Game #4; LeFevour Reams Redblacks

By: Santino Filoso

Ottawa Redblacks v Hamilton Tiger-Cats

On Saturday night, in front of a small but rambunctious crowd at McMaster’s Ron Joyce Stadium, and playing a winless Ticats team without their starting QB, the Redblacks wasted a golden opportunity to even their record at .500.

Pre-Game:

– It was Henry Burris’ 190th CFL start and his first against the Ticats since being released in the off-season after leading them to the Grey Cup, other ex-Ticats looking to have a big game included RB Chevon Walker (#29) and WR Matt Carter (#85)

1st Quarter:

– Brett Maher (#3) kicks off for the Redblacks and 1st round pick Antoine Pruneau (#6) quickly makes the tackle

– The Ticats come out roaring and after a 23 yard pass, QB Dan LeFevour flips a reverse to WR Brandon Banks who tiptoes 53 yards down the sideline for a TD, 7-0 for the McMaster Marauders

High stepping his way to a TD
High stepping his way to a TD

– Burris rumbles 20 yards on the Redblacks first play from scrimmage as the Redblacks answer the quick score with a long 14 play drive that features runs by Walker and DJ Harper (#28), and catches by Kierrie Johnson (#10), John Delahunt (#49), Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) and a 10 yard TD catch from a diving Matt Carter (#85)

Matt Carter, Craig Butler

– Dan “Spider Legs” LeFevour gallops up the middle of the field for an easy 34 yard gain before CJ Gable rushes 47 yards into the end zone, restoring the Ticats 7 point lead

Lerunning
LeRunning

– Justin “Captain” Phillips gets his leg rolled up on during the ensuing kick return and breaks his fibula, all of Ottawa (specifically Arnprior) weeps, even though the man himself doesn’t

phillips

2nd Quarter:

– Burris connects with Henry² for a 19 yard TD

h2td

– DB Jovon Johnson (#2) proves that the Redblacks defense isn’t entirely allergic to tackling and sacks LeFevour

jjsack

– Maher fakes the punt and hits FB Patrick Lavoie for a 25 yard completion on 3rd and 10, making it three straight games that the Redblacks have faked a punt

– Despite back to back catches by Walker, the Redblacks drive stalls at the Ticat 3 yard line, so they settle for a 10 yard Maher FG

– LeFevour and Gable continue to run wild through sloppy Redblacks tackles and the Justin Medlock splits the uprights from 12 yards out to tie the game at 17

LeRunning Part 2: LeForce
LeRunning Part 2: LeForce

– Henry² continues his night of dominance and makes another first down catch

– Burris’ streak of 144 passes without an interception ends when his deep pass intended for Dobson Collins (#80) is picked off; it was slightly underthrown but Collins make zero effort to battle back for position on the ball

– Using both his arms and legs, LeFevour moves the Ticats into position for a field goal as the half expires, ending the half with a 20-17 lead courtesy of a 36 yard Medlock FG

3rd Quarter:

– Redblacks receive the ball to start the half but quickly go two and out

– Wallace Miles (#84) makes his first catch as a Redblack, picking up 17 yards and putting the Redblacks in field goal range

– Maher’s 38 yard FG attempt is good

– Dan “Houdini” LeFevour avoids getting sacked in a collapsing pocket and strolls around until he spots a wide open Cary Koch 49 yards down field

– Ticats take the lead off an 18 yard Medlock field goal

– Redblacks go two and out and Maher booms a 50 yard punt to the Hamilton 22

– On a 28 yard LeFevour scramble, Ticats WR Andy Fantuz ear holes Brandyn Thompson (#25), knocking him into early next week

– Eric Fraser (#7) fails to get to LeFevour on the safety blitz, stop me if you’ve heard this one before….

– Jovon Johnson makes an incredible individual effort and rips the ball out of Koch’s hands to pick off LeFevour, unfortunately the Redblacks offense chooses to look a gift horse in the mouth

– Kierrie Johnson is seen on the sidelines icing his forearm

4th Quarter:

– Henry² x3 for gains of 27, 17 and 14 yards respectively

– Following a Burris sack, Maher boots a 24 yard FG to tie the game up at 23

– Gable cuts Redblacks defense like Big Joe splits watermelons and bursts 82 yards until he is horse collar tackled by DB Jerrell Gavins (#24)

C.J. Gable
You’re gonna have a bad time when your entire defense tails the running back

– Dan “The Specialist” LeFevour sneaks the ball in from 1 yard out to put the Ticats up 30-23 with 5:04 left in the game

Dan LeFevour

– The Redblacks drive bogs down at midfield and on 3rd and 2 Head Coach Rick Campbell decides to gamble and go for it with 2:31 remaining; Burris’ pass is tipped at the line and despite getting a hand on it Paris Jackson (#19) fails to make the catch

– LeFevour uses LeLegs to move the Ticats into range for another FG

Final Score: 33-23 for LeTicats

Key Stats:

Burris went 27 of 44 for 290 yards (2 TDs & 1 INT)

Walker had 8 carries for 37 yards

Henry² made 10 catches for 137 yards (1 TD)

Jerrell Gavins made 6 tackles

Closing Thoughts:

In a game where the Redblacks offense finally came to life, the defense that had been so stout the past few weeks came apart at the seams as Dan LeFevour stole the show with 470 yards of total offense (361 passing yards and 109 rushing yards). The Redblacks offense ran through Henry² on a night when Walker and the run game was shut down. Every catch Henry² made went for a first down but the Redblacks receivers as a group still need to do more as they left several plays out on the field due to drops. The defense was plagued with poor tackling and stubborn coaching decisions, ex: Continuing to blitz the safety even after repeating being burned on screens and dump offs. If the Redblacks are going to win games they simply cannot have their defense giving up 7 plays of 20+ yards per game. Adding insult to injury is the loss of Special Teams Captain Justin Phillips, who will miss significant time as he recovers from a broken fibula; WR Kierrie Johnson also left the game with an injury though the severity as of right now is still unknown. Some will point the finger to Coach Campbell’s decision to go for it on 3rd and 2 with two minutes remaining but personally I like the decision and agree with his logic.

“We had the ball at midfield, we were down by seven,” said Campbell. “I thought it was a good opportunity to stay on the field. It didn’t work out. We’re preaching to our players that we’re playing to win the game.”

Losing to an Eastern opponent stings, especially one without that was previously winless and without their starting QB but the Redblacks don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves with the Fake Riders coming to town next week. Maybe a little bit of love from R-Nation and a change of uniform is all they need to get back on track, after all, we’ve undefeated when we wear black.

@RedBlackGade

P.S. Cool to see the Redblacks twitter using the Henry² nickname, but don’t forget that you read it here first, way back in the pre-season!

-All images via CFL.ca, the Ottawa Sun and the Ottawa Citizen

Advertisements

Game #3; TD Place Comes to Life as the Redblacks Edge the Argos

By: Santino Filoso

10409542_797915156914822_7408729440577731666_n

On Friday night, after 3177 days (but who’s counting), CFL football returned to Ottawa with a roar. R-Nation unleashed nine years of pent up energy as the Redblacks survived a tight 18-17 defensive battle to get their 1st win of the season and 1st win at home in dramatic fashion.

Pre-Game:

– Ottawa was buzzing all week but the vibe around the city really started to peak Friday morning with the CFL, City Hall, Senators, former players and even bus drivers getting in on the action

– Fans arrive at TD Place via bus, boat, bike and car with varying degrees of traffic

– The Trews serenade “tailgating” Redblacks fans hanging out beside the Aberdeen Pavilion

– Legendary Rough Rider Tony Gabriel runs around the field to amp up the crowd

From the way he ran around on the field, Tony looks like he could still lace them up and play
It was awesome to see Gabriel back on a CFL field

– PA announcer Mike Sutherland introduces the Redblacks but nobody feels the need to tell the players milling about inside the helmet to come out, leading to an awkward few minutes of expectation, like that feeling you get when you go to hug someone and they turn their head to the same side

tunnel
Eventually the defense came out but the offense was missing until late in the game

 

– A military jet flys over the stadium twice, because doing it just once is how the Argos score TDs

1st Quarter:

– Argos receiving the opening kick off and proceed to march down the field with a variety of short passes. DB Jerell Gavins (#24) makes a great defensive play to break up an end zone pass intended for Argos WR John Childs.

gavins

– The first points in TD Place history come off the right foot of Swayze “Point Blank” Waters as he nails a 36 yard FG

– Aided by a roughing the passer flag and a few strong runs from Chevon Walker (#29), the Redblacks get into field goal range and kicker Brett Maher hits a 26 yard FG

– WR Kierrie Johnson (#10) gets behind the Argos secondary, Burris spots him and delivers a perfect deep ball that hits him in the hands, unfortunately the pass is dropped and the Redblacks miss out on a sure touchdown

– Redblacks are forced to punt following a Burris sack

– Argos RB Steve Slaton rumbles for 14 yards to end the quarter, TD Place announcer calls him Steve Sultan for the first but definitely not last time of the evening

2nd Quarter:

– Swayze “Road House” Waters punts 65 yards for a rouge

– Carlton Mitchell (#88) goes over the middle and gets absolutely blasted by Dwight Anderson who is flagged for unnecessary roughness. The hit looks clean in the sense that Anderson never makes contact with Mitchell’s head but the zebra man has spoken, +15 yards to the Redblacks

– Brett “I Can Do It All” Maher fakes the punt on 3rd and 10, scrambling 15 yards for a 1st down

– Long catches by Johnson and Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) bring the Redblacks to the Argos 23; Maher makes a 30 yard FG

– Ray completes a 45 yard pass but is sacked on the next play by new Dad (make sure you say congrats!) Justin Capicciotti (#93)

– Swayze “Dirty Dancing” Waters makes a 40 yard FG

– The Redblacks offensive line plays dodgeball with the Argos’ defensive one which results in Burris getting sacked

burrissack

– With 2:38 left the Redblacks string together a series of 1st downs thanks to runs by Burris and Walker and catches by Henry² and Johnson

– Maher’s 22 yard FG closes out the half and gives the Redblacks a half-time lead for the third consecutive game

Half-time:

– The Redblacks pay tribute to their past by retiring and honouring former Rough Rider greats Tony Golab, Jim Coode, Bobby Simpson, Gerry Organ, Whit Tucker, Moe “The Toe” Racine, Ronnie Stewart and Russ Jackson. It was a special moment for the guys who were on hand and for the families represnting those who coudn’t be.

Bs3hIQACAAAhk2b
The Redblacks’ retired numbers reflect Ottawa’s storied CFL history

3rd Quarter:

– Redblacks receive the ball to start the 2nd half but quickly go two and out following another Burris sack

– Jovon Johnson (#2) recovers a fumble giving the Redblacks the ball, unfortunately they can’t get any points off the turnover

– Tristan Okpalaugo gets a hat-trick of sacks on Burris, getting to him for the 3rd time

– Brandyn Thompson (#25) picks off Ricky Ray

– Burris hits Dobson Collins (#80) on back to back plays for gains of 15 and 16 yards

collins

– Following a Matt Carter (#85) catch, Maher makes another FG, this time from 32 yards out

– T.J. Hill (#21) blows by the Argos offensive line to sack Ray

4th Quarter:

– Ray throws a 20 yard pass to Darvin Adams, hitting him in stride in the back of the end zone

– Walker sweeps through the Argos defense, weaving 28 yards between would be tacklers

– Thomas DeMarco (#17) punts 20 yards (yes you read that right) when the drive stalls at the Argos 51

– Brandon Lang (#91) bull rushes his way to Ray, sacking him for a 7 yard loss

– Maher makes a 48 yard FG with 5:08 left in the game giving the Redblacks a slim 15-14 lead

– Swayze “Red Dawn” Waters makes a 47 yard FG with 1:33 left in the game giving the Argos a slim 17-15 lead

– After scrambling for a short gain, Burris hits Johnson for a 43 yard completion on 2nd and 10, moving the ball all the way down to the Argos 21 yard line, also known as field goal range

johnsonlatecatch
Kierrie Johnson moves the Redblacks into field goal range and atones for his drop earlier in the game

– Maher is money from 23 yards out, giving the Redblacks a 18-17 lead with 28 seconds left in the game

– Jasper Simmons (#31) seals the deal by picking off a visibly frustrated Ray to end the game

10509530_1502947946608893_4994182886669978316_n

– Eardrums rupture from the frenzied wall of noise being produced by R-Nation, REDBLACKS WIN, REDBLACKS WIN, REDBLACKS WIN!

 Final score: 18-17 for the Redblacks

Key Stats: 

– Burris went 17 of 30 for 216 yards, 0 TDs or INTs

– Walker had 12 carries for 60 yards

– Johnson had 6 catches for 91 yards

– Maher went 6/6 and averaged over 50 yards a punt

– 5 sacks for the Redblacks defense

Closing Thoughts:

On a historic night in Ottawa, the Redblacks won in dramatic fashion, sending the sellout crowd home happy and breaking in TD Place the right way. There were some bumps along the way, but in the end a win’s a win and this one was a long time coming. Offensively the Redblacks woes continued; Burris was under heavy pressure all night and it’s unrealistic to expect him to thrive and be accurate when he’s constantly throwing off his back foot, the offensive line must be better. Additionally receivers continue to have drops in key moments and struggle to create separation. It was good to see Kierrie Johnson redeem himself with the late catch.

“God gave me another opportunity,” said Johnson. “I messed up on the first one, I was wide open. I think everybody and their  momma saw that one.So my teammates told me I was going to have another opportunity. I kept faith. I saw that ball coming to me, and I said I’ve got to make that play, no matter what. It wasn’t an easy catch. I saw the ball, I knew I had to catch it.. I don’t care what’s the situation, I had to catch it.”

Running back Chevon Walker continues to be a home run threat and seemingly every time the ball is in his hands he has a chance to take it to the house. One area that the offensive isn’t struggling in is with turnovers. as the Redblacks have done a marvelous job protecting the football so far this season.

Defensively the Redblacks continued their trend of bending but not breaking. They piled up another 5 sacks and harassed Ray all night long, generating two interceptions and a fumble. Players swarmed to the ball and made good strong tackles. Specials team coverage tightened up and prevented the Argos getting any long gains.

Without a doubt the player of the game was kicker Brett Maher, who was perfect kicking and who thumped punts deep into Argos territory throughout the game.

“It’s a great night,” said Maher. “If you’re a kicker and you don’t want to be in that situation, you’re probably not going to thrive. My whole career, I’ve kicked a bunch of field goals and never hit a game-winner, never even tried one.” 

 

The Big Three tonight
The Big Three tonight

The Redblacks next game will be on Saturday night in Hamilton where they’ll look to build off this win before returning back to TD Place to host Saskatchewan on August 2nd. See you at the game!

@RedBlackGade

– Images via CFL.ca, Roman Romanovich, Ottawa Citizen and the Ottawa Sun

#TBT: Interview with Jerome Haywood

By: Santino Filoso

For today’s Throwback Thursday interview we sit down with former Ottawa Renegade defensive lineman Jerome Haywood. A stalwart at San Diego state, Haywood started 46 consecutive games before being signed by the Renegades in 2002 as an undrafted free agent. During his time in Ottawa Haywood was a ferocious run stuffer at nose tackle where he consistently faced double and even triple teams despite standing only 5’8″.

haywood_jerome7

RR: As a Californian coming up to Ottawa, what was your first impression of the city?
JH: Besides the airport, the first place in Ottawa that I saw was Kemptville where we had training camp. I definitely started having second thoughts about playing in Canada when I saw the small airport and then Kemptville . I thought Ottawa was like Kemptville for about a week and a half until we had a day off during training camp and I finally got a chance to go into the city.
You played for the Renegades from 2002-2006, what are some of your favorite memories of that time?
I remember the epic Canada Day game in 2005  as it was a good time from start to finish. I loved our red jerseys. Training camp in 2005 was great as well because we had such a great coaching staff that year.  To be honest I loved every minute while I was in Ottawa. I remember hanging out at the deli across the street from the stadium with players and coaches, just bonding and having a great time.
Looking at your CFL stats I noticed that you had 3 rushing attempts for the Renegades in 2004, were those goal-line carries?
One goal line carry and two middle of the field carries. I played fullback on our goal line package and I loved it. I’m not one for the spot light, I just like to kick ass. Making holes for the running back was awesome. The time I got the ball on the goal line sucked because I didn’t punch it in.
A lot of people blame the Renegades ownership for being a distraction to the team, did you ever feel that way?
I wouldn’t blame it all on ownership and I’m sure that they wouldn’t blame the players and coaches. In my personal opinion I think our lack of success was with the players.  We played in plenty of games that we were right in it until the end but found a way to smoke it off. I don’t believe that as a whole we had the mental toughness that you need to be successful. In our last year we were headed in that direction with a solid group of guys but then the team folded. Unfortunately winning doesn’t happen overnight and you have to have a strong foundation to be good. Coach Etch (Gary Etcheverry) always said “It is what it is.”
When the Renegades folded in 2006, did you have any idea where you would end up and what was the general mood of the players upon learning that Ottawa would be disbanded?
I had no clue where I was going but I knew that I would be picked up by someone. That time really sucked  because a lot of good players lost jobs. I couldn’t believe that a team would fold after just 4 years, especially one in the Nation’s Capital. I’m happy that football is finally back in Ottawa!
You have 31 career sacks, is there one that was more satisfying than the others?
I don’t remember the exact one but the sacks that I will always cherish are the sacks against Anthony Calvillo. I can say that I hit that man maybe 6-9 times a game but I have sacked him maybe 6-8 times in my career.  He was definitely a hard one to sack because he would get rid of the ball right as he was being hit and he would get back up and do it again. But I would say that all of my sacks against him stand out.
Who was the biggest trash talker you ever played against?
I don’t remember one person that I actually played against but Adriano Belli was always talking to the teams that I played with. For me it was fun because I always played harder when I would hear him running his mouth. My first 2 years in the league I talked a lot of trash but only having 9 teams in the league it was kind of hard to keep talking because you end up seeing other  players on the field, or out at the bar after the game, and sometimes even on your team the following week.
Did you have any pre-game superstitions?
I wasn’t too bad with my superstitions. I would always have a bag of peanut M&M’s the night before the game. I would also take an Epsom salt bath the night before as well. I always wore the same clothes under my jersey for the year. My warm-up for the game was something that I’d done since college. I would jog around the field before the game and spend my time stretching and sizing up whose ass I was going to kick.
What was the hardest hit you ever made on someone?
John Avery got a good hit from me but I really didn’t do much. We were playing Toronto and it was a run play. I was holding my gap and I saw the hand off to Avery so I waited for him to commit to a gap. He decided to run to the gap right next to me because for some reason it was open. Once I saw him commit I spun from my gap to the gap that he was running to and when I came out of my spin he was running full speed and ran into me. He bounced off to me to the turf and landed on his back. His exact words to me were “Damn Haywood I’ve never been hit that hard.” It was a big collision and I felt it but I’m happy that I was the hammer and not the nail.
Describe your perfect off day while living in Ottawa.
My perfect day was simple. I wanted to be in apartment with my wife (girlfriend at the time) relaxing after I worked out and sat in the cold tub at the facility. I’m a laid back kind of guy.
Throughout your CFL career you played for Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton, what was the toughest stadium to play at?
The toughest place for me to play was Saskatchewan. The fans love their Riders and I heard it all. I’ve never been called a fat ass until I was there, good times!
Now that you´ve been out of the league for a few years, what are you doing for work?
Right now I’m a PE Teacher/Athletic Director at a school for at-risk youth. I’m also working on becoming a personal trainer. I love the game of football and now its about time for me to start working my way back in it somehow, maybe as a strength coach or something like that.
Do you still keep in touch with a lot of your former teammates? If so, who?
I do! Derrick Ford is a close friend of mine as well as Tony White and Kai Ellis. I still talk to Coach Pao Pao from time to time. Facebook keeps a lot of us connected.
Any plans to head back to Ottawa to catch a Redblacks game?
I sure do! I hope that it will be a lot sooner than later too. I have to deal with some immigration stuff and I will be up there so my wife can visit her family and I can see the new team. I might even ask for a job hahaha.
Every player has a nickname or two, what was yours?
I’ve had a few but the one that I go by is Rome, Romey, Romey Rome. I’ve also been called Tank and the Plug.
What was the best piece of football advice you ever received?
I don’t know the single best piece because I received a lot over the years. I can’t remember who told me but one that stuck with me was “Don’t be complacent because there is always someone better than you out there so you better work hard.” I think in 2005 I was complacent and I should have lost my job because I was out played by a rookie but I wasn’t let go because I was durable and the coaches knew what I could do. Trust me, that after that I told myself I would not let that happen again ever in my life.
Jerome Haywood Ottawa Renegades 2005. Photo F. Scott Grant
Thanks for your time Jerome, and a hell of an interview too! Best of luck in the future and we can’t wait to see you back visiting Ottawa!

News, notes and a new domain!

Yeah, the Redblacks are 0-2. And yeah, they didn’t look so good in Edmonton on Friday. But most Redblacks fans are still riding the expansion team high, with all the excitement & fun of having a team back in Ottawa.

With that in mind, some off-field Redblacks stuff fit for sharing. Enjoy!

Redblacks App
Haven’t actually seen an official news release or tweet from the team yet (which is a bit odd…), but the Ottawa Redblacks Official app is now available!

20140714-122218-44538077.jpg

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/ottawa-redblacks/id895940735?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.telus.redblacks&hl=en

Download it. Now!

Thanks to @cfl_fan for uncovering it for us.

TD Place Test Drive
Unfortunately none of us here were able to attend the open house/test rive event. However, with all the great photos & videos from #RNation, we got the next best thing.

Posting here wouldn’t do the event justice, so I’ll recommend you check out my Twitter feed from last Wednesday instead. Lots of fun stuff.

Redblacks players get the little blue check mark treatment
First off, if you aren’t already, you need to start following all the Redblacks players that are on Twitter. Some really great guys who aren’t shy about interacting with the fan base. (Love that about the CFL)

Second, looks like the Redblacks and Twitter have arranged to get the players verified with the elusive blue check mark (though some not as quickly as others).

It’s kind of a big deal.

Inaugural game gear
Also haven’t seen a tweet from @Redblacks on this, but the team is taking pre-orders on July 18th’s inaugural game t-shirts and pins. Here’s a low-res look at both:

20140713-131332-47612065.jpg

20140713-131331-47611907.jpg

Sutherland to handle PA duties at TD Place
Looks like former Ottawa Renegade and Ottawa radio personality Mike Sutherland will be the Redblacks public address announcer at TD Place. Sutherland, now Communication Services Manager with the Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group, seems to be the perfect choice, as he is perfectly bilingual and obviously knows the game. Looking forward to hearing him in action for the first time on Friday night.

#RNation Community
Great to see how much fan interaction we already have for Redblacks fans aka #RNation. Besides this humble blog, here are a few other places you need to be:

BleedRedblacks Podcast
Coming up on their 5th episode, these guys provide great coverage and commentary on the team. They’re also on Twitter – @bleedredblacks. Thanks again for the shoutout in episode 4, gents!

Southsiders (@southsidersRB)
The band has been put back together. The original Southsiders crew are back and will be doing their thing loud and proud on the now-fancier side of the stadium at Lansdowne.

Also, they’ve come up with some great scarves for the hardcore fans among us. Proceeds to the Ride For Dad and their fight against prostate cancer, so really no good reason not to get one. I’ll be sporting mine proudly — on the North Side. Yep, I admitted it.

Facebook – Redblack Nation (private group)

Facebook – Ottawa Redblacks Football Fans (public group)

Found another site/blog/podcast for Redblacks fans? Or starting one yourself? Let us know about it!

Redblacks fight song
Came across this on Youtube. A live version here, too. Love the Ottawa Valley!

DefendTheR.com
Oh yeah — we took off the training wheels and got a big boy domain name for our blog/website. Henceforth, come and hang out with us (in fewer keystrokes!) at DefendTheR.com.

As always, thanks so much for reading and your support! Go Redblacks!

@OTTRoughRiders

Game #2: Green & Gold leave Redblacks seeing red

By: Santino Filoso

 

20140712-235815-86295647.jpg

On Friday night, the Ottawa Redblacks attempted to be the first Ottawa team to get a win at Commonwealth Stadium since August 26th, 1983 and to end a streak of 18 straight losses (spanning the Rough Riders and Renegades) in Edmonton.

Pre-Game:

– No TSN pre-game show to speak of, due to a sloppy, flag-filled affair (that seemingly dragged on forever) taking place in Montreal between the Als and the Bombers

1st Quarter:

– Redblacks receive the opening kickoff but quickly go two and out after a short Chevon Walker (#29) run and a Henry Burris (#1) sack

– On the ensuing punt the Redblacks give up a huge return that is luckily negated by an Eskimo holding penalty

– Eskimo QB Mike Reilly goes for the throat on the Esks’ first play, launching a deep bomb but overthrowing an open Fred Stamps

– Redblacks go two and out, Eskimos go two and out,  Redblacks go two and out, Eskimos go two and out,  Redblacks go two and out, Eskimos go two and out,  Redblacks go two and out, Eskimos go two and out,  Redblacks go two and out, Eskimos go two and out,  Redblacks go two and out, Eskimos go two and out,  Redblacks go two and out, Eskimos go two and out,  Redblacks go two and out, Eskimos go two and out,  Redblacks go two and out, Eskimos go two and out,  Redblacks go two and out, Eskimos go two and out,  Redblacks go two and out, Eskimos go two and out,  Redblacks go two and out (or at least that’s what it feels like)

– Smothering defense and overthrowing receivers seems to be the theme for both teams so far

– 1st round pick Antoine Pruneau (#6) makes his presence felt with a heavy special teams tackle

– After finally stringing together a few first downs thanks to a Walker shovel pass and a Matt Carter (#85) catch, the Redblacks’ drive stalls

Chevon Walker, Dexter McCoil, Rennie Curran
Stingy Eskimo defense

– For the 2nd week in a row the Redblacks try to run a fake field goal with backup QB Thomas DeMarco (#17) but are thwarted by a timely Eskimo timeout.

– Eskimos match the Redblacks drive with one of their own and open the scoring with a 52 yard rouge courtesy of kicker/punter Grant Shaw

– The Sens trail the Oilers 1-0 after the 1st

2nd Quarter:

– Teams continue to trade two and outs to start the 2nd

– Redblacks returner Jamill Smith (#15) will have a restless night after he finds a lane, has nothing but open field in front of him but steps out of bounds on the sideline

– Burris gets sacked

– Kicker Brett Maher makes a beautiful 48 yard punt that is returned 23 yards after the Redblacks miss numerous tackles

– After a 15 yard catch by FB Patrick Lavoie (#81), RB Walker explodes for a 65 yard TD scamper behind a massive block from FB John Delahunt (#49)

20140713-000234-154080.jpg
Walker celebrating his 3rd TD of the year

– Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) looks good making a 17 yard catch but Redblacks ultimately punt

– Reilly leads the Eskimos on a long drive and into field goal range to end the half but Shaw shanks the 23 yarder through the end zone for a redemption rouge

7-1 Germany over Brazil 7-2 Redblacks over the Esks at the half

3rd Quarter: 

– Eskimos make it look easy as they march down the field and score on their opening possession; Adarius Bowman hauls in a 41 yard pass and dances around safety Eric Fraser (#7) to score. Adding insult to injury the Redblacks are flagged for roughing the passer which is tacked onto the kick off, which Grant boots through the end zone for a single.

– Redblacks don’t miss a beat and continue their 1st half trend of two and outs

– Defensive lineman Brandon Lang (#91) goes offside and gets flagged for the 3rd time

– Reilly gets sacked by Zack Evans (#92) and Shaw extends the Esks lead to 11-7 with a 47 punt yard for another rouge

– Paris Jackson’s (#19) first catch of the night beats the blitz and picks up a 1st down

– Maher smashes a 52 yard punt that bounces out of bounds at the Eskimo’s 3 yard line

– Heavy pressure on 2nd down gives the Redblacks a big two and out

– Instead of following conventional wisdom and conceding a safety, the Esks decide to punt, which Smith fields and returns into field goal range

– A promising drive is snuffed out when Burris gets sacked for the 3rd time

20140713-000328-208047.jpg

– Esks are rewarded for ignoring conventional wisdom when Maher pushes a 36 yard field goal wide right for a rouge

– Redblacks trail by 3 heading into the 4th (11-8)

4th Quarter:

– Adarius Bowman caps off a 5 play, 75 yard drive with his 2nd TD of the night, making an incredible 30 yard, one handed catch despite having Jovon Johnson (#2) draped all over him.

– Redblacks turn the ball over on downs after failing to convert a 3rd and inches on their own 25. Head Coach Rick Campbell challenges the spot of the ball (which seemed to be poor) and loses

– A 2nd down Brandon Lang sack is inexplicably wiped out when the referee forgets that contact IS allowed in football and flags him for roughing the passer

– The drive kept alive, Reilly hits a wide open Bowman (his 3rd TD of the night), to make it 25-8 with 9:15 left

– Catches by Kierrie Johnson (#10), Carlton Mitchell (#88), and Henry², bring the Redblacks into FG range. Following another Burris sack, Maher splits the uprights from 34 yards out to make it 25-11

– Eskimos RB John White explodes for 34 yards on a 2nd and long draw

– Feeling guilty, the umpire tries to atone for the earlier blown call

– Shaw absolutely crushes a 64 yard punt, pinning the Redblacks on their 1 yard line

– Facing heavy pressure the offensive line collapses and Burris is sacked for a safety, the Eskimo’s 5th sack of the night

– With 1:11 left in the game, DeMarco enters for mop up duty and hits Carter and Jackson for long gains before being picked off on the final play of the game

– Final score: 27-11 for the team not wearing red and black

Stats that stand out:

– Burris went 13/25 for 114 yards (0 TDs or Ints)

– Walker had 10 carries for 92 yards and a TD

– Johnson was the leading receiver with 4 catches for 28 yards

– 11 penalties for 118 yards

Closing thoughts:

If the Redblacks Week One loss left fans feeling hopeful and entertained, this week’s was surely the opposite. It’s frustrating because once again the Redblacks shot themselves in the foot by taking way too many penalties. The game was a defensive struggle for the better part of three quarters and the offense struggled to move the ball with any kind of rhythm. Burris needs to be better but no receiver stood out either. Too often it seemed that when the Redblacks receivers ran option routes they weren’t on the same page as Burris. They clearly need more time to work out the kinks and get comfortable with one another. As for the offensive line, they aren’t going to enjoy film study on Monday as they were thoroughly outplayed by the Esks’ front seven, giving up five sacks and failing to open up holes for Walker to run though. On the defensive side the Redblacks struggled to put Reilly under any kind of sustained pressure, even when blitzing. Though special teams coverage was better overall, there continued to be ugly moments that flipped field position, a back-breaker in defensive struggles like this game.

Despite their struggles, the Redblacks were in this game until early in the 4th. The turning point was absolutely the blown call on Lang’s CLEAN sack but there are other plays that stand out, such as Smith stepping out of bounds on a punt return that seemed destined to  be a TD and getting stuffed on 3rd and inches. As Coach Campbell said after the game:

“It’s disappointing. It was a defensive game for a long time and going back and forth and we were hanging in there. We just came up a few plays short. It’s always tough to lose.”

To sum up, though the Redblacks don’t want to be called an expansion team, they’re still the new kids on the block and are going to take their lumps. This game was ugly but with their next game at home in front of a feverish R-Nation, the Redblacks should be able to draw on the crowd’s energy for a better effort and hopefully a win. See you at Lansdowne (TD Place) next week!

@RedBlackGade

Photos courtesy of Ottawa Redblacks Facebook page

Game #1; Redblacks come up just short

By: Santino Filoso

20140704-233754-85074496.jpg

After an eight year, eight month hiatus, Ottawa returned to the CFL on Thursday night in Winnipeg. Despite it being an away game, the buzz surrounding the team was incredible, with large groups of Redblacks fans meeting up at various local restaurants and bars such as Hometown Sports, The Senate and Real Sports Bar to watch the away game together. The Redblacks were looking to earn their first win in their franchise opening game over a resurgent Bombers team coming off a surprising Week One victory over the Argos.

Pre-Game:

– It’s said that eating well is a huge part of performing well and Jeff Hunt decided to take matters into his own hands by taking the entire team out for dinner in Winnipeg the night before the game. Gliebermans take note: that’s the kind of hands-on ownership that players don’t mind.

– The TSN pannel mentions that Winnipeg hasn’t won back to back games since 2011 and that the Redblacks as a team have more CFL experience than the Bombers

First Quarter:

– The Redblacks kick off to open the game and quickly force a two and out thanks to heavy pressure from their defensive line

– Following a Jamill Smith (#15) punt return, Burris hits Chevon Walker (#29) and Kierrie Johnson (#10) for gains of 29 and 26 yards respectively, before Walker punches it in from three yards out to give the Redblacks a quick lead

20140704-234327-85407178.jpg
Chevon Walker scores the 1st TD in franchise history

– The opening drive takes 5 plays and 2:17 seconds to go 62 yards

– On their next possession, Drew Willy gets sacked by Jonathon Williams (#75) and the Bombers go two and out again

20140704-234529-85529931.jpg

– The Redblacks take 2 plays and 58 seconds to go 43 yards and score again!

– Walker goes for a 17 yard run before Dobson Collins (#80) makes a 26 yard TD catch to give the Redblacks a 14-0 lead with 8:01 remaining in the quarter

– Bombers answer the Redblacks TD with one of their own when WR Nick Moore makes a 51 yard catch and RB Nick Grigsby gets into the end zone to cut the lead in half

– Redblacks continue to move the ball at will; Johnson, Marcus Henry (#16 or Henry² as we like to call him here at Defend the R) and Paris Jackson (#19) all make 1st down catches.

– Bombers blitz and despite the pocket collapsing, Burris somehow manages to salsa his way out of a sack and hit FB John Delahunt for a 15 yard gain

– Burris scrambles out of the pocket for a 17 yard gain and in doing so passes Russ Jackson for 4th place on the all time QB rushing list

– Redblacks first three possessions end with TDs as Walker makes an 8 yard catch and waltzes in for the score

– 21-7 for the Redblacks after one

Second Quarter:

– Teams trade two and outs and fans finally realize Ottawa dressed a punter

– Jerell Gavins (#24) struggles in his match up with Nick Moore, alternating between getting torched for big gains and being flagged for interference as the Bombers go 88 yards in 9 plays and score

– After catches by Matt Carter (#85) and Collins, Redblacks try to punt with backup QB Thomas DeMarco (#17) at punter, but instead are flagged. On the ensuing play regular kicker Brett Maher (#3) shanks the punt giving the Bombers great field position

– Brandon Lang (#91) sacks Willy

20140704-234822-85702425.jpg

– Bombers kicker Lirim Hajrullahu makes it 21-17 with a 47 yard FG to end the half

Third Quarter:

– Redblacks recieve the ball but their drive quickly stalls

– Bombers RB Grigsby takes a shovel pass and rumbles 45 yards

20140704-235038-85838509.jpg

– Gavins is flagged for roughing the passer after making a very late and dangerous hit, throwing himself into the back of Willy’s legs

– Despite having a first and goal from the 5, the Redblacks defense holds, thanks to a T.J. Hill (#21) sack

– Bombers kicker Lirim HODOR! makes it 21-20 with a 16 yard field goal

– The offense continues to struggle and after Burris gets sacked the Redblacks punt….again

– At the halfway mark of the quarter, the refs suddenly decide to give every fan in attendance a flag

– Jonathon Williams get his second (and the Redblacks’ 4th) sack of the game and forces a fumble which is recovered by Justin Capicciotti (#93)

– After stringing together a few 1st downs, the Redblacks attempt a 42 yard FG but settle for a rouge as Maher is widddddde left

– Justin “Captain” Phillips (#44) makes a crunching special teams tackle

– Former Bomber and current Redblack Jovon Johnson (#2) nearly picks off Willy

20140704-235233-85953987.jpg

– On the next play Gavin atones for his earlier mistakes by reading Willy’s eyes and making an interception

– Despite great field position the Redblacks can’t score a TD and instead settle for a 44 yard FG to extend their lead to 25-20

Fourth Quarter:

– Henry² makes an incredible finger tip catch and the Redblacks tack on another three points with a 20 yard FG

– On the ensuing kick off, Demond Washington zigzags through the entire Redblacks team for a 96 yard kick return TD; the Bombers try and go for two but the pass is broken up Gavins

– Rookie LB Travis Brown (#43) gives the Redblacks their 5th sack of the night with 7:05 left in the game

– Bombers take the lead when RB Grigsby scores his 3rd TD of the night, making it 33-28 for the boys in blue with 2:33 left

– Redblacks go two and out

– Bombers kicker Lirim Hallelujah splits the uprights from 37 yards out to make it 36-28

– With 30 seconds left the Redblacks fail to pick up a first down and turn the ball over on downs

Final Score: 36-28 for not the Redblacks

20140704-235359-86039056.jpg

Closing Thoughts:

Despite losing, the Redblacks played well enough to instill confidence in their fans and to serve notice to the rest of the CFL that they aren’t pushovers. Though the offense stalled in the second half, Burris looked very sharp and must be the youngest 39 year old ever. Chevon Walker is still in pre-season form and that’s a good thing as he continues to find the end zone. Canadian Rookie RT Nolan MacMillan more than held his own all night and the offensive line in general gave Burris time to make his reads and good protection. Another positive was that the defense brought pressure all night long and had no problems recording sacks, bringing Willy down 5 times. On the negative side, this was definitely a game to forget for DB Jerrel Gavins; he was targeted all night and got flagged numerous times. This loss comes down to the fact that the Redblacks had poor kick coverage and took too many penalties. Ottawa often shot themselves in the foot and if they can clean up the small things and stay disciplined then the wins will come. Lastly, let’s not forget that even with the loss we’re still tied for 1st in the East!

@RedBlackGade

All images courtesy CFL.ca