks: Play the Elks in Edmonton on July 14.

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