Delays, Controversy and a Winner

Courtesy of Sportsology.com and The 20-Yard End Zone

By Footloose

It was an interesting week in the CFL.

Things started Thursday night in Winnipeg on Milt Stegall Night. 

After a lightning delay of more than two hours, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stormed out of the gate and took a 34-0 halftime lead on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and would win 37-11.

Stegall, the second all-time leading receiver in CFL history behind Geroy Simon, was honored with his family at halftime. Stegall, a Cincinnati native, played at Miami (OH) and then was a Cincinnati Bengal for three seasons before going to Green Bay and then to Winnipeg. During his career, he was a favorite of ESPN personality Chris Berman.

CJ Roberts scored on a pick six early in the game, and then Matt Nichols fired TD passes to Thomas Mayo and Clarence Denmark. Andrew Harris scored a touchdown on the ground.

Hamilton scored a TD in the third quarter when Jeremiah Masoli connected with Terrence Toliver for a 44-yard gain to set up a one-yard TD run by Jeff Mathews.

BC wins in Montreal

Friday night, the BC Lions went into Montreal and outscored the Alouettes 15-0 in the fourth quarter to win 38-18.

Jonathan Jennings completed 27 of 32 passes and tossed a TD to Manny Arceneuax. Jeremiah Johnson scored a touchdown on the ground, and Loucheiz Purifoy made the play of the game by scooping up a loose ball and scoring on a fumble recovery. Richie Leone added four field goals.

BC sacked Montreal QB Kevin Glenn six times. Glenn threw a TD pass to BJ Cunningham and ran for one score.

Bo knows winning

Bo Levi Mitchell of the Calgary Stampeders is the all-time leader CFL in winning percentage among quarterbacks, and he played like it Friday.

Mitchell threw for 312 yards and fired a TD to Anthony Parker in the 35-15 win over Saskatchewan. Jerome Messam and Andrew Buckley ran for TDs. Rene Paredes kicked four field goals.

Rob Bagg scored on a 48-yard pass from Darian Durant for the Riders.

Controversy in Ottawa

All eyes were on Henry Burris as he bounced back with a 23-20 win over the defending Grey Cup champion Edmonton Eskimos in a penalty-filled contest in Ottawa Saturday night.

Burris threw TD passes to Ernest Jackson and former New Orleans Saint Chris Williams. After a Jermaine Robinson interception and long return in the dying minutes of the game, Chris Milo kicked a 17-yard field goal to give Ottawa a 23-20 lead. The Redblacks’ defence then came up big by forcing three Mike Reilly incompletions for the win.

Edmonton scored the most unusual TD of the year when a Burris pass appeared to hit the ground but it actually bounced off Williams’ foot and went high into the air. JC Sherritt interception the ball on the run and raced down the sideline to dive into the end zone. Reilly hit Chris Getzlaf, the brother of NHL star Ryan Getzlaf, for the two-point convert.

At halftime, Burris was interviewed by TSN’s Matthew Scianitti, and he unleashed a rant about the criticism and doubts he has faced from fans and, in particular, the TSN panel.

“Henry and I are friends and we have talked about it and shared a laugh,” said Milt Stegall, one of the panelists, in an interview that can be heard on our podcast.

This week’s games

Thursday – Montreal at Edmonton

Neither team has consistently been able to put a full 60 minutes of football together this year, but both teams have explosive passing games. Look for a high-scoring barnburner.

Friday – Winnipeg at Toronto

Toronto is quietly one of the best teams in the league, and back-up Logan Kilgore shone in his first CFL start after replacing an injured Ricky Ray. Winnipeg is also trending upward, and this is a new team after Matt Nichols replaced Drew Willy as the starting QB.

Saturday – Calgary at Saskatchewan

The Riders are a much better team playing in front of the best fans in the CFL at home. They beat Ottawa at home, but can they beat Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stampeders?

Saturday – Hamilton at BC

Zach Collaro smakes his return to the Tiger-Cats’ line up as they face the red hot BC Lions in Vancouver. Hamilton needs a win to keep pace with Toronto and Ottawa in the standings, but BC has been a juggernaut behind coach Wally Buono and quarterback Jonathan Jennings.

Thanks for reading!

@DefendTheR

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A Look Back at the Redblacks Inaugural Season

By: Santino Filoso

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Before closing the books on the Redblacks 2014 season, it’s worth one final look back at how they got to their league worst 2-16 record and why they’ll be drafting 1st overall in May.

Game #1: 36-28 loss to Winnipeg

After exploding for 21 points in the 1st quarter, the Redblacks’ offense bogged down and managed only 7 for the rest of the game. Ultimately a 96 yard kick return TD and a late Bomber FG put this one out of reach.

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1st TD in Redblacks history

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Game #2: 27-11 loss to Edmonton

The Redblacks lost this defensive struggle on a few key plays and by gifting the Eskimos with incredible field position (11 penalties for 118 yards) on a day when both offences struggled. Jamill Smith had an open lane for a punt return TD but stepped out of bounds. The turning point came late in the 4th quarter with the Eskimo’s inside the red zone. Brandon Lang sacked Mike Reilly with a clean (and I really do mean textbook) hit, but was called for roughing the passer. Edmonton went on to score and pulled away in what had been a single score game until that point.

Edmonton Eskimo's Vs Ottawa RedBlacks

Seth Williams, Nate Coehoorn

Edmonton Eskimo's Vs Ottawa RedBlacks

Game #3: 18-17 win over Toronto

After 3177 days, CFL football returned to Ottawa with a roar as R-Nation unleashed nine years of pent up energy. Kicker Brett Maher made six FGs and the Redblacks hung on for their first win as LB Jasper Simmons sealed the deal with a dramatic interception on the final drive of the game.

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Game #4: 33-23 loss to Hamilton

In a game where the Redblacks’ offence finally came to life, the defence got shredded by the Ticats back up QB. The Dan LeFevour show single handedly beat the Redblacks as he piled up 470 total yards of offence, 361 in the air and 109 rushing.

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Ottawa Redblacks v Hamilton Tiger-Cats

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C.J. Gable

Game #5: 38-14 loss to Saskatchewan

This flag filled affair was over early as the GREENWHITES built up a 24-0 lead after 15 minutes and never looked back. Anytime the Redblacks seemed to be generating some positive momentum drops and/or flags killed their drives. But yeah, they did score the 1st TD at TD Place off a nice trick play.

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Thomas DeMarco, punter extraordinaire

Game #6: 38-17 loss to Calgary

Drops and flags continued to plague the Redblacks as they were simply outclassed by a much better Stampeder team. 1st round pick Antoine Pruneau got his first start and responded nicely by making 8 tackles.

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The football gods were not listening

Game #7: 10-8 loss to Edmonton

On a cold rainy night, the Redblacks defense shined, making two goal line stands, generating 4 turnovers, getting 3 sacks and not allowing a touchdown. After a late offensive drive appeared to have put the Redblacks in position to win, Matt Carter fumbled inside the Eskimo’s red zone. Using his arm and legs, Mike Reilly moved Edmonton into position to kick the game winning FG with 20 seconds left.

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Taking the coach’s advice, Elder really got his head in there

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Game #8: 32-7 loss to Calgary

Wearing their new Signature Look uniforms for the first time (minus the plaid helmets), the Redbalcks hung with the Stamps until late in the 4th quarter when a tired defence collapsed and allowed Calgary to put up 21 points in 4 minutes and 5 seconds. After another poor offensive showing, a potential QB controversy was avoided when Thomas DeMarco was hit low and tore his knee in the last minute of the game.

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Unsurprisingly, not flagged

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Game #9: 20-10 loss to Montreal

Running the ball only seven times + a number of questionable PI and roughing the passer calls against the Redblacks + Head Coach Rick Campbell’s decision not to kick a FG when down 10 with 1:30 left = another loss.

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Can you spot the Renegade and Bear?

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Game #10: 7-5 loss to BC

Frank Clair’s statue was unveiled and a torrential downpour caused a 20 minute rain delay. The Redblacks found another way to lose by fumbling a 4th quarter FG snap that would’ve given them a late lead.

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Possibly the easiest of his 31 career interceptions

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Game #11: 35-32 double OT loss to Saskatchewan

Despite finally exorcising their offensive demons, the Redblacks defense and a few non-calls by the referees cost Ottawa a much needed win. Weston Dressler’s 2nd quarter punt return sparked the GREENWHITES comeback but shouldn’t have counted as there were two illegal blocks, right in front of referees, that went unflagged. Conservative play calling in overtime backfired as the Redblacks played for the tie instead of going for the win but had their FG attempt blocked.

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Ottawa Redblacks v Saskatchewan Roughriders

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Ottawa’s hit of the year

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Game #12: 15-7 loss to Montreal

The Redblacks faced 3rd and 1 six times and went a pathetic 1-6. Three times the Redblacks ran out of shotgun on 3rd and 1 and got stuffed. OC Mike Gibson’s play calling was atrocious all game long, especially in the red zone. The game ends with Ottawa on Montreal’s 7 yard line when WRs fail to get lined up and Gott snapped the ball into Burris’ ankles, leading to a sack as time ran out.

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Game #13: 42-20 win over Winnipeg

Jonathan Williams’ break out game led to Ottawa’s 2nd win of the season as he exploded for 229 yards and 2 TDs, with 180 of them coming on the ground. The Redblacks’ defence chipped in with 3 interceptions and six sacks.

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After thrashing the Bombers, Ottawa’s CPR attempts failed to revive Winnipeg’s crushed playoff hopes.

Game #14: 41-3 loss to BC

Maybe it was the West Coast effect, but the Redblacks came out without a pulse and never recovered. The offensive was sluggish with no WR making more than two catches all game and the defence was gouged by Kevin Glenn and company.

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*Not pictured, BC’s Felions who launched Bighill skyward

Game #15: 16-6 loss to Hamilton

The defence was once again stout but ultimately a toothless offence and a number of penalties prevented Ottawa from getting its first win on the road. Rick Campbell’s baffling decision to punt the ball down 10 points on 3rd and 2 near midfield with 3 minutes left in the game caught many by surprise.

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 Game #16: 23-17 loss to Montreal

At the first major gathering after the shooting on Parliament Hill, the Redblacks played inspired football in front of R-Nation but ultimately came up short. The dual QB system of O’Brien and Burris proved to be slightly effective but the game turned on a clear 4th quarter fumble that was recovered by Ottawa but incorrectly ruled not a fumble, even after review. This led Campbell to challenge the challenge (which is technically legal under CFL rules). In the last minute of the game Matt Carter got behind Montreal’s secondary but dropped a long pass that would’ve been a touchdown.

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Game #17: 34-25 loss to Hamilton

The 9th straight sellout crowd at TD Place was treated to an exciting game of back and forth football on Halloween night, the last home game of the season. Unfortunately it’s damn near impossible to win a game when you have 5 turnovers (with 21 points coming off them), give up a 103 yard kick off TD return and throw two pick sixes.

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Game #18: 23-5 loss to the Argos

The Redblacks season came to an end with a whimper. O’Brien got the majority of reps at QB but struggled to move the ball and seemed to crumble in the face of pressure. Argos backup QB Harris had a hot start before Ottawa’s defence allowed only a FG in the 2nd half.

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@RedBlackGade

– All images from CFL.ca, ottawaredblacks.com, Ottawa Sun or Ottawa Citizen unless otherwise noted

Redblacks Recap: Ottawa goes out with a whimper

By: Santino Filoso

If you look closely, you can count every Argo fan on one hand
If you look closely, you can count every Argo fan on one hand

On Friday night, the Redblacks inaugural season game to an end in the soulless stadium once known as Sky Dome. An Ottawa team playing for nothing but pride took on an Argos squad fighting for their playoff lives in front of the biggest home crowd of the year (roughly 19,000) and two dozen members of R-Nation who made the trek down the 401. Ultimately Toronto jumped out to a quick lead and the Redblacks never recovered. With the loss Ottawa finishes the year with a 2-16 record while the Argos playoff hopes now rest on the outcome of the Montreal/Hamilton game on Saturday.

Pre-game:

– Toronto media felt it fitting to publicly bash the Redblacks and their players, even going so far as to advise the Argos to rest key players and not try hard as they’d win anyways. Said media outlet barely deserves to hold the title of “News” and rhymes with run.

– Teams pay tribute to Canada’s fallen soldiers with poppy decals on each player’s helmet

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– The Redblacks come out for their warmups wearing their Signature Looks instead of their normal white road uniforms

– After three botched coin flip attempts, the Redblacks finally win the toss and chose to receive

1st Quarter:

– Ottawa opens with a trick play as Roy Finch (#19) laterals across the field to Antoine Pruneau (#6) who picks up 31 yards on the return

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– Despite starting on their own 46, the Redblacks quickly go two and out after a short Jeremiah Johnson (#27) run, an offside penalty and an overthrow

– Brandyn Thompson (#25) blows up Toronto RB Steve Slaton as he reaches for an over throw, but the Argos made it look easy as back up QB Trevor Harris picks apart the Redblacks secondary. Soft coverage + weak tackling = an Argo touchdown

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BOOM!

-Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) wipes out his own first down catch by starting the play offside and on the next play Henry Burris (#1) panics in the pocket and tosses a pass right into Argo DL Tristan Okpalaugo’s hands who returns it to Ottawa’s 3 yard line. Burris 14th pick of the year might also be his worst pass of the season

– Chad Owens converts one play later with a 3 yard TD pass, Argos led 14-0 after 7 minutes of play

– Danny “Boy” O’Brien (#9) enters the game and hands off to Johnson for a 10 yard gain, but that’s quickly wiped out by a holding call on Jon “Dangerbeard” Gott (#63)

– Following an incompletion and Scott Macdonell (#83) 6 yard catch, Brett Maher (#3) punts for Ottawa

– The Argos drive down the field but Abdul Kanneh (#14) intercepts a deep ball in the end zone for a touchback

– Redblacks do nothing on offence going two and out for the 4th time in the quarter

2nd Quarter:

– Swayze Waters 39 yard FG makes it 17-0

– A promising drive that starts with a 19 yard romp from Johnson and a  6 yard catch from Macdonell ends when O’Brien is sacked on second down

Johnson was a threat, both times OC Mike Gibson decided to give him the ball
Johnson was a threat, both times OC Mike Gibson decided to give him the ball

– Chad Owens has an impressive 7 yard loss on the punt return

– The Redblacks’ defence flex their muscles and force a quick two and out

– A one yard loss on a run by Johnson and an O’Brien pass aimed at the top of the CN Tower Skypod leads to another two and out

– Ottawa’s defence bends but doesn’t break, eventually forcing a punt

– Showing off a lack of arm strength, O’Brien’s slow toss across the length of the field is picked off

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Not exactly what the coaches were hoping for

– After a Keith “I Like Hittin’ People” Shologan’s (#74) 2nd down sack, the Argos settle for a 22 yard FG

– Teams trade two and outs as both offences forgo the run and toss incompletions

– With 55 seconds left, O’Brien strings together his longest drive of the day, hitting Wallce “Boom or Bust” Miles (84), Macdonell and Finch for gains of 6, 10 and 10 yards. The half ends with a flag for unnecessary roughness on the Argos

Half-time:

R-Nation decides drinking socially won’t do and breaks out the heavy stuff because stats don’t lie

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U, G, L, Y, you ain’t got no alibi, you UGLY!

3rd Quarter:

– The Redblacks break the shutout when Maher’s 63 yard kick off is downed in the end zone for a single

– The Argos move the chains once before being forced to punt

– Different QB = same result as Burris re-enters the game but goes nowhere fast with an incompletion and sack

– Harris picks apart the secondary for a few easy first downs though the Argos are eventually forced to punt

– Burris puts together a few completions hitting Miles on back to back plays for gains of 11 and 12 yards, and newcomer Eddie Poole (#8) for a 9 yard gain. Burris also uses his legs to scramble for a 10 yard gain as the pocket collapses but the drive stalls when an open Matt Carter (#85) drops a deep pass. Maher’s punt sails 54 yards through the end zone for a rouge

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– The Redblacks defense continues to do it’s part with yet another two and out

4th Quarter:

– Ottawa finally enters Toronto’s red zone when Poole makes a great adjustment to haul in a  to a 42 yard bomb. A few plays later the refs miss a blatant face mask and following two straight incomplete end zone passes the Redblacks settle for a 22 yard FG

– The Argos answer with a 45 yard FG of their own to take a 23-5 lead

After an incredible first half, Harris cooled off
After an incredible first half, Harris cooled off

– On second down Burris is sacked for 10 yard loss so once again Ottawa punts

– Giving the Argos nothing, the defence forces another Argo two and out

The defence was much improved in the 2nd half
The defence was much improved in the 2nd half

– With 4:23 left in the game and O’Brien comes in at QB for the Redblacks

– Khalil Paden (#13) makes a great adjustment (and a few Argos miss) on a 77 yard catch and run, the longest play of Ottawa’s season. The great field position is wasted when O’Brien’s pass on 3rd down falls incomplete, leading to a turnover on downs

Ottawa Redblacks v Toronto Argonauts

– Argos go two and out

– Jamill Smith (#15)  fields the punt and decides to run backwards which predictably leads to a huge loss

– O’Brien’s 3rd down pass skips off the turf causing another turnover on downs

– The players on the defensive side of the ball look angry as they continue to punish Argonaut players with big hits and force a two and out

– Time expires as O’Brien alternates between throwing to nobody and hitting Patrick Lavoie (#81) for short gains

Final score: 23-5 for the team named after a band of mythic Greek heros

Key Stats:

O’Brien went 13 of 25 for 161 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT

Burris went 7 of 13 for 94 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT

Johnson had 2 carries for 19 yards

Paden made 2 catches for 89 yards

Justin Capicciotti (#93) made 5 tackles and 1 sack

Maher punted 9 times for 395 yards

Closing Thoughts:

The Redblacks season came to an end with a game that epitomized all of the things that have plagued the team this season; poor QB play, unoriginal play calling, untimely flags and a defence that bent but didn’t break. Leading up to the game, Head Coach Rick Campbell had talked of wanting to give O’Brien a good number of reps to see how he’d react and I think it’s safe to say he was at best, disappointing. O’Brien struggled all night, making a number of bad throws and tossing an ugly interception that seemed to show a lack of arm strength. Worse, he appeared to crumble in the face of pressure, often running backwards as he threw the ball out of bounds. That being  said, Burris wasn’t much better as he also threw an ugly interception but the only time the Redblacks strung together any kind of drive was with him under centre. Johnson and Finch ran hard, all FOUR times they were called up to run the ball. Yet again, OC Mike Gibson completely abandoned the run game, proving that without a doubt he should be the first person out the door when the team starts handing out pink slips. The offensive line had a terrible game, failing to protect either of the QBs, getting manhandled by Toronto’s front 7 and failing to pick up the blitz. In terms of WRs Paden had one beautiful catch and run and Poole looked very fast, though his QBs rarely had time to get him the ball. Macdonell showed some flashes early but after the first quarter never got any more playing time. Henry², Ottawa’s leading WR, was invisible, completly disappearing and rarely getting a look. I think it’s safe to safe that the position with the highest turnover in the off-season will be the WR group, as too many guys simply didn’t get it done. I know I’ve harped it him a lot, but it’s because he’s deserved it, once again Gibson’s play calling set the team up for failure. When your offensive line is struggling you need to adapt your calls and help them out, by calling quick passes with shorter drops and by pounding the rock. Calling 4 runs in a game is criminal, especially when guys like Johnson and Finch had proven to be highly effective downhill runners. Gibson’s vanilla offence was on fully display in the red zone, as he called the exact same corner fade route three times, and every time it was either over thrown or broken up. Why not a screen, or a draw, or a quick slant?

If there’s anything to take solace in after this frustrating season, it’s the Redblacks’ defence. On another night that the offence was a no show, the players on the defensive side of the ball recovered from a weak opening half to limit the Argos to a single FG in the final 30 minutes of play. Damaso Munoz (#45), Thompson and Capicciotti lead the way with 5 tackles each though guys like Jasper Simmons (#31) and Pruneau also looked strong. The biggest issue for the defence in the first half was that they simply couldn’t get any kind of pressure on Harris, allowing him to sit back and torch a secondary who had one of it’s weaker games. From a fans perspective is was nice to see the defence throwing some crushing hits and playing angry, it really stood out in contrast to an offence that never showed any sense of urgency. Going forward there’s a number of strong pieces for the team to build around and if defences do win championships then the Redblacks are headed in the right direction.

Ottawa’s special teams tonight were spectacular. Maher made the field goals he was supposed to and punted well. Great special teams coverage on the league’s most dangerous returner, ChadOwens, meant that for the majority of the night Ottawa won the field position battle. The opening play lateral to Pruneau was well executed and a throwback to the successful tricks plays used so effectively earlier this season. Smith really struggled on punt return, too often going backwards and giving up a ton of yards in a vain attempt to look for an opening, by this point in the year he should know better.

The Redblacks closed out their season with a whimper, barely putting up a fight against a desperate Argo team. Apparently numerous players read the reports from the Toronto media bashing them yet that emotion clearly didn’t carry over into the game as this one was out of reach early in the first quarter. Though the Redblacks season can be described as nothing but a disappointment, the future seems bright with many building blocks already in place. Guys like Scott Macdonell, Antoine Pruneau, Jasper Simmons, and Justin Capicciotti are poised to have big roles going forward. The real MOP this season was Ottawa’s fans, who sold out 9 straight home games, packing TD Place with 24,000+ despite their team’s record. The support will carry over to next season but expectations will be raised, the team cannot hide behind the expansion label going forwards. GM Marcel Desjardins figures to be busy this off-season addressing weaknesses such as the offensive line and the WR corps and perhaps adding a few QBs to the mix. Who do you think the Redblacks should target in FA and in the draft?

@RedBlackGade

Redblacks Recap: Ottawa Implodes as Ticats Claw Out Win

By: Santino Filoso

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On a cold, windy, Halloween night, the Ticats rolled into town for the Redblacks final home game of the season. As has come to be expected, R-Nation packed TD Place, selling it out for the 9th straight time and proving once and for all that Ottawa IS a football town. Though the home fans were treated to a much more exciting game than the usual defensive struggle they normally see, ultimately the Redblacks lost once again.

Pre-game:

– In yet another classy move, OSEG continues to link Ottawa’s storied football history to the present by renaming and dedicating the press box to long time Rough Rider announcer Ernie Calcutt

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– R-Nation goes all out to get into the Halloween spirit

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Hamilton Tiger-Cats v Ottawa RedBlacks

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– Good to see that PA announcer Mike. Sutherland is recovering well from his recent plastic surgery

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– Players gather at centre field to salute the fans, who once again do their part, selling out TD Place for the 9th straight time

– Ottawa wins the coin toss to move their toss record to 5-14 on the year

1st Quarter:

– Roy Finch (#19) returns the opening kick off 38 yards to start the game

– Ottawa goes two and out after FB John “Boom” Delahunt (#49) makes a 4 yard catch and a deep pass for Matt “Matty Ice” Carter (#85) is broken up

– A beautiful punt by Brett Maher (#3) and great coverage pins the Ticats inside their own 10

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– Jovon “The Vet” Johnson (#2) comes roaring in on the corner blitz and brings down Collaros for his second sack of the year

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– Catches by Carter and Wallace “Boom or Bust” Miles (#84) help the Redblacks march into the red zone but the drive stalls when Burris is sacked and overthrows an open Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) in the end zone

– Maher pushes his 29 yard FG wide right but gets the single so Ottawa takes a 1-0 lead

– Heavy pressure forces Collaros to throw an incompletion on 2nd down and the Ticats go two and out

– Danny “Boy” O’Brien (#9) enters the game and immediately hits Henry² for a 20 yard gain

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– The Redblacks cover 86 yards in 7 plays for a touchdown on Jeremiah “Flow” Johnson’s (#27) back as he gets it done with hard running and a beautiful executed screen. O’Brien is shaken up on the drive after being levelled while completing a pass

Jeremiah Johnson, Colin Kelly

2nd Quarter:

– On 2nd down, Travis Brown (#43) and Jermaine Robinson (#32) meet at the QB and sack Collaros for a big loss, Ticats come away with nothing after a long drive

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– O’Brien is back in at QB and Johnson takes off for 21 yards. The drive is cut short when Finch catches a short pass and fumbles. Ticats knock it out of bounds, recover and take over at Ottawa’s 29

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– Hamilton makes the most of the turnover two plays later when back to back run plays lead to a touchdown

– The short kick off is fielded by 6 foot 6 inch DL Marlon Smith (#98) who actually looks surprisingly smooth as he scurries for a decent return

Defensive lineman? Or Dante Hall in disguise?
Defensive lineman? Or Dante Hall in disguise?

– The QB rotation continues and Burris finds Carter three times on the drive for gains of 19, 11 and finally 34 yards for a TD as Carter carves up the Ticats secondary like a pumpkin

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– All the energy and momentum is sucked out of TD Place when Brandon Banks takes the ensuing kick off for 103 yards for a touchdown

– After a 7 yard run by Johnson, Burris scrambles for his life, barely avoids the sack and throws the ball away

– Newcomer David Hinds (#20) is flagged for roughing the passer when he slightly nudges Collaros

– With no one open and under heavy pressure, Collaros forced to throw the ball away on 2nd down

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– O’Brien takes the reigns of the offence and after hiting Delahunt for a 15 yard gain and  Johnson for anther 10,  an overthrow is picked off and returned 46 yards

– Justin Capicciotti’s (#93) ninth sack of the year is an 18 yard loss and on 3rd and 33 the Ticats punt

– Jamill Smith’s 28 yard punt return is wiped out by an objectionable conduct call on Ottawa’s bench

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– Johnson runs for 6 before O’Brien takes a knee to end the half

Jeremiah Johnson

– Redblacks lead 15-14 after 30 min

Half-time:

– Big Joe’s anthem plays

– This guy wins best costume and $1000

3rd Quarter:

– Ticats get the ball and march down the field thanks to sloppy arm tackles and flags. Capicciotti gets his 2nd sack of the night but Hamilton takes the lead with a 22 yard FG

– With Burris in at QB the offence puts together one of it’s best drives of the night; Johnson picks up 28 yards on two runs, Delahunt hauls in an 11 yard pass, Smith gains 9 yards on sweep, Burris gives the Redblacks a fresh set of downs after a QB sneak and Johnson caps the drive off in style, juking 25 yards into the end zone, making Ticat defenders look silly

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– The defence flexes it’s muscles quickly forcing another Ticat two and out

pressure

– O’Brien has a series to forget as he fumbles the handoff on first down before throwing a pick six on the next play. Ticats lead 24-22

– With Burris in at QB, the Redblacks go two and out following two incompletions as OC Mike Gibson decides that running the ball isn’t a good idea in a tight, one score game

– Brown gets the ball back for Ottawa when he absolutely blows up Terrell Sinkfield and forces a fumble that is scooped up by DL Moton “The Motivator” Hopkins (#95)

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– Johnson runs for a short gain and Burris is sacked on 2nd down. A bonehead after the whistle flag on OL Colin Kelly (#67) pushes the Redblacks back an extra 15 yards

4th Quarter:

– Hamilton RB Mossis Madu wobbles off the field after getting walloped by a trio of Ottawa defenders

– Ticats increase their lead with a 28 yard FG

– Miles season is summed up in a nutshell as he drops an easy pass before making two tough catches over the middle for gains of 19 and 12 yards respectively. Maher’s 42 yard FG makes it 27-25

– Smith blows up a run for a loss and Collaros throws an incompletion as the Ticats go two and out

– Inside the shadow of his own goal posts, Burris is sacked and then proceeds to show that anything O’Brien can do he can do better by throwing his own pick six

Henry Burris

– HC Rick Campbell decides to keep O’Brien on the bench and Burris trots back out (after the game we learn that O’Brien was hurt)

– Ottawa is saved by the flag when a sack is wiped out by a roughing the passer call

– Carter gets way behind the defence but a sure fire touchdown falls incomplete, rolling off his fingertips

– Khalil Paden (#13), Patrick Lavoie (#81), Miles and Carter all make catches to get the Redblacks into the red zone but OC Mike Gibson decides to run the ball on 2nd down which results in a 4 yard loss

On 3rd and 7, down by 9 with 1:47 left and on the Ticat’s 19 yard line, Campbell chooses NOT to kick the FG to cut the lead to 6 and instead Burris’ pass is picked off in the end zone

– Hamilton strings together a few first downs to run out the clock

Final score: 34-25

Key stats:

Burris went 15 of 22 for 222 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs

O’Brien went 6 of 10 for 83 yards with 0 TDs and 2 INTs

Johnson had 17 carries for 131 yards and 2 TDs

Carter made 5 catches 81 yards and 1 TD

Capicciotti made 4 tackles and 2 sacks

Maher punted 4 times for 180 yards

Closing Thoughts:

Once again the Redblacks take two steps forward and two steps back. It’s hard to win CFL games and it’s damn near impossible to win when you have 5 turnovers (with 21 points off them), give up a 103 yard kick off TD return and throw two pick sixes.

The dual QB attack was effective early but seemed to hinder both QBs as the game worn on, as neither one seemed to be able to settle into a rhythm, both overthrowing receivers and tossing interceptions. A case could be made for either QB having the better game but in the end neither did enough to protect the ball. The run game was extremely effective as Jeremiah Johnson tore through the Ticats like a knife through hot butter. Inexplicably, in spite of the run game rolling on all cylinders, OC Mike Gibson sometimes got away from the run which lead to two and outs. The WRs were led by Miles and Carter and once again though Carter had a strong game, ultimately he will be remembered for the late drop when he was wide open. Disappointingly, promising rookie Scott Macdonell (#83) never saw the field, despite proving his value in recent weeks. The shuffled offensive line looked very good when run blocking, opening up huge running lanes for Johnson to exploit but failed to pick up the blitz in pass protection several times, giving up sacks in crucial situations. Mike Gibson chose not to take advantage of Hamilton’s aggressiveness with bland play calling, calling only one screen and no draws or misdirection plays. Still, it was one of the team’s better offensive performances on the year, though much of the good work they did was undone with interceptions and fumbles.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Redblacks made the Ticats grind out every drive. Collaros was under duress for the whole game but often hung in the pocket just long enough to take a hit and deliver the pass for a first down gain. The Redblacks routinely blew up plays in the backfield for losses, setting up 2nd and long and allowing them to blitz and tee off on Collaros. Though they didn’t score, the unit generated another turnover and bailed out the offence after O’Brien’s first pick, sacking Collaros to push the Ticats out of FG range. Technically the defence only gave up 13 points with 14 of the Ticats 34 coming off interceptions taken to the house and 7 from a kick return.

Special teams again winded up costing Ottawa big time. As has been the case all season long, Maher punted extremely well but shanked a short FG, points that would’ve come in handy late in the game. The most glaring error was the team surrendering yet another long kick return touchdown, the 6th return touchdown given up by the Redblacks this year.

Head Coach Rick Campbell will take some flak this week for another puzzling decision. Late in the game on 3rd and 7 when down by 9, he chose to forgo the FG and instead go for the end zone. If the Redblacks kick a field goal at that point they extend the game, keep hope alive and give their offence another shot. Instead, by choosing to go for it, the game was effectively over the second the Redblacks didn’t convert that play. As has happened the past few weeks, Campbell looked like a rookie coach simply blowing an important decision late in the game. Clearly he’s still learning how to properly manage a game but as a fan it’s much more frustrating to see a coach make a mistake than a player.

Looking back, this year will be a disappointment but it’s important to remember that this was Ottawa’s 10th loss by 10 points or less this season. The Redblacks may have lost 15 games but they were almost never blown out. Thankfully their two wins came at home and it was fantastic to see the community of Ottawa embracing their new team, selling out every home game. Many of the players on the team played their last game in front of R-Nation tonight and they’ll look back on their time in the Nation’s Capital with fond memories. Next up for the Redblacks is a date with the Argos in the soulless stadium once known as the Sky Dome. Ottawa will potentially have the opportunity to knock the Argos out of playoffs and with jobs on the line you can be sure the team will bring their A game.

@RedBlackGade

P.S. Hats off to the team for rewarding loyal fans by having players literally give the shirts off their backs to fans after the game

– All images via CFL.ca, Ottawaredblacks.com and the Ottawa Citizen

Redblacks Recap: Ottawa Wins Even if the Redblacks Lose

By: Santino Filoso

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On an emotional Friday night, and on the first big gathering since Wednesday’s shooting, Ottawa came together as a community to begin healing through the power of sports. The Redblacks played an inspired game, buoyed by the energy and emotion of an 8th straight sell out crowd at TD Place but unfortunately still couldn’t find a way to finish, losing to the Alouettes and dropping  their record to 2-14  on the year.

Pre-game:

The vibe around the city and build up to the game was simply outstanding with players and fans alike aware of its significance

https://twitter.com/mute4383/status/525653931989688321

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The world’s biggest Canadian flag (on loan from the Ticats) is displayed across the field as Redblacks and Alouette players stand side by side during the singing of O Canada

Burris’ makes an incredible pre-game speech to the offence

1st Quarter:

– The Redblacks get the ball to start and move it with ease. Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) makes a 22 yard catch before Roy Finch (#19) and Jonathan Williams (#23) pound the rock on three straight plays picking up 5, 10 and 8 yards. Patrick Lavoie (#81) gets in on the fun with his own 10 yard catch and Henry² caps the drive off in style hauling in a 6 yard TD pass

Montreal Alouettes v Ottawa RedBlacks

– With his 1st passing touchdown at home in 94 possessions, Henry Burris (#1) moves into 3rd place all time, passing Ron Lancaster with 334 career passing TDs.

– Montreal responds with a long drive of their own, moving the chains twice with big second down catches by SJ Green. The Als appear to settle for a FG attempt when Jerrell Gavins (#24) nearly gets a pick six from his own end zone but Montreal coach Tom Higgins challenges for pass interference

– About 2.7 seconds after the challenge flag hits the ground, the league overturns the call, giving the Als a first down on Ottawa’s 1 yard line. Short yardage specialist Tanner “One Yard Ain’t No Thang” Marsh wastes no time punching it in on the QB sneak to tie the game at 7

– A heavy dose of Williams bulldozing defenders and Finch weaving through would be tacklers allows the Redblacks to march the ball deep into Als territory before the promising drive ends when Burris’ pass is tipped and picked off.

Never a bad call to give this man the ball
Never a bad call to give this man the ball

2nd Quarter:

– A Marlon Smith (#98) sack is wiped out by a pass interference call on Gavins (his second of the night) but continued heavy pressure forces Crompton to throw an incompletion and ensures the Als have to punt

– True to his word, HC Rick Campbell puts Danny “Boy” O’Brien (#9) in for a series and after handing off to Williams for a 4 yard loss, he throws into heavy coverage and his first pass of the night is picked off

The future?
The future?

– Abdul Kanneh (#14) immediately gets Ottawa the ball back with his own interception

– O’Brien comes in at QB again and on the ensuing play William’s leg gets awkwardly twisted as he is pulled down

– After the injury time out Burris re-enters the game and hits Lavoie for a first down gain but his next two passes fall incomplete. Brett Maher’s (#3) beautiful punt pins the Als on their 5 yard line

– A swarming defence nearly get its second interception of the night before forcing a two and out

– Much to R-Nation’s relief Williams re-enters the game, looking no worse for the wear

A sight for sore eyes though he wasn't used in the 2nd half
A sight for sore eyes though he wasn’t used in the 2nd half

– Former Renegade LB Kyries Hebert shows that there’s no place like home as he blows up a screen on 2nd down. Things go from bad to worse when Maher’s punt is blocked

The last active Renegade
The last active Renegade still making plays

– Montreal settles for a 41 yard FG when Antoine “The Phenom” Pruneau (#6) sniffs out the screen for a loss and Keith “I Like Hittin’ People” Shologan (#74) and Justin Capicciotti (#93) meet at the QB, sacking Crompton

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– Backed up by flags, a sack leads to a two and out for the Redblacks

– The defence bends but doesn’t break and the Als eventually kick a 14 yard FG

– With less than a minute left in the game, O’Brien comes back in at QB and hands off to Finch three times in a row

– After 30 minutes, Habs lead 13-7

Half-time:

3rd Quarter:

– Als get the ball to start the second half and two questionable flags on Kanneh, (pass inference and later objectionable conduct) lead directly to a touchdown, 20-7 for the Als

– Burris’ pass hits Henry² right in the hands, but he can’t hang on and instead pops it up for the player with the best name in the CFL, Bear Woods, who picks it off

Burris celebrating the tip drill
“It was right in his hands!”

– Montreal turns the turnover into points with a 47 yard FG

– The Redblacks string together a few first downs courtesy of hard running from Finch and catches by Khalil Paden (#13) and Carlton Mitchell (#88) but the drive stalls when Burris is sacked on 2nd down

– Faced with 3rd and 9 and an inattentive Montreal defence, Maher fakes the punt and passes to Lavoie for a 38 yard gain

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– After an incompletion and yet another sack, Maher splits the uprights with a 21 yard FG to make it 23-10

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4th Quarter:

– Despite losing a shoe, Brandyn Thompson (#25) makes a beautiful play and breaks up a deep pass on 2nd down

– O’Brien gets another series and proceeds to book up with Wallace “Boom or Bust” Miles (#84) on a 44 yard bomb before second round pick Scott Macdonell (#83) makes a catch, splits two defenders and rumbles 58 yards to the house for his first career touchdown. In 2 plays and 56 seconds the Redblacks cover 102 yards.

The first of many
The first of many

– Relentless defensive pressure earns another Alouette two and out

– O’Brien and the offence go two and out but Maher’s coffin corner punt again pins the Als deep

– Pruneau nearly picks off Crompton and on the next play Kanneh forces a fumble which is recovered by Jovon Johnson. Unfortunately and inexplicably the call is overturned after a review when the officials claim the Montreal player was down by contact

– Not satisfied with the bush league ruling or perhaps simply to spite the refs, HC Rick Campbell blows everyone’s mind by challenging the review, asking the refs to take a second look at the play. The review of the review is quickly shot down by the officials who confirm the review

– The Als march down the field in small chunks, chewing up precious clock before eventually punting. Ottawa takes over on their own 10 with 2:31 left in the game

With short pass after short pass, it was death by 1000 cuts for the Redblacks
With short pass after short pass, it was death by 1000 cuts for the Redblacks

– Following a Macdonell 7 yard catch, Burris throws the ball away under heavy pressure. Just like last week, facing 3rd and 3 and down 6 points with 2 min left in the game, HC Rick Campbell chooses to punt and crosses his fingers that his team will get the ball back

– The Redblacks defence shows why it’s the backbone of the team, bailing out their coach by forcing a quick two and out

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– With 1:15 left, on 1st down Burris overthrows Carter on a deep route. On 2nd down the pass is behind Macdonell. With the game on the line and needing 10 yards to keep the drive alive, NOT A SINGLE RECEIVER RUNS PAST THE FIRST DOWN MARKER, so Burris checks down and Macdonell makes a 7 yard catch but can’t get any more.

– Alouettes take over and run out the clock

Final score: 23-17

Key stats:

Burris went 12 of 21 for 110 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs

O’Brien went  3 of 5 for 111 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT

Williams ran 8 times for 50 yards

Macdonell hauled in 8 passes for 73 yards and 1 TD

Simmons made 8 tackles

Maher punted 4 times for 173 yards, averaging 43 yards per kick

Closing thoughts:

It was never really about the game to be honest, in the first major gathering since Wednesday’s tragic events, the football was always going to be secondary. The focus tonight was on Ottawa’s response to tragedy and it rose to the occasion. The Redblacks went out of their way to honour this week’s fallen soldiers and R-Nation did an incredible job singing O Canada for the entire country.

After a dazzling opening drive that made it look easy, the Redblacks failed to move the ball with any kind of consistency as flags and sacks killed numerous drives. Burris started out hot and finally threw a touchdown at home but quickly cooled off with overthrows and drops leading to two and outs. Danny O’Brien got a fair number of reps and after his first pass was picked off he responded in style, covering 102 yards in 2 plays for Ottawa’s second touchdown. Unfortunately Campbell’s flip-flopping between QBs seemed to not only hinder the offence, but also didn’t ride the hot hand as O’Brien was responsible for all the late positive momentum but was on the sidelines for Ottawa’s final two drives. The run game took a big hit when Williams was lost to injury though Finch continued to shine when called upon. No receiver made more than three catches or really stood out other than Scott Macdonell who looks and plays like he belongs. The offensive line had a tough game, failing to provide a clean pocket for the majority of the night and giving up four sacks. Perhaps the most frustrating play of the game was on 3rd and 10 with 45 seconds left. Mike Gibson dialled up a brilliant play that culminated with no receivers running past the first down marker. Kind of a fitting reflection of the Redblacks offensive performance this year. Equally infuriating was the decision to run the ball three straight times to end the first half when we only needed about twenty yards into field goal range.

Defensively the Redblacks more than punched above their weight, repeatedly bailing out an offence that put them in tough positions with five turnovers. Though it didn’t result in many sacks, heavy pressure forced Crompton to rush a number of throws and led to incompletions. Simmons and Pruneau led the a swarming defence with eight and seven tackles respectively. The defence seemed to provide the late spark needed to turn the tide in Ottawa’s favour with a forced fumble, but a blotched review took away the turnover and all the momentum the Redblacks had built up.

Special teams were good as Ottawa clearly won the field position battle. Maher was solid punting, showing off his ability to pin teams deep with accurate corner punts and a perfectly executed fake punt led to a huge first down and a 38 yard gain, and later a field goal. Finch looked dangerous every time he fielded a punt though he always seemed to be one block away from a huge return. Once again the referees were a major factor with more than a few scratching decisions. Both teams were flagged a number of times as a result of sloppy and undisciplined play and what turned out to be a pivotal play in the game was decided by a mind boggling call on a review. Twice Ottawa had reviews go against them, first when a pass interference call lead to Montreal’s first touchdown and second when the refs somehow found enough evidence to overturn a clear fumble, which was the call on the field. There’s no way around the fact that the zebras were a deciding factor in the game tonight, throwing 27 flags for 253 yards, with 14 of those going against Ottawa for 143 yards.

Rick Campbell made a few decisions that will be second guessed, such as his attempt to challenge a challenge, asking for a review of the review and again choosing to punt the ball away when down by a single score with two minutes left in the game. The incredible number of after the whistle penalties reflect poorly on him as it shows a lack of discipline. It’s obvious that certain guys are still buying in and giving their all, but some guys are playing for themselves and stupid, selfish, bonehead plays show that.

Next up for the Redblacks is the final home game of the year on Halloween night against the Hamilton Ticats. Ottawa will be playing for pride and looking to entertain a hopefully 9th straight sell out crowd. Make sure you come out and cheer loudly because it’s your last chance to show the team some love and to put an exclamation mark on our inaugural season.

@RedBlackGade

– All images via CFL.ca and ottawaredblacks.com

Redblacks Recap: Steel Town Frowns

By: Santino Filoso

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When in doubt, breakdance

On a windy Friday night, the Redblacks rolled into Steel Town seeking to play spoiler after being embarrassed last week in BC. Though the defence was once again back in fine form, ultimately a toothless offence and a number of penalties prevented Ottawa from getting its first win on the road. With the loss the Redblacks fall to 0-8 on the road and 2-13 on the year and ensure that they’ll be drafting first next May.

Pre-game:

– Hardcore fans braved the smog and Ticats fans to represent R-Nation deep into enemy territory; a few took advantage of an away trip package, others won a contest, and some made the trip by themselves, either way, big props to all of them

– On the heels of their worst loss of the season and one in which the offence struggled to move the ball with any consistency, the coaching staff made a number of line up changes. Wide receivers Khalil Paden (#13), Jamill Smith (#15) and Dobson Collins (#80) were replaced by Dan Buckner (#82), Carlton Mitchell (#88) and Onrea Jones (#89)

– Russ Jackson was on hand to take in the action

– In something that’s become so common it could simply be part of their pre-game ritual, Ottawa loses the coin toss

1st Quarter:

– Ottawa kicks off and Antoine “The Phenom” Pruneau (#6) quickly makes his presence felt with a special teams tackle

– The Redblacks give up a ton of yards on the Ticats’ opening drive but eventually force them to settle for a 22 yard FG

– Roy Finch (#19) loses a yard on a pitch and a pass intended for Marter (Matt Carter #85) falls incomplete as the Redblacks go two and out to start the game

– Strong defensive play forces a two and not quite out for the Ticats

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– On 3rd and 13 the Redblacks get caught with their pants down when the Ticats fake the punt for a huge gain. Hamilton kicker Justin Medlock lobs a 21 yard pass that is nearly broken up by Eric Fraser (#7) but ultimately caught for a first down

– Hamilton punts for a rouge to go up 4-0

– Wallce “Boom or Bust” Miles (#84) goes offsides and drops a pass that hits him in the hands but is bailed out by Marter’s 26 yard grab

– Following two runs by Jeremiah Johnson (#27) for 9 yards, Head Coach Rick Campbell choses to punt on 3rd and 1, despite being on Hamilton’s side of the field

– Collaros shows why he’s a dual threat, beating the blitz with a quick throw and scrambling out of pressure for an 18 yard gain

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2nd Quarter:

– The Redblacks jump offside when Collaros grunts the cadence in deeper tone

– Poor tackling by Abdul Kanneh (#14) leads to a huge gain, thankfully Pruneau cleans up his mess

– Travis Brown (#43) sacks Collaros for an 11 yard loss

– Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) continues his season long domination of the Ticats, making a 25 yard catch before Finch picks up 20 on a sweep

finchrun

– Brett Maher (#3) does his best Buffalo Bills impression, pushing his 48 yard FG wide right but Ottawa still picks up a rouge to get on the board

– While covering the missed FG, Jon “Dangerbeard” Gott (#63) gets flagged for unnecessary roughness, giving Hamilton great field position

– The Ticats go two and out when Justin Capicciotti (#93) gets his 8th sack of the year

capsack

– Following a 15 yard catch by Henry², penalties and incompletions lead to a Redblacks’ punt

– Brandyn Thompson (#25) picks off a tipped pass for his 4th interception of the year

– The offence looks a gift horse in the mouth, failing to get points off the turnover and Maher pins the Ticats at their own 6 with a coffin corner punt

– Once again, Hamilton goes two and out

– Henry Burris (#1) gets brought down twice as the Ticats get back to back sacks

burrissack

– Collaros leads a perfect two minute drill, stringing together a series of short passes and running when necessary to move Hamilton into position for a 26 yard FG to end the half

– 7-1 for the bad guys after 30 min

Half-time:

Ottawa legend and former Rough Rider Gerry Organ sums up the first half of play

As Shakira said, stats don’t lie

3rd Quarter:

– The Redblacks receive and move the chains a few times thanks to catches from Marter, Patrick Lavoie (#81) and Onrea Jones (#89) but the drive bogs down when Burris is stripped while scrambling, lucky Ottawa recovers to punt

– On 2nd and 15, Pruneau gets his 2nd sack of the year which leads to points when the Ticats chose to concede a safety rather than punt into the wind from the shadow of their goalposts

– The offence appears to click as Johnson rumbles for gains for 5 and 4 yards, Miles makes back to back catches for 5 and 21 yards, and Henry² hauls in a 7 yard pass 

– A breakdown in communication leads to a sack and following Marter’s 12 yard catch, Maher’s 38 yard FG clangs off the upright, denying Ottawa even a rouge

– A fake WR reverse is snuffed out when Capicciotti levels the wideout and Kalonji Kashama (#97) drags down Collaros for his first career CFL sack

– Mitchell gets mugged at the Ticat’s 20 and a 49 yard pass interference call gives Ottawa it’s biggest gain of the night

– Maher proves that the third time’s a charm finally putting a 28 yard FG through the uprights

– Ticat’s RB Terrell Sinkfield busts a 47 run on a visibly tired defence, Jasper Simmons (#31) prevents a score, pushing him out at Ottawa’s 9 yard line

4th Quarter:

– Eluding a charging Keith “I Like Hittin’ People” Shologan (#74), Collaros escapes heavy pressure and tosses an 8 yard TD

– Finch allows the ensuing kick off to roll through the end zone for a rouge

– Two incompletions = another two and out for the Redblacks

– Hamilton moves the chains once before the defence flexes it’s muscles and forces Medlock to punt

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Pruneau breaks up the pass

– A short run, a false start flag and a pass high and behind Mitchell means Maher crushes another punt

– Ticats extend their lead to 10 with their 3rd rouge of the night

– Henry²’s 15 yard catch is followed up by two straight incompletions, yet again Ottawa is forced to punt

h2

– The Ticats WRs catch a bad case of the Redblacks, with back to back drops

– Wanting to prove that anything Maher can do he can do better, Medlock’s 36 yard FG dings off the same goalpost

– Finch runs for 8 yards on first down but Burris’ 2nd down pass falls incomplete

– Down 10 points with 3 minutes left, HC Rick Campbell decides not to go for it and punts the ball proving that he failed Football 101

– On the punt Fraser inexplicably gets called for blocking in the back despite the fact that he was racing down the field to make a tackle

Sometimes you need to laugh so you don't cry
Sometimes you need to laugh so you don’t cry

– Hamilton pounds the rock and grinds the clock out to win the game

Final score: 16-6

Key Stats:

Burris went 14 of 27 for 160 yards

Johnson had 7 carries for 23 yards

Henry² made 4 catches for 62 yards

Pruneau had 10 tackles and a sack

Maher made 1 of 3 FG attempts and punted 10 times for 394 yards

Closing Thoughts:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Poor play calling, dropped passes, and too many flags led directly to another Redblacks’ loss. On a night when the defence bounced back from a tough outing in BC, the Redblacks offensive drought continued. Henry Burris struggled all night, over- or under-throwing receivers, and on those times when he did hit them right in the numbers, more often than not his passes were dropped. Burris isn’t getting any help from his offensive line or OC, but he’s clearly not getting it done at QB. In his infinite wisdom, Mike Gibson once again chose to ignore the run game, handing the ball off 10 times during the course of the game. Going back to last game that’s 19 rushing attempts against two of the stronger defences in the league. Talk about setting yourself up for failure. Other than Henry², the rest of Ottawa’s receivers struggled to hang onto the ball and make an impact on the game, though Matt Carter did have his best outing since Week 8. Wallace Miles continued to show big play potential yet drop the easy ones. New additions Buckner, Jones and Mitchell were simply non factors mustering 3 catches for 6 yards between themselves. The offensive line struggled to both open up holes for the running game and to give Burris time to set his feet. It also probably didn’t help that Ottawa kept trying to run deep routes instead of the short quick passing attack employed so successfully by the Ticats. Simply put, our offence was offensive. Offensive co-ordinator Mike Gibson showed zero creativity all night, calling no play-action, no boot legs, no roll outs and no screens. At this point you’d have to assume he’s gone for sure at the end of the season.

If there was one positive to take from this loss it’s that last week’s blowout loss in BC was an anomaly for our defence, they bounced back in a big way after being thrashed by the Lions. Despite being on the field for the majority of the game the defence limited the Ticats to a single touchdown, two field goals and three rouges; on most nights that’s good enough to win. The defence even chipped in on the scoreboard, picking up a safety to go along with four sacks and an interception. Rookie sensation Antoine Pruneau led the way for an aggressive blitz heavy defence and was constantly around the ball, racking up 10 tackles and a sack. The pressure brought by the Redblacks’ all-Canadian defensive line helped ease the burden on the secondary who limited the Ticats to just 171 yards passing. As to be expected, the defence wore down a bit as the game went on, which is only normal considering how long they were on the field.

It was not a bright night for Ottawa’s special teams, as Maher missed two field goals and the Redblacks were caught napping on a 3rd and 13 when the Ticats faked a punt for a first down. Flags were a major issue and Ottawa’s undisciplined play repeatedly gave the Ticats great field position.

With Ottawa’s playoff hopes dead and the team simply playing for respect, Rick Campbell’s decision to punt the ball down 10 points on 3rd and 2 near midfield with 3 minutes left in the game is simply appalling. Your team is 2-12; Who cares if you lose 23-6 or 16-6? You have to show that you’re playing to win and be aggressive. Instead, by punting, Campbell looks like he’s more concerned with keeping the score respectable. Is that the message he wants to send to players, that it’s okay to lose as long as the game was close? His decision to punt the ball is even more shocking when you consider that the Redblacks had no timeouts left due to a horrible challenge that was doomed to fail.

Next up for the Redblacks is a home date with the Montreal Alouettes, where Ottawa will once again have a chance to play spoiler and throw a monkey wrench in another team’s playoff hopes. R-Nation has sold out seven straight games at TD Place and hopefully that trend continues next Friday night. For some strange reason the game starts at 6:30 so make sure you arrive nice and early.

@RedBlackGade

– All images via CFL.ca and the Ottawa Sun

BC Place, where faint playoff hopes go to die

By: Santino Filoso

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The man almost single handedly responsible for killing Ottawa’s playoff chances

Riding high after last week’s huge home win, the Redblacks headed to Vancouver attempting to do something exceedingly rare in Ottawa’s CFL history, win in BC. Unfortunately with their backs against the wall, they laid a complete egg, coming out flat and getting their ass kicked on both sides of the ball.

Pre-Game:

– Just in case you were getting over the fact that Ottawa hasn’t had a CFL team for 17 of the last 20 years, the league’s twitter feed did their best to reopen the wound

– The Redblacks arrive at BC Place in style, after doing a quick grocery run

– In a somewhat surprising move, Ottawa dons their slick black home uniforms on the road for the second time season

– Henry Burris (#1) makes his 200th career start while Keith “I like hitting people” Shologan (#74) makes his 100th

1st Quarter:

– Ottawa receives to start the game and after stringing together a few first downs with strong running from Jonathan “CFL Offensive Player of the Week” Williams  (#23) and a beautiful 28 yard catch from Henry² (Marcus Henry #16),  the drive stalls when Khalil Paden (#13) can’t hang onto a pass that hits him right in the mitts

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– Ex-Redblack and current BC Lion Kevin Glenn hits a wide open Ernest Jackson for a 40 yard gain but goes down hurt as Moton “The Motivator” Hopkins (#95) levels him.  Glenn breaks a nail and comes out of the game for a few plays

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It’s a little known fact but every trainer on BC also doubles as a manicurist

– Former Rough Rider and 12 time grandfather Paul McCallum opens the scoring for BC with a 30 yard FG

– Burris moves the chains three times with catches made by Roy Finch (#19) and Henry² before back to back drops by Marter (Matt Carter #85) force Brett Maher (#3) to punt

– Eddie Elder (#5) lowers the boom as the defence settles down and forces the Lions to go two and out

– Finch looks quick as he busts a 17 yard run and John Delahunt (#49) picks up 18 yards on a beautiful play actions pass

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He got very few chances but when he did get the ball Finch looked as good as advertised

– A catch by Dobson Collins (#80) is wiped out by a holding call and finding himself all alone on the goal line,  a wide open Paden drops a TD. The Redblacks are forced to once again punt

2nd Quarter:

– Heavy pressure forces a quick BC two and out

– Williams picks up 5 and 8 yards on back to back running plays before Wallce Miles (#84) drops a deep pass and Burris is sackedHenry Burris, Cord Parks

– Kanneh Abdul (#14) is flagged for pass interference and BC busts a big run as the Redblacks’ secondary realizes shoulder tackles don’t work.

– A second questionable pass interference call, this time on Jerrell Gavins (#24), moves ball to 1 yard line and is quickly punched in

– Scrambles by Burris, a 26 yard catch by Miles and a 7 yard run by Finch lead to Ottawa’s first points of the day as Maher nails a 34 yard FG

– Sloppy tackling lets BC convert a 1st and 20 before Gavins gets torched by Jackson, allowing him to blow by for a 60 yard TD catch and run

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When your DB is a dozen steps behind the WR, you’re gonna have a bad time

– Ottawa responds by going two and out

– 17-3 for not Ottawa after 30 min

Half-time:

– TSN’s panel fawns over Finch and deep in the bowls of BC Place OC Mike Gibson decides to completely abandon the run

3rd Quarter:

– BC receives and marches down the field and scores a TD as a surgical Glenn shreds Ottawa’s defence, going 7/7 for 82 yards on the drive; apparently he passes the ball as well as he passes the blame for his twitter account being “hacked”

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– Redblacks go two and out as Mike Gibson ignores Williams and Finch

– Ernest Jackson continues to dominate Gavins, making a 40 yard catch that leads to Paul “Granddaddy” McCallum’s second FG of the night

– Henry² makes a 7 yard catch for a 1st down but the ball is spotted 2 yards short, but instead of challenging the Redblacks come out in a weird ass formation before burning a time out and QB sneaking the ball for a 1st down

– A few plays later Marter lets another pass bounce off his hands, forcing a punt

4th Quarter:

– Glenn leads BC on another touchdown drive and I hate him that much more and wonder why I’m not in bed

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– Down 34-3, Burris is pulled and Danny “Boy” O’Brien (#9) enters the game for Ottawa in time to hand off the ball to Williams who quickly picks up 8 yards though once again the drive stalls

– NFL reject John Beck enters the game at QB for the Lions and I mentally zone out as I no longer care

– The comedy of errors continues when a bad snap snails over Maher’s head on 3rd down, leading to a massive loss and setting the Lions up on the Redblack’s 13 yard line. Predictably they score

– O’Brien is picked off but the Lions fumble and the ball is recovered by Scott “Why Am I So Low on the Depth Chart When I Actually Catch the Ball?” Macdonell (#83)

– Nothing else worth mentioning happens

Final score: 41-3 for BC

Key Stats:

Burris went 12 of 21 for 143 yards with 0 TDs and INTs

Williams had 10 carries for 42 yards

Henry² made 3 catches for 52 yards

Travis Brown made 7 tackles

Maher punted 9 times for 343 yards

Closing Thoughts:

While this might not be our most frustrating loss, though we’ve had our fair share of those, it might be our most disappointing, especially after the promise we showed last week. In a game that Ottawa simply had to have and one in which many thought positive momentum from last week would carry over against a banged up Lions squad, the Redblacks simply shit the bed. This was a statement game for Ottawa and they came out without a pulse and proceeded to embarrass themselves and their fans.

On the offensive side of the ball Burris was simply pedestrian, not having a stellar game but also not losing it for his team. As we’ve come to expect, he had a few throws he’d like back but at the same time his receivers dropped a number of easy passes, including a few that could have swung momentum in Ottawa’s favour. Khalil Paden dropped a pass at the goal line and Miles and Marter looked terrible with drops of their own. In an extremely telling stat, no wide receiver made more than two catches, other than Henry² who had a whopping three. The CFL’s reigning offensive player of the week, Jonathan Williams, was MIA though through no fault of his own. You can’t pick up 5 yards at a time (as he was) when you’re never even handed the ball. Newcomer Finch showed good burst and also averaged a healthy yards per carry but was also ignored from the middle of the 2nd quarter on. Williams finished with 10 carries but that’s deceiving as he had two carries to run out the first half and also two in garbage time late in the 4th. Which means that Mike Gibson put the ball in his hands six times when it mattered. Ignoring the run game when playing a strong defence such as BC’s is simply criminal. Looking back the Redblacks will be frustrated as they actually did move the ball early on, but drops and flags killed any chance they had of scoring.

On the other side of the ball, the defence blew, showing no spine and getting pushed around all night long, giving up 548 yards of net offence. The front seven failed to put any kind of pressure on the QB, which allowed Glenn and his band of scrub receivers to torch the secondary. Stats don’t lie; Glenn racked up 345 yards and 3 TDs and completed 74% of his passes. Ernest Jackson alone accounted for 195 of those yards yet the Redblacks never switched their man coverage, even as he continued to haul in gains of 40+ yards. Ottawa’s lost a lot of games this season but it’s rare to see their defence pushed around the way it was last night, they even gave up 170 yards on the ground.

Special teams coverage was fantastic containing the league’s most dangerous returner and Maher made his one FG attempt with ease. Some incredibly weak PI calls helped the Lions sustain a few early drives and lead directly to points but that’s pretty much come to be expected as CFL referees continue to influence games with bad calls.

With the loss the Redblacks season will officially finish their season in Toronto on November 7th. After one brilliant game Mike Gibson was right back to his usual inept and incomprehensible self, ignoring the run game and failing to call plays that play to his players strengths. With the Redblacks now out of the playoff race he should be unemployed ASAP. Head Coach Rick Campbell will have to find a way to motivate his players for the remaining 4 games because they simply cannot have another game like this. Next up is a date with the Ticats at Tim Horton’s Field, where they are currently undefeated. The game will be a real test of the character of the guys on the team, as R-Nation will easily be able to see who mails it in and who still gives it their all. Expectations need to be realistic for an expansion team, but there’s no way fans will tolerate the team laying eggs like this.

@RedBlackGade

P.S.

One thing that drove me nuts last night was the fact that Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor kept mistakenly saying Ottawa didn’t want Glenn and so he was motivated to prove a point, which is completely wrong. As we’ve covered before here on the Defend the R, Glenn wanted the starting job handed to him on a silver platter, despite the fact that Marcel Desjardins said he’d add competition from the day he picked Glenn in the expansion draft. It’s understandable that Glenn felt upset but it’s wrong for anyone to paint him as some wrong done by QB who got his revenge against the team who didn’t want him.

46 Redblacks Took the Field Friday Night, You’ll Never Guess What Happened Next…

By: Santino Filoso

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On a beautiful fall night for football in front of their 7th straight sell-out crowd, the Ottawa Redblacks snapped their 9-game losing streak in dramatic fashion. A strong running game and suffocating defence moved Ottawa’s record to 2-11 on the year, mathematically keeping them in the playoff race for another week.

Pre-game:

– The Winnipeg Free Press features an awesome article on the CFL’s return to it’s rightful place in Ottawa

– Even a 9-game losing streak can’t dampen R-Nation’s enthusiasm on game day

– Carleton Security waits until the 7th home game to declare tailgating illegal, probably on grounds of safety. Meanwhile students continue to drink themselves blind in their dorms, Mike’s and Ollie’s

tailgating
Highly suspicious activity, right in the middle of class!

– Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame welcomes Ed Laverty and NCAFA president Steve Dean into their ranks

– The man in charge of Canada decides to take in the game

– Proving that offensive lineman don’t run an inch more than they need to, Jon “Dangerbeard” Gott (#63) just clears the tunnel

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This angle is referred to as the “Snap Cam”

– The Redblacks lose yet another coin flip, falling to 3-12 on the year

1st Quarter:

– Setting the tone early, Travis “Sticky Fingers” Brown (#43) shows why he’s Ottawa’s tip drill champ, picking off an errant pass and taking it 37 yards to the house behind a massive block from Jasper Simmons (#31)

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– Henry Burris (#1) and the offence start out strong as Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) and Dobson Collins (#80) make back to back first down catches but after the zebras ignore a blatant face mask, Brett Maher’s (#3) 52 yard FG attempt is shanked and returned 114 yards for a TD

– The Redblacks go two and out while Maher takes out his anger on the ensuing punt, smashing it into the stratosphere

– Antoine “The Phenom” Pruneau (#6) nearly gives Ottawa their second pick six of the night but can’t squeeze it

– Henry² lets an easy catch bounce off his fingers into the arms of a Bomber defender who brings it back to Ottawa’s 46 yard line

– Jerrell Gavins (#24) knifes in and takes down Grigbsy in the backfield

– 6’3”, 235 pound defensive lineman Justin Capicciotti (#93) drops into coverage and makes an incredible open field tackle to prevent a touchdown, Bombers settle for a 9 yard field goal

– Jonathon Williams (#23) busts an 11 yard run to end the quarter

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2nd Quarter:

– Ottawa’s offensive line fails to pick up the blitz and Burris is sacked for a 4 yard loss

– Following Maher’s punt, double fouls on the Bombers force them to start on their own 3 yard line

– Under heavy pressure, Willy just manages to get back to the line of scrimmage before being tackled by Zack Evans (#92)

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– Feeling jealous as the spotlight shift away from him to Henry²  who hauls in back to back catches, Williams literally makes something out of nothing on a 53 yard run into the end zone

– Sloppy special teams tackling on full display as Winnipeg takes the kick off  61 yards to start at Ottawa’s 43 yard line

– The Redblack’s lead disappears faster than your date when the bill arrives as the Bombers regain the lead by punching it in from the 1 following a Clarence Denmark 28 yard catch and run

– Burris gets nailed with a late hit and goes down hurt, Bombers get flagged for roughing the passer and Danny “Boy” O’Brien (#9) enters the game

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– Williams continues to rip off strong runs, gaining 6 and 27 yards on consecutive plays before O’Brien caps off the drive with a 5 yard TD pass to Khalil Paden (#13), who knew both of his back ups would throw TDs at home before Burris?

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– Showing no confidence that their special teamers can make a tackle, the Redblacks squib the kick off to avoid giving up a long return

-Capicciotti’s 2nd down sack is wiped out by an offside flag giving Winnipeg new life

– The Bombers forego a 45 yard FG attempt and heavy pressure causes Willy to throw an incompletion 3rd and 5

– R-Nation breathes a sigh of relief as Burris returns and proceeds to hit Paden and Wallace Miles (#84) for gains of 20 and 9 yards as FB John Delahunt (#49) absolutely earholes a defensive lineman.

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– Burris dumps a short pass to Williams who makes 4 guys miss as he rumbles 37 yards to the 3 yard line

– Finding the push that was lacking last week, Burris dives into the end zone on a QB sneak for the TD.

– After 30 minutes the Redblacks lead 28-17

Half-time:

– Karate and Dragon Ball Z replace pigskin on the field for 10 minutes

3rd Quarter:

– Ottawa receives and Burris is forced to take a timeout because Williams forgets to come on the field

– Wallace “Money” Miles (#84) makes  a 17 yard catch, fumbles and recovers

– More strong running from Williams plus catches by Marter (Matt Carter #85), Miles and Delahunt lead to a 25 yard Maher FG

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Williams was so in the zone he even had time to stop and give Burris a hug before taking the hand off

– Refs do their best to steal the show when Jermaine Robinson (#32) is flagged for a late hit on not a late hit

– Jealous of all the attention the other Williams is getting,  Jonathon “Big” Williams (#75) takes down Willy

– On the ensuing punt “Big” Williams takes his 800th unnecessary roughness penalty giving the Bombers a fresh set of downs

– Brandyn Thompson (#25) drops a interception in the back of the end zone

– Winnipeg’s 23 yard FG makes it 31-20

– Burris and company roll as Marter and Dobson haul in 13 and 14 yard cathces, while Willams gains 17 on the ground before taking a screen another 15 yards

– Scott Macdonell (#83) impresses for the 2nd straight week with a 23 yard catch and run, stepping out of bounds on the 3

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– Williams second TD of the night caps off an 8 play 75 yard drive

– The Redblacks tack on a single as the kickoff rolls through the end zone

– Former Bomber Jovon Johnson (#2) blows up a wide receiver screen

– Rod Black notes it’s starting to rain and says “Willy’s got to deal with wet balls now”

– After three quarters R-Nation feels like this finally might be the one we don’t find a way to lose

4th Quarter:

– Maher splits the uprights with a 32 yard FG

– A drunk fan takes the field and chest bumps a few defensive players before security hauls him away

– Nursing a huge lead, the Redblacks defence goes to work as R-Nation ramps up the noise.Capicciotti gets a sack and the Bombers get flagged for two false starts before they punt

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Go go gadget arms!

– The Bombers recover a Patrick Lavoie (#81) fumble but the defence bails him out with back to back sacks from Evans and Andrew Marshall (#90)

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– The Redblacks go two and out with two incomplete passes as Mike Gibson once again abandons the run

– Willy gets hit as he throws and Gavins gets Ottawa’s second pick of the night and returns it 65 yards. Gavins is shaken up on the play as he’s dragged down from behind

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– Faced with 3rd and 3 on Winnipeg’s 33 yard line, the Redblacks keep their offence on the field and turn the ball over on downs when Burris’ pass falls incomplete

– Moton Hopkins (#95) gets in on the sack attack, dropping Willy for a 5 yard loss

– Ottawa gets their 3rd interception of the night courtesy of Thompson

– Multiple hand offs to Williams close out the game as the Redblacks run the clock and move the chains

mandatoryfireworksinvformation
All victory formations should have mandatory fireworks

Final score: Redblacks 42, Winnipeg, way less than that so who cares!

Key Stats:

Burris completed 24 of 31 passes (77%) for 284 yards with 1 INT

Williams ran the ball 21 times for 180 yards and 2 TDs

Miles hauled in 3 passes for 55 yards

Maher punted 3 times for 156 yards

Gavins made 8 tackles and 1 INT

Closing Thoughts:

Finally. R-Nation packed TD Place seven times waiting for a dominating win and they finally got it as the Redblacks beat up on the slumping Blue Bombers.  Ottawa’s offence came alive at home as TD Place finally lived up to its name. Burris was incredibly sharp, completing pass after pass as his receivers ran crisp routes and hung onto the ball. The star of the game was Williams as he tore through Winnipeg’s defence piling up 229 total yards. The offensive line deserves major props for opening huge holes and keeping Burris upright. Many people in Ottawa had been calling for OC Mike Gibson’s head (myself included) but tonight’s 500 yards of total offence will go a long way towards appeasing the masses.

Aside from a few miscues, the defence was their typical stingy selves, generating three interceptions to go along with six sacks. Willy rarely had a clean pocket to throw from and heavy pressure led to a number of incompletions; the defensive line simply terrorized and imposed their will on the Bombers. Numerous players stood out but Gavins in particular had a whale of a game as he made a number of tackles to go along with his near pick six.

Maher had a decent night kicking though long his long range FG attempts continue to miss. Special teams tackling was incredibly poor and the Redblacks are lucky that the TD they gave up didn’t come back to haunt them.

All in all this was exactly what the Redblacks and their fans needed. Ottawa’s had some terrible luck throughout their 9 game losing streak and fans who did their part by continuing to back the team through their growing pains were rewarded with the Redblacks’ most impressive effort of the year. R-Nation gets a special shout out for making TD Place LOUD. The team feeds off the crowd’s energy and the fans were definitely a factor tonight. With the playoffs still a long shot, Ottawa will spend Thanksgiving weekend in BC to take on the Lions and hopefully build off their impressive win.

@RedBlackGade

– All images via the Ottawa’s Redblacks site

Poor Play Calling Dooms Redblacks

By: Santino Filoso

In their first home game in over a month the Ottawa Redblacks found another way to lose in front of a full house. TD Place was sold out for the 6th straight time but Mike “3rd & 1 Shotgun Run” Gibson’s poor play calling lead directly to the Redblacks’ 9th straight loss, dropping their record to 1-11 on the year and effectively eliminating them from playoff contention.

Pre-game:

– Once again R-Nation packed TD Place

– Much like TDs at home this season, a manufacturing fail meant that the plaids helmets were still missing in action. On a related note it turns out they’re being produced by same company that was in charge of building Tim Hortons field

– Fans arriving early at TD Place are treated to first class entertainment

– The South Side finally wins an in stadium challenge

1st Quarter:

– Redblacks receive but go two and out when Jeremiah Johnson (#27) drops a pass over the middle, after promising to never drop a pass over the middle

– Jovon Jonhson (#2) lets a pick six slip through his fingers

– Duane Ford calls the Redblacks the Renegades

– A screen that looks like it will go for days is snuffed out when OL Nolan MacMillan (#66) whiffs on an open field block

– Keeping it conservative the Redblacks punt on the ensuing 3rd and 1

– Jasper “Sticky Fingers” Simmons (#31) picks off Crompton for his team leading 3rd interception

– FB Patrick Lavoie (#81) drops a pass, Ottawa’s 2nd drop in as many drives but is saved by the flag when Montreal gets called for illegal contact

– A Wallace Miles (#84) catch + good running by Johnson and Henry Burris (#1) + a 15 yard flag for facemasking = 1st and goal on the 1 for the Redblacks

– The offensive line fails to get any kind of push on two consecutive QB sneaks, letting Burris get crushed in the backfield

– A run out of shotgun on 3rd and 1 gets stuffed for a huge loss. Positive takeaway from the play is that Montreal was offside, negative is Jon “Dangerbeard” Gott (#63) getting flagged for unnecessary roughness after the play

Montreal Alouettes v Ottawa RedBlacks
Who knew “Fear the Beard” also applied to his own team?

– Ottawa regains some ground with a Khalil Paden (#13) catch before Burris overthrows Henry² (Marcus Henry #16)  who stopped running in the end zone

Montreal Alouettes v Ottawa RedBlacks

– Faced with 3rd and 1 again and with the play calling stuck on repeat a run out of shotgun goes nowhere and adding insult to injury Johnson is hurt on the play; 9 plays in the redzone result in 0 points

2nd Quarter:

– Abdul Kanneh (#14) picks off Crompton for Ottawa’s second turnover of the game

– It’s now the Jonathan Williams (#23) show as he picks up a first down with a run and a catch

– The offensive line fails to protect Burris who is sacked and striped by Bear Woods. The ensuing fumble is recovered by DL Aaron Lavarias who smartly teams up with Chip Cox, handing the ball off for an 85 yard TD

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Not enough plaid in this picture

– Carlton “Banks” Mitchell (#88) seems to set the Redblacks up inside the 5 yard line following a deep catch, but a weak holding call on Colin Kelly (#67) wipes out the gain

– Kanneh is flagged for pass interference, gifting the Alouettes 43 yards

Montreal Alouettes v Ottawa RedBlacks

– Sean Whyte’s 14 yard FG makes it 10-0

– Redblacks piece together a promising drive featuring catches by Henry², Miles, Michtell and Scott Macdonell (#83)

– After the Redblacks convert their first 3rd and 1 of the night on a QB sneak, Williams scampers 23 yards for the first TD at TD Place since August 2nd

Montreal Alouettes v Ottawa RedBlacks

– The logging team’s chainsaw is rusted and seized from inactivity so no wood cookie for R-Nation faithful at TD Place, we also learn that apparently fireworks go off when we score TDs

 – Montreal goes two and out to end the half holding a 10-7 lead

Half-time:

– Two thirds of the TSN panel absolves Burris of blame for Ottawa’s poor offensive showing, instead point the finger at his supporting cast

3rd Quarter:

– Als get a big return and start from their 45

– Brandyn Thompson (#25) nearly picks off Crompton

– Montreal extends their lead when Whyte punts the ball 54 yards through the end zone for a rouge

– Two runs by Williams set up a 3rd and 1 for the Redblacks. Burris draws the Als offside but Ottawa is flagged for a false start and forced to punt

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– Kanneh leaves SJ Green wide open and a 1st down ensues

– Zack Evans (#92) gets a mitt on Crompton’s pass and nearly picks it off

– Whyte crushses a punt 65 yards for another rouge

– Under heavy pressure Burris throws to the drone hovering high over the field, leading to a two and out

– Strong tackling forces another two and out

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– The Redblacks drive ends when Burris overthrows an open Paden

– Despite dropping the snap Brett Maher (#3) recovers to get off a 50 yard punt

– Montreal moves the chains a few times before the defence stiffens up and forces a punt

4th Quarter:

– Marter (Matt Carter #85) finally dares to show his face after his week 8 fumble against the Esks

– Whyte’s 16 yard FG makes it an 8 point game

– Chip Cox continues to terrorize Ottawa, sacking Burris and forcing the Redblacks to punt

– Jamill Smith fields the punt and runs East to West before being brought down for a short gain…..as always

– Burris gets sandwiched, face masked, triple teamed and pile driven into the turf

– With Burris hurt Danny “Birthday Boy” O’Brien (#9) steps in at the helm for the Redblacks, he’s not the hero we need but the one we deserve

– Rod Black calls TD Place TV Place and laughs at his own mistake

– O’Brien completes a 4 yard pass, setting up 3rd and 1. With 2:36 left in the game and down by 8, R-Nation prays Gibson won’t call a shotgun run but of course he does and of course it goes absolutely nowhere

– Though the game should be over apparently no one tells the defence as they shut the door on the Als and force another two and out

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– Showing a lof of heart, Burris shrugs off his injury to lead the Redblacks on one last drive

– Things get off to a promising start when Paden makes a 20 yard catch before Miles gets plastered by Chip Cox on a 13 yard catch; full credit to him for hanging onto the ball

– Flushed from the pocket Burris scrambles for a 10 yard gain and on the next play hits a wide open Marter for another 20 yards

– Atoning for his earlier drop Lavoie makes a 14 yard catch bring the ball down to Montreal’s 7 yard line with 2 seconds left on the clock

– Chaos reigns supreme as WRs struggle to get lined up, while Burris is trying to organize them Jon “Dangerbeard” Gott (#63) snaps the ball to Burris’ ankles, leading to a sack and killing the play before it even starts

– Redblacks go out with a whimper and R-Nation leaves TD Place extremely frustrated and disappointed

Final score: 15-7 for the team not wearing plaid

Key Stats:

Burris completed 25 of 32 passes for 253 yards with no TDs or INTs

Williams had 12 carries for 59 yards and 1 TD

Paden made 5 catches for 52 yards

Maher punted 8 times for 367 yards

Eddie Elder (#5) and Antoine Pruneau (#6) made 6 tackles each

Closing Thoughts:

Ottawa’s 9th straight loss was once again a frustrating one. On a night when they had to win to have any shot at making the playoffs, the Redblacks failed to take advantage of another strong defensive effort. While the offence was able to move the ball and string together a few first downs, poor pass protection and horrid play calling let another win slip away. Burris had a strong night especially when you consider the pressure he faced and the fact that he completed 78% of his passes (plus the drops) Williams had a strong game stepping in for the injured Johnson but what will be remembered about the run game is the offensive line’s inability to get a single yard….five times. The Redblacks faced 3rd and 1 six times and went a pathetic 1-6. Three times the Redblacks ran out of shotgun on 3rd and 1 and got stuffed. Mike “3rd & 1 Shotgun Run” Gibson’s baffling play calling left fans and players alike frustrated. It’s the OC’s job to put his players in a position to succeed, and running out of shotgun when you need a single yard is not setting his players up for success.

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The offensive line had a bad game and struggled to give Burris any kind of time; he was hit on nearly every pass completion and was forced to scramble each time he dropped back to pass. The one positive that we can take away from the offence tonight is that Paden and Macdonell both looked really good. Watching Macdonell make tough catches over the middle and catching everything thrown at him makes you wonder where he’s been all season.

On the defensive side of the ball things were pretty much back to normal. After being gorged by the GREENWHITES in last week’s loss, the defence was back to it’s stingy ways, holding Montreal to 2 FGs and 2 rouges. This loss is the 4th time the Redblacks have held a team out of the end zone this season and lost, that’s gotta be some kind of CFL record. With two picks the defence did everything it could to secure the win, short of scoring.

Brett Maher continued to kick well, averaging 46 yards a punt against one of the league’s most dangerous returners. Jamill Smith’s routine of catching the ball and waiting for his blocks to set up, or running laterally while looking for openings is extremely ineffective. He plays with a lot of toughness for a guy his size but I honestly can’t remember him having any kind of memorable return at all this season.

While they’re mathematically alive, losing to Montreal is the nail in the coffin in terms of our playoff chances. This was a game the Redblacks HAD to have but unfortunately the team found another way to lose it.  Mike “3rd & 1 Shotgun Run” Gibson is going to take a lot of heat this week, and justifiably so. It’ll be very interesting to see if Head Coach Rick Campbell gives into pressure and finally sends him packing; though growing pains are to be expected, someone needs to be held accountable right? Up next the for the Redblacks is a home date with the slumping Bombers. Hopefully the Redblacks can build off their positives (a strong defence, a good kicking game, WRs like Macdonell) and finally reward their home fans for their patience with a big win.

@RedBlackGade

The Saskatchewan Dresslers Outlast the Redblacks

By: Santino Filoso

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On a beautiful day for football in Regina, the Redblacks let a golden opportunity to keep pace with the rest of the East slip through their fingers. Ottawa battled hard for the win but ultimately came up short in double overtime, falling to 1-10 on the year.

Pre-game:

– Head Coach Rick Campbell gets the boys fired up

– Redblacks call tails on the coin flip and lose, dropping their record to 3-10 on the year

1st Quarter:

– After Jamill Smith (#15) fields the opening kick, the Redblacks offense comes out of the gate strong, rotating between DJ Harper’s (#28) running and Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) catches, until a flag on Marter (Matt Carter #85) and a John Chick sack derail the drive

– The Greenwhites try to run the ball twice into the teeth of the Redblacks defence which gives them nothing, Smith’s punt return is aided by a 15 yard no yards flag

– With the grace of a ballerina, all 290 pounds of Alex “The Bulldozer” Krausnick (#55) makes a smooth catch before lowering his shoulder and levelling a defender

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Boom

– Henry Burris (#1) shows that age ain’t no thing as he scrambles 8 yards for a TD

– Saskatchewan moves the ball with back-to-back catches from Weston “I don’t like Ottawa’s money” Dressler, until the drive stalls at Ottawa’s 34 yard line. Kicker Chris Milo’s 40 yard FG is good

– On the ensuing kickoff, Smith showcases his toughness when he gets popped but holds onto the football and bounces right back up

– Despite the Greenwhites going offside the Redblacks go two-and-out when Burris one-hops a pass intended for Wallace Miles (#84)

– Linebacker Travis Brown (#43) sniffs out a screen, forcing another Greenwhites two-and-out

2nd Quarter:

– On 3rd and 1, HC Rick Campbell chooses to punt and Brett “Don’t Talk to Me” Maher (#3) blasts the ball 59 yards for a rouge

– Not content with taking their former name, the Greenwhites also seem to be using Ottawa’s offensive playbook as they continue to go two-and-out

– Tearrius George makes Nolan MacMillan (#66) his plaything and sacks Burris for a 5-yard loss, but a roughing the passer call keeps the drive alive

– A streaking Carlton Mitchell (#88) catches a deep pass on the pump and go

– Offensive co-ordinator Mike Gibson’s Alzheimer’s kicks in as he forgets about Harper and the run game, calling his 12th straight pass

– Redblacks dig into their bag of tricks as they use backup QB Danny O’Brien (#9) to fake the field goal on 3rd and 2, earning a fresh set of downs

– Burris scrambles around a collapsing pocket buying time until Miles gets open for a 12-yard TD, capping off a 13-play, 90-yard drive

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A welcome sight

– Abdul Kanneh (#14) nearly picks off Tino “Two-and-Out” Sunseri’s misthrow, Antoine Pruneau (#6) breaks up a deep pass intended for Dressler and the Greenwhites punt again

– Ottawa finally runs the ball and newcomer Jeremiah Johnson (#27) picks up 5 yards

– Proving it IS a game of inches, Mitchell just misses hauling in a deep pass

– Refs turn a blind eye to a Maher being run into and a blatant clip as Weston “Not Quite Good Enough for the NFL” Dressler takes the punt return 78 yards to the house

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If you look closely, you’ll do a better job than these CFL refs and see two missed calls

– All alone in space, Miles drops a gimme

– Redblacks do their best Tennessee Titans impression when Smith laterals across the field to Khalil Paden (#13) who jets down the sideline for a 53 yard gain

– Once again evading heavy pressure, Burris connects with Miles in the end zone for the second time, this one an 8-yard TD

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– “Rider Pride” is on full display as boos rain down and bounce off ugly watermelon helmets to end the half

Half-time:

– An irate Rick Campbell tries to chat with the referee but unsurprisingly he’s looking the other way

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https://twitter.com/themrfancypants/status/513804455138308096

3rd Quarter:

– Rob Bagg gets behind Kanneh but Sunseri overthrows him by the length of a watermelon field

– Smith’s straight ahead running style results in a good punt return

– Burris gets nailed from his blindside as the Redblacks give up their 4th sack of the game

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– Still smarting from being run over early in the game, Brackenridge levels Mitchell and forces a fumble

– The Greenwhites quickly make the turnover count when a misdirection play results in a touchdown

– Ottawa responds in a spectacular fashion as catches by Marter and Harper keep the drive alive until Jeremiah “Happy Birthday Momma!” Johnson’s 19-yard TD caps off a 7-play, 66-yard drive

– Saskatchewan goes two and out before Milo’s 65-yard punt rolls out at Ottawa’s 1 yard line

– Facing 2nd and 10, Mitchell makes a 24-yard catch to give the Maher some breathing room when he’s forced to punt. Eric “The Pilot” Fraser (#7) is flagged for no yards

– Kanneh continues to play like a kid jacked up on a sugar high and lowers the boom on Dressler

– Apparently still shaking off the cobwebs, Dressler blotches the hold on Milo’s 43-yard FG attempt leading to a turnover on downs

– The Redblacks offensive line continues their porous play, giving up a 5th sack

4th Quarter:

– Ottawa’s defence suddenly becomes allergic to tackling as Dressler runs 60 yards through a half dozen missed tackles for a TD

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– Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) makes yet another first down catch though the drive ultimately stalls

– Jasper Simmons (#31) is shaken up and newly signed Damaso Munoz (#45) slots in

– Justin Capicciotti (#93) wraps up Sunseri for this 5th sack of the year

– With just over 7 min left in the game, instead of trying to run some clock, OC Gibson continues his trend of ignoring the ground game; Redblacks take maybe 15 seconds off the clock with two incompletions

– Heavy pressure from the defensive line forces a two-and-out

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– Johnson picks up 7 yards and 29 yards on back to back run plays

– Burris keeps up the time honoured tradition of QB’s whiffing on blocks as Johnson reverses direction for a short gain

– Playing not to lose the Redblacks elect to keep the ball on the ground on 2nd and 9 at Saskatchewan’s 16 yard line

– Like Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor on Tool Time, Maher nails a 24-yard FG with 1:53 left to give the Redblacks an 8-point lead

– Taking advantage of injuries on back-to-back plays in Ottawa’s secondary, Sunseri magically strings together a few passes before a bonehead pass interference call moves the ball 31 yards and sets up the Greenwhites on the 1

– Predictably they score and get the 2-point convert when the Redblacks strategy of leaving Dressler uncovered bites them in the ass

– With enough time on the clock to get into FG or at least punt for a rouge win range, Johnson drops a 1st down catch and the Redblacks inexplicably run the ball on 2nd and 10

– The Greenwhites take a knee to send the game into overtime

1st Overtime:

– Burris gets hit as he throws and the pass is picked off, Redblacks fans everywhere pull their hair out in frustration

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The mythical clean pocket was nowhere to be found on this play

– After two fruitless runs, Milo attempts a 37 yard FG but the snap is mishandled, the kick goes wide-left into the hands of Jamill Smith, who boots it out from the back of the end zone. The punt is caught by Saskatchewan but the punt back is blocked (or short?), sending the game to double overtime. Whew!

Double Jeopardy (2nd Overtime):

– Ottawa chooses to play defence first as R-Nation uses a defibrillator

– Milo’s 22-yard FG is good, meaning the Redblacks control their own fate

– Looking like a rookie, Burris takes an enormous 13-yard sack, pushing the Redblacks out of FG range

– Henry²’s 14-yard catch brings the Redblacks back into FG range leaving Campbell with a decision to either try and tie the game or go for the win on 3rd and 5

– Playing it safe fails when Maher’s 38 yarder is blocked

Final score: Greenwhites 35, Redblacks 32

Key Stats:

Burris went 23 of 38 for 282 yards with 3 TDs, 1 INT and 1 rushing TD

Johnson had 7 carries for 49 yards

Henry² made 8 catches for 87 yards

Simmons led the way on defence with 8 tackles

Maher punted 10 times for 492 yards

Closing thoughts:

In a season of frustrating losses, this one easily lands at the top. Despite finally exorcising their offensive demons, the Redblacks defense and a few non-calls by the referees cost Ottawa a much needed win. Burris shook off some early accuracy issues and finally brought the offence to life but his antics in overtime were horrible. He did the two things a QB simply cannot do in OT by tossing a pick and taking a sack. Henry² had a strong game making numerous 2nd down catches to keep drives alive and Miles was either catching TDs or making drops. Johnson and Harper did an admirable job filling in for injured Chevon Walker (#29) but despite averaging over 5 yards a carry, OC Mike Gibson ignored the run game until the worst possible moments, going into ultra-conservative mode at inexplicable times. The offensive line might have played their worst game of the season in terms of pass protection, giving up 6 sacks and making Burris scramble for his life every second pass play.

The normally stout defence came apart at the teams in the 2nd half, making Sunseri look like a seasoned vet as opposed to the green-faced rookie making his second start that he is. Losing some key personnel in Jerrell Gavins (#24) and Kanneh to injury on the game-tying drive certainly didn’t help matters any, along with a crushing pass interference call that put the Greenwhites on the 1. The team’s tackling in general seemed to regress as the game wore on, as evidenced by Dressler weaving his way through the secondary with ease.

Special teams issues reared their ugly head as Dressler’s punt return TD gave Saskatchewan life when they were dead to rights. Two blatant blown calls are poor consolation to R-Nation as this point, even though TSN at least had the balls to point them out during half time. The fake field goal and punt return lateral were extremely well executed and timely calls that gave the team a boost at key moments in the game, both leading to touchdowns.

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Certainly feels this way sometimes

This loss falls squarely on the shoulders of the coaching staff who got conservative at the worst possible time. Gibson shied away from running the ball all night, despite picking up a healthy amount of yards per carry. Then with the game on the line, he TWICE chose to run the ball on 2nd and long. His decisions were mind-boggling and sent the wrong message to the team., instead of going for the win the Redblacks played not to lose, and it ended up costing them.

With every other Eastern team winning this weekend the Redblacks’ playoff hopes took a serious hit and if they’re going to make any kind of push at all they’ll need to overcome the Als Friday night at TD Place. R-Nation will pack the place and bring the noise, so it’ll be up to the players on the field to snap this exasperating 8-game losing streak.

@RedBlackGade

– All images via CFL.ca and the Ottawa Sun