Walk-off field goal gives REDBLACKS narrow victory over Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Ottawa REDBLACKS were due for a win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and they got just that on Sunday night at TD Place Stadium. The REDBLACKS came out on top 24-22 in a hard-fought battle to keep the Ticats winless in 2024, and snap a 10-game losing streak against the Tabbies.

Lewis Ward‘s walk-off field goal was the difference as Ottawa ended the drought against their East Division counterpart, not having defeated Hamilton since the 2018 postseason.

Ottawa’s Dru Brown compiled 265 yards through the air and a touchdown pass to Justin Hardy. Jaelon Acklin led the way for the receiving group with seven catches for 90 yards.

On the other end, Bo Levi-Mitchell had 322 passing yards and two touchdown passes. Tim White finished the game with a touchdown catch, eight receptions, and 118 receiving yards.

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DeVonte Dedmon

DeVonte Dedmon fumbled on the game’s opening kickoff, giving the Tiger-Cats strong field positioning to begin the game. On second down, Mitchell found White in the end zone to give the Ticats a very early 7-0 lead just over a minute into the contest.

A 43-yard return for Dedmon on his second return of the evening helped the REDBLACKS on their next drive. Ryquell Armstead’s 25-yard catch-and-run got Ottawa just outside Hamilton’s end zone and then Dustin Crum ran the football in from the one-yard line. Ward missed his attempted kick, leaving the score at 7-6.

Later in the first quarter, a 34-yard pickup by Hardy propelled the REDBLACKS downfield. Ward’s field goal from 34 yards out was good to give the home team their first lead at 9-7.

With time winding down in the first frame, the Ticats looked to answer back. A 16-yard reception from Mitchell to White started the drive, with a 9-yard run from Hamilton’s quarterback giving the visitors a fresh set of downs at Ottawa’s 42-yard line. Switching sides of the field at the onset of the second quarter, the Ticats were forced to settle for a field goal after a couple of incompletions. Marc Liegghio‘s kick put his team back into the lead at 10-9.

A couple of strikes from Brown to Acklin brough the REDBLACKS into scoring range on their final drive of the first half. Brown looked his way once more on second-and-long, Acklin drew a pass interference call against Richard Leonard in the end zone. After a challenge from Tiger-Cats head coach Scott Milanovich, the call was overturned. Instead of setting up from the one-yard line, the REDBLACKS instead had to go for a field goal. Ward’s attempt from 36 was good to put the hosts up 12-10 at the half.

Mitchell came out of the dressing room searching for his favourite target in White. On the first play of the second half, the receiver caught the ball but coughed it up. Tuck was able to recover the football to give the Ticats 20 yards. On the next play, Mitchell connected with Steven Dunbar Jr. for the first time in the game, gaining 39 yards to bring the Tabbies just outside of the red zone. The Ticats offence was stopped there though, as Lorenzo Mauldin IV sacked Mitchell for a seven-yard loss. Liegghio’s field goal from 36 yards out was a hit to give the Ticats a 13-12 advantage.

After the Ticats defence forced Ottawa into punts on three consecutive drives to start the half, Mitchell led his offence to another scoring drive after feeding Kiondre Smith and Dunbar with first-down catches. Mitchell missed the mark when looking White’s way in the end zone, meaning the Ticats had to go for a field goal on third down. Liegghio’s attempt from 28 yards was a success to give the away team a 16-12 lead.

A big 28-yard play to Acklin got Ottawa motoring on the game’s next drive but that possession would be limited to just four plays after Armstead came up short of a first down in Hamilton territory. Ward’s 42-yard field goal made it a one-point game with 10:56 to go in the ballgame.

After three scoreless drives, Dedmon delivered another deadly punt return to bring Brown and the REDBLACKS offence to Hamilton’s 54 just prior to the three-minute warning. Armstead broke free for consecutive 14 and 17-yard rushes up the middle to push the REDBLACKS into the red zone. Brown locked in on Hardy who was free in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown. Rhymes couldn’t bring down Brown’s throw when Ottawa went for the two-point conversion, leaving the score at 21-16 with two minutes on the clock.

As time winded down, Mitchell had to try and manufacture a game-winning drive. With 57 seconds remaining, Mitchell got the ball to Dunbar for a 22-yard catch to bring the Ticats to Ottawa’s 10. Shemar Bridges got loose on the right side of the end zone to restore his team’s one-point advantage, with the two-point conversion unsuccessful.

Needing to put points on the board with just 18 seconds to go, the REDBLACKS marched down the field courtesy of clutch catches from Acklin and then Addison. On the final play of the game, Ward called game with a successful 46-yard field goal to give Ottawa their first win over Hamilton since 2018.

Next up, the Ottawa REDBLACKS travel to Winnipeg to face the Blue Bombers on Friday, July 5 in Week 5. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will return home to battle against the BC Lions on Sunday, July 7.

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