After blowing a 20-point second-half lead, the Ottawa Redblacks bounced back in overtime to complete one of the biggest upsets in Grey Cup history.
The Calgary Stampeders stormed back from a 27-7 second-half deficit, including down 10 with two minutes remaining, to force overtime. However, the Redblacks maintained their composure to earn the go-ahead touchdown on this play, via TSN:
Ernest Jackson comes up with a huge juggling touchdown in overtime! A defensive stop wins the game! #GreyCup https://t.co/nXyUV6e3wN2016-11-28 03:18:13
A defensive stop on the next possession helped Ottawa earn a 39-33 overtime victory, winning the franchise's first title.
Per Odds Shark, Calgary entered as a 9.5-point favorite after earning a 15-2-1 record during the regular season, but the Redblacks showed why a team plays the game with their impressive upset victory.
Andrew Bucholtz of Yahoo summed up the action in the game:
Andrew Bucholtz @AndrewBucholtz
This game, man, this game. This is one of the best #GreyCup games I've ever seen. #CFL2016-11-28 03:00:28
Henry Burris was an absolute star for the Redblacks despite coming into the game with a knee injury. He finished with 461 passing yards and three passing touchdowns plus two rushing scores in the win. He was named MVP after the game, per the CFL's official Twitter account.
Kevin Smith of Global TV summed up the performance for the veteran:
Kevin Smith @Global_Smith
I've watched Henry Burris play for 20 yrs Never seen him play better. Age 41? Incredible. @REDBLACKS #Redblacks #Ottawa #Burris #GreyCup2016-11-28 01:44:23
Four different receivers had over 80 receiving yards, while Forrest Hightower came up big defensively with two interceptions.
Bo Levi Mitchell had 391 passing yards and two touchdowns for Calgary, but his three picks doomed the squad offensively.
Despite pregame expectations, the Redblacks seemed likely to pull away for a relatively easy win up 27-7 in the second half. The Stampeders then inched back with a field goal but earned a big momentum shift on this bizarre touchdown, via TSN:
The @calstampeders inch closer on a potential #TSNTurningPoint! Lemar Durant avoids contact and takes it 33 yards to the house! #GreyCup https://t.co/0aIaICqoWx2016-11-28 02:05:39
Lemar Durant was untouched by the defenders and alertly scrambled into the end zone to cut the lead to 10.
Calgary kept the comeback going with a touchdown on the next drive. The one-yard run by Andrew Buckley into the end zone came after a Redblacks pass interference in the end zone. Even after a missed extra point, the squad remained in good position down only 27-23.
A fourth-quarter interception seemed destined to create the first lead change of the game, but Ottawa finally stopped the bleeding with a defensive stop. Six plays later, Burris was able to charge into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the game.
However, the Stamps showed why they were the best team in the CFL this season by continuing to fight back. Rookie of the Year DaVaris Daniels took a jet sweep into the end zone to cut the lead to 33-30. After a successful onside kick, the squad tied things up with a field goal with nine seconds remaining.
As StatsCentre noted, this put the game in rare territory:
#Stampeders score 10 pts in final 1:46 to force OT for only the 3rd time in #GreyCup history. Others: 2005 (EDM def MTL), 1961 (WPG def HAM)2016-11-28 03:09:35
Even with the odds going against them, the Redblacks were able to score in the first portion of overtime. Three incomplete passes by Mitchell then helped Ottawa take home the coveted Grey Cup.
Burris was excellent in the game despite major question marks whether he would even be able to play Sunday night, as described by Gary Lawless of TSN:
gary lawless @garylawless
Henry Burris @REDBLACKS qb took "a myriad of treatments," says GM Marcel Desjardins and had his knee frozen before coming to field @cfl #cfl2016-11-27 23:52:48
Despite this, he began the game as well as possible with a touchdown on the opening drive. Rahul Vaidyanath of the Epoch Times broke down the bizarre start:
Rahul Vaidyanath @RV_ETSports
so Burris goes from limping off field, his likelihood of playing being questioned, runs in #GreyCup 1st TD - impressive #Redblacks #CFL2016-11-27 23:53:38
Calgary responded with a Jerome Messam seven-yard receiving touchdown, but an Ottawa field goal helped the underdogs finish the first quarter with a 10-7 lead.
A jump pass by Burris helped extend the lead to 17-7, via TSN:
CFL on TSN @CFLonTSN
Patrick Lavoie puts the @REDBLACKS up 10 points with a 6-yard touchdown reception! 17-7 in the second quarter. #GreyCup https://t.co/4oNPh6y2Vr2016-11-28 00:43:02
Heath Brown of CTV described the situation for the Stampeders:
Heath Brown @Habrown_10
The Stampeders had better start playing like they're the best team in the league before it's too late!!2016-11-28 00:43:23
Losing receiver Marquay McDaniel to a shoulder injury further compounded the problems. Adding this to three first-half turnovers, and Calgary trailed 20-7 at halftime, Burris totaling 266 passing yards in the process.
The onslaught continued in the second half, with the Redblacks easily driving down the field on the first possession of the third quarter. Burris eventually found Brad Sinopoli, who backed into the end zone to help his team go up 27-7.
Kate Beirness of Sportscentre was one of many admitting her shock from the score:
Kate Beirness @KateBeirness
Guilty ✋🏻.... thought the stamps would run away with this .... what a performance by Smilin Hank!!!!! Putting on a clinic!! #GreyCup2016-11-28 01:36:40
Calgary did not go away easily, though, which should have been expected after the year it had.
The Stampeders overcame the 20-point deficit to force overtime, but it was the Redblacks who were able to close out the win.
While Calgary seemed destined to start a dynasty, Ottawa shocked the world with its first championship in franchise history (not counting the Rough Riders). After falling short in the Grey Cup a year ago, the squad was able to improve upon its finish with an impressive run to the championship.
With plenty of talent and confidence, this squad could be back for more next season.
Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of excitement in the Redblacks' locker room after the game as they celebrated their championship, via the CFL's Twitter account:
We got champagne problems in the @REDBLACKS locker-room!! The best kind! 🍾🍾🍾 #GreyCup https://t.co/9mAtUXHqgH2016-11-28 04:03:49
As for the 41-year-old quarterback, Burris clarified his situation coming into the game, per The Canadian Press (via Yahoo Sports):
There was almost a situation where I wasn't able to play today. My knee locked up on me before the game, I mean I wouldn't have been able to accept that.
But you know what? For all those haters out there, their organizations haven't won a Grey Cup in decades, but ours, in three years, here we are, Grey Cup champions.
As general manager Marcel Desjardins noted, "Hank led the way today," per CFL on TSN.
Burris is the oldest quarterback ever to win a Grey Cup, but he looked like a man in his prime during this impressive win.
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