Redblacks Lose Battle of the 417

By: Santino Filoso

Ottawa Redblacks v Montreal Alouettes

On Friday night the Redblacks headed to Montreal to avoid becoming the worst team in the CFL in a battle of two 1-7 clubs. Unfortunately, despite it once again being a one score game in the 4th quarter, the Redblacks comedy of errors caught up to them and cost them a win, dropping their record to a dismal 1-8.

Pre-Game:

– In a surprising move, the Redblacks come out for warm ups sporting their black home jerseys

– The CFL’s twitter feed continues it’s trend of digging up obscure Ottawa facts

– Redblacks lose the coin toss, writers would call this foreshadowing

– The Al’s stadium looks shockingly empty at kick off

1st Quarter:

– Redblacks come out of the gate sharp, marching the ball down field with catches by Henry² (Marcus Henry #16), Dobson Collins (#80), and Marter (Matt Carter, #85) but are forced to settle for a FG after they can’t overcome three penalties and a Burris sack

– Brett “Money” Maher’s (#3) 29 yard FG triples the amount of points the Redblacks scored all of last week

– The Al’s first possession ends in a punt after a few stuffed runs and heavy pocket pressure causes Jonathan “Sunshine” Crompton’s passes to fall incomplete

– Henry Burris (#1) and company go two and out courtesy a Patrick Lavoie (#81) drop

– The defence plays tough but Jerrell Gavins (#24) is flagged for illegal contact on 2nd down, giving the Als a second chance

– Jermaine Robinson (#32) grabs a piece of face mask when trying to make a tackle on 2nd down and gives the Als a free 15 yards

– Facing 3rd and 1 on the Redblacks 1 yard line, the defence stands tall and stuffs the Als, but Bradon Lang’s (#91) pinky is a fingernail over the line and he’s flagged for being offside, giving the Als a fresh set of downs

crop_20690474105
All for naught

– After being stuffed on another run play, Al’s back up QB Tanner Marsh “Madness” caps off the 11 play, 75 yard drive with a 1 yard TD pass to SJ Green

Not in the bread basket but it still counts
Not in the bread basket but it still counts

– Redblacks go two and out again after Chevon Walker (#29) picks up 3 yards on the ground and Henry² catches a 5 yard screen pass

– A face masking flag on the ensuing punt sets the Als up near mid-field

2nd Quarter:

– Sean Whyte booms a 52 yard punt through the end zone to extend the Alouette lead by 1

– TSN cuts to an awesome pre-game speech delivered by last minute healthy scratch Moton Hopkins (#95)

– The offensive woes and penalty flags continue as the Redblacks go two and out and are flagged for procedure on the punt

– Sunshine gets into rhyme as the Redblacks defence struggles with the roll outs, play fakes, and misdirection thrown at them

– Deep in the red zone, Travis “Sticky Fingers” Brown (#43) steps in front of Brandon Whitaker to pick off Crompton and ends the Al’s scoring threat

Climbing the ladder
Climbing the ladder

– A direct snap to Walker goes nowhere fast and despite an 11 yard catch from Collins, an illegal block and a 17 yard sack force another punt

– Duron “My Dad’s A Hall of Famer” Carter makes a 19 yard catch and Brown gets flagged for roughing the passer

carter

– Continuing to show a nose for the ball, Antoine Pruneau (#6) forces a goal line fumble which Gavins recovers

– Taking two steps forward and one back, a Collins catch is sandwiched by a pair of offsides

– Wallace Miles (#84) and Khalil Paden (#13) haul in passes to move the Redblacks within range for an end of half end zone heave but Chip Cox knocks the pass down

– 8-3 for Habs after 30 minutes

Half-time:

– When asked what he said to the guys in the locker room, Burris answered: “An artist never takes an eraser to his work, so we need to stop erasing our positive plays on offence”

3rd Quarter:

– A Duron Carter highlight reel over the shoulder catch and short Sunshine scramble led to another rouge

– Offensive Co-Ordinator Mike Gibson continues to call ineffective runs out of shotgun

– Teams trade two and outs

– Bradon London blows by new comer Abdul Kanneh (#14) for a 51 yard gain but Reggie “Showtime” Jones (#20) saves a TD with the tackle

– Pruneau uses his body as a speed bump, disrupting Green’s timing just enough to ensure the incompletion in the end zone

– Whyte makes it 12-3 with a 22 yard FG

– Under heavy pressure, Burris gets stripped of the ball and fumbles, which is recovered by the Als

Yes, this ended badly
Yes, this ended badly

– Whyte turns the turnover into another rouge, his 3rd single of the night

– With the Als defensive line on him almost at the same time that he receives the ball, Burris is forced to chuck and duck, leading to the Redblacks’ 6th straight two and out

4th Quarter:

– Miles giveth with a 1st down catch and taketh with a 2nd down drop, Redblacks forced to punt

– Whyte gets hit while punting but since the ref is tired of throwing his flag he lets it slide

– After 3.5 quarters OC Mike Gibson finally clues in that his seven step drops aren’t working and the Redblacks switch their attack to quick short passes. This proves to be highly effective as Burris leads the offence on an 80 yard drive , featuring catches by Collins, Paden and is capped off with a 27 yard TD catch and run by Miles, Ottawa’s first TD in 193 min and 28 seconds and first since week 7

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42 possessions ago (the last offensive TD), I was a young woman!

 

– Wasting no time, the Als respond when Robinson falls, leaving Duron Carter all alone to make a 48 yard catch. Adding insult to injury, Brown is called for a very suspect roughing the passer penalty, tacking on an extra 15 yards

– Nobody on defence wants to make a tackle as James Rogers rumbles 17 yards through weak arm tackles on a WR sweep to the house, giving the Als a 10 point lead 3 plays and 1 minute after the Redblacks pulled within 3

– An important Henry² catch (that would’ve been good for a first down) is nullified by a holding call, so instead of a fresh set of downs the Redblacks have to punt

– The defence continues to do it’s part holding the Als to another two and out

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– Facing a 2nd and 2 on the Als’ 30 yard line with 1:30 left, Burris comes up short on a QB sneak while his helmet is ripped off his face. Inexplicably there’s no flag, probably because the refs believe Burris wears a magic helmet that has the power to violently rip itself off of his head

– Foregoing a short FG that would pull the Redblacks within one score and give them a shot at an onside recovery, Head Coach Rick Campbell decides to go for it on 3rd and 1, but the Redblacks fail to convert, turning the ball over on downs

– Final Score: 20-10 for not the Redblacks

Key Stats:

Burris went 21 of 34 for 245 yards with 1 TD

Walker had 7 carries for 31 yards

Miles hauled in 7 passes for 101 yards and 1 TD

Justin Capicciotti (#93) led the way on defence with 6 tackles

Maher punted 9 times for 423 yards

Closing Thoughts:

There’s no sugar coating the fact that this was a game that most Redblacks fans thought the team would win. After some strong showings against some tough Western opponents, tonight was the Redblacks’ chance to make a push for a playoff spot. Despite a promising early drive, Ottawa’s offensive woes from past weeks carried over into this game. Burris had a number of throws I’m sure he’d like back but his offensive line also didn’t do a whole lot to give him any time to really plant his feet. OC Mike Gibson called his worst game of the year, failing to involve Walker and take some pressure off the passing game, only calling 7 running plays all night long, talk about throwing your QB to the wolves. Furthermore, it took Gibson the better part of three and a half quarters to adjust and finally call some plays that gave his players a chance to make something happen. Considering that the offensive line was struggling and that Burris was under pressure all night long, it’s criminal that Gibson didn’t adapt and mix in a few more runs earlier. One issue that really needs to be addressed is how receivers react after catching the ball. All too often instead of simply putting their head down and plowing forward for the first down, they danced around and ended up losing yards.

Even lacking Keith Shologan (#74), Ottawa’s defence continued to play at a high level, keeping the Redblacks in the game for nearly 55 minutes. Linebackers Pruneau, Jasper Simmons (#31) and Brown flew around and made their presence felt. Gavins was the only real standout in terms of coverage but in general the corners seemed to play a bit too soft. New comer Abdul Kanneh showed his inexperience, often being caught out of position. Ultimately the defence caught a few bad breaks, with some highly questionable roughing the passer flags and Robinson slipping to leave Carter open on the long bomb which lead to the nail in the coffin TD. Despite allowing the Als to march down immediately after the offence pulled within three, it’s hard to fault the defence considering the fact that they were once again on the field for nearly 35 minutes. As long as the defence continues to play at this level the Redblacks will be in every game, especially if the offence can find a way to put up points on a consistent basis.

Specials teams were a bright spot, with good coverage and Maher averaging 47 yards a punt. Although Jamill Smith (#15) didn’t have a punt return longer than 15 yards he looked quicker and did his part in the field position battle. Looking back on this game the Redblacks will rue the number of penalties they took. After 30 minutes they had racked up 12 flags for 80 yards and by the end of the game the total was 16 penalties for 135 yards. The lack of discipline was a back breaker as the flags wiped out positive offence plays and directly lead to points against, keeping Alouette drives alive when they had no right to be. Some of the blame has to fall on the coaching staff as this has been an issue for Ottawa since the pre-season, but at the same time these guys are supposed to be professionals. They KNOW they can’t tackle players by their facemasks yet still grab them, and they KNOW they can’t line up offside yet still screw it up. Coaching is a part of the problem but at the same time the players need to own their bone-head mistakes.

Things don’t get any easier for the Redblacks as the BC Lions come to town next week, perhaps with Kevin Glenn at the helm. R-Nation is sure to pack TD Place again and give him the welcome he deserves, so hopefully the team had draw off the crowd’s energy and pick up their 2nd win of the season.

@RedBlackGade

– All images via CFL.ca and the Ottawa Sun

 

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