When it rains it pours; Lions Edge the Redblacks

By: Santino Filoso

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On Friday night the Redblacks welcomed the BC Lions and former Redblacks QB Kevin Glenn to TD Place. Following a painful trend, the Redblacks lost another defensive struggle late in the 4th quarter to move their record to 1-9 on the year.

Pre-game:

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– OSEG continues to do the little things right, honouring Ottawa’s storied CFL history by unveiling a statue of Frank Clair

– The trolls who run the official CFL twitter account do their best to get Ottawa fans excited about the game

– R-Nation continues to show that they aren’t fair weather fans, filling TD Place once again

– Redblacks win the coin toss and choose to recieve

1st Quarter:

– Jamill Smith (#15) fields the opening kick and returns it 26 yards to Ottawa’s 35 yard line

– Henry Burris (#1) shows off his arm with a long pass as the Redblacks look to strike quickly but Marter (Matt Carter #85) fails to bring it in

– A Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) catch leads to a 35 yard FG off Brett Maher’s boot

– Jonathan Willams (#75) forces the Lions to punt on their opening drive when he gets this 3rd sack of the year, bringing Lulay down for an 8 yard loss

– Defence is the name of the game as the teams trade two and outs

2nd Quarter:

– Burris criminally under throws a pass right to Dante Marsh who picks it off and returns it 34 yards

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– Paul “Grandaddy” McCallum’s 49 yard FG is good evening things at 3

– The pocket collapses around Burris who is flushed, and hits Wallace Miles (#84) on the run for a 1st down

– The Redblacks dial up a fake field goal when Alex Carder (#4) hits FB Patrick Lavoie (#81) for a fresh set of downs

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– Chevon Walker (#29) has a few tough plays, first dropping a screen pass that would’ve been touchdown and then getting nailed by Solomon Elimimian, breaking his arm and fumbling for the 2nd time in his career while trying to extend the ball over the goal line

– In his first start in weeks, Moton “The Motivator” Hopkins tackles Harris in the end zone for a safety

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– Fans at TD Place continue to wait for the Redblacks offence to show any signs of life as they go two and out

– Antoine Pruneau (#6) misses Lulay as he comes in free on the blitz, allowing Lulay to scramble outside for a massive gain

– With no time left on the clock, McCallum’s 34 yard FG ends the half

Half-time:

Third Quarter:

– The defence continues to dominate, gang tackling Lions RB Andrew Harris for a loss

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– Ricky Schmitt punts 69 for a rouge, extending BC’s lead to 7-5

– Showing off a slick spin move Bradon Lang (#91) sacks Lulay

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– Lavoie gets beat clean by his man and Burris quickly goes down

– Henry² makes an incredible one handed catch, snagging a wobbly Burris throw

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Fourth Quarter:

– BC tries to get fancy but their WR sweep is snuffed out for a huge loss as the Redblacks keep contain and box Emmanuel Arceneaux in

– With torrential rain falling and easily within FG range, Maher never gets the chance to give the Redblacks the leads as Danny O’Brien (#9) lets the snap slide right through his hands, and his panicked pass falls incomplete

– Lulay survives a collapsing pocket, breaks a few arm tackles and turns a sack into positive yards

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– With just over a minute left and deep in Redblacks territory, Lulay fumbles the ball and re-injuries his throwing shoulder

– The Lions recover the loose ball, dashing any hopes of a Redblacks comeback

– Final score: 7-5 for BC

Key Stats:

Burris went 21 of 32 for 188 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT

Walker had 4 carries for 6 yards

Henry² made 4 catches for 51 yards

Maher punted 9 times for 428 yards

Jermaine Robison (#32) made 7 tackesl

Closing Thoughts:

Another week brings another close loss. It’s said that good teams find ways to win games, so maybe expansions teams find ways to lose them. On a night when the offence struggled, the defence gave the Redblacks a chance to win. Some fans have been clamouring for Burris to be benched for weeks and his performance did nothing to silence his critics. There were a few drops, but Burris looked off all night, under and over throwing open receivers. The run game was non-existent, with only 12 yards gained on 10 carries between Walker and Michael Haynes (#34). The offensive line played soft all game long, failing to give Burris any kind of time and their inability to open up running lanes perhaps plays a factor in OC Mike Gibson’s reluctance to call runs.

The defence played lights out, putting points on the board again and limiting BC to two FGs and a rouge. If you hold the other team without a touchdown in the CFL you should win the game, plain and simple. If there is a positive to take from the Redblacks recent losing streak it’s that the defence is playing consistently tough and refuses to give up. Though their efforts are currently overshadowed by the team’s offensive woes, the Redblacks strong defence bodes well for the team’s future.

On special teams the Redblacks did an admirable job containing the league’s most dangerous returner (Tim Brown), holding him to a single long return of 25 yards. Maher made every field goal he had a chance to kick and averaged nearly 48 yards per punt.

With their next game on September 21st, the Redblacks need to make the most of their bye week by figuring out a way to put points on the board and how to deal with the loss of Chevon Walker, out for the season with a broken arm. Sitting in last in the East and with a record of 1-9, the Redblacks next game against the GREENWHITES is pivotal in keeping their playoff hopes alive.

@RedBlackGade

– All images via Roman Romanovich, CFL.ca and the Ottawa Sun

Redblacks Lose Battle of the 417

By: Santino Filoso

Ottawa Redblacks v Montreal Alouettes

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

Pre-Game:

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

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

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

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

1st Quarter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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All for naught

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

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

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

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

2nd Quarter:

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

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

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

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

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

Climbing the ladder
Climbing the ladder

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

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

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

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

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

– 8-3 for Habs after 30 minutes

Half-time:

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

3rd Quarter:

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

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

– Teams trade two and outs

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

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

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

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

Yes, this ended badly
Yes, this ended badly

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

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

4th Quarter:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Final Score: 20-10 for not the Redblacks

Key Stats:

Burris went 21 of 34 for 245 yards with 1 TD

Walker had 7 carries for 31 yards

Miles hauled in 7 passes for 101 yards and 1 TD

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

Maher punted 9 times for 423 yards

Closing Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

@RedBlackGade

– All images via CFL.ca and the Ottawa Sun

 

REDPLAIDS vs Stamps; Different Jersey, Same Result

By: Santino Filoso

1st

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon and wearing two thirds of their new CFL Signature Look uniforms, the Redblacks welcomed the Calgary Stampeders to TD Place for their only matinée game of the season. Despite battling hard all game the Redblacks ultimately lost, dropping their record to 1-7 on the year.

Pre-Game:

– Continuing to prove that Ottawa is indeed a football city, the Redblacks record their 4th straight sell-out

– The whispers and rumours circulating all week are proven true when the Redblacks come out for warm up wearing their normal black helmets instead of the plaid ones from their plaid Signature Look

– Conspiracy theorists have a field day trying to explain the lack of plaid helmets

But bottom line

1st Quarter:

– The Redblacks strong defensive play carries over from last week as Antoine Prunueau (#6) tips Bo Levi Mitchell’s pass and Jonathon Williams (#75) does his best Odell Williams impression, picking it off and rumbling 35 yards to the house, sending #RNation into a frenzy; 7-0 for the home team

– On Calgary’s next possession Brandon Lang (#91) sacks Mitchell

– After picking up a 1st down and being flagged for holding, Henry Burris’ (#1) pass sails over Wallce Mile’s (#84) head when he stops running for a deep ball

– Prunueau continues to fly around, tripping up Cornish as he tries to bounce a run wide

– Despite being backed up by penalties Mitchell uses his legs to move the sticks

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– Deciding that injuring starting safety Eddie Elder (#5) with a vicious blindside block isn’t enough, Nik “Buffet” Lewis decides to dance and celebrate over the prone Redblack #pureclass

– Facing 3rd and 1 on Ottawa’s 7 yard line, Stamps HC John Hufnagel sends out the short yardage package and back up QB Drew Tate scrambles to the outside, strolling into the end zone and capping off an 11 play 52 yard drive to even the score

– A failed fake reverse + a Chevon Walker (#29) unobjectionable conduct penalty = the Redblacks starting on their own 7 and quickly going two and out

– With the help of Jerrell Gavins (#24) , safety Eric Fraser (#7) breaks up a deep pass, seemingly for the first time this season

2nd Quarter:

– Prunueau breaks up a pass on 2nd and long

– Stamps kicker Rene Paredes breaks his streak of 12 straight field goals, missing a 31 yarder but still tacking on a rouge

– Jon “Dangerbeard” Gott (#63) catches Burris by surprise, snapping the ball before he’s ready

– Brett Maher’s (#3) punt combined with a holding penalty pins the Stamps at their 9 yard line

– Jermain Robinson (#32) nearly picks off Mitchell, but instead gets flagged for illegal contact

– Jasper Simmons (#31) tackles Cornish short of the first down, forcing the Stamps to punt

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– Showing his wheels, Burris scrambles for a 1st down

– Full of informative incorrect tidbits, TSN announcer Duane Ford mentions that the Redblacks haven’t scored a TD in 44 straight offensive possessions and that Kerry Jospeh was the last QB to throw a TD in Ottawa (which is wrong since Thomas DeMarco (#17) did it against the Wheaties earlier this year)

– A promising drive that featured Khalil Paden’s (13) first catch as a Redblack a few strong runs from Walker ends in a punt when Burris is sacked for a 17 yard loss, pushing the Redblacks out of FG range

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Trying to hold back the rush? Or his critics?

– The Stampeders get flagged when they illegally block a Redblack into the  player into a line judge

– Gavins gets flagged for illegal contact, bringing the Redblacks total to 6 flags for 52 yards so far

– Pocket collapsing, Burris fumbles but the Redblacks retain possession when J’Michael Dean (#64) hops on it like an offer of seconds of home cooking

– With 30 minutes of play in the books, the football jerseys lead the hockey jerseys 8-7

Half-time:

– The TSN panel expresses surprise that Ottawa hasn’t been blown out yet

3rd Quarter:

– The Redblacks receive the ball to start the half and move the chains a few times thanks to Walker’s tough running, another Paden catch and a QB draw

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– Redblacks jar the ball loose on the ensuing punt but the Stamps maintain possession

– Crowd noise is a factor as the Stamps get flagged for false start, pushing them back to their 5

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R-Nation is a force to be reckoned with

– Picking up where he left off last week, Williams nails Mitchell up high long after the ball is out and gifts the Stampeders 15 yards

– Joe West burns by Fraser for a 58 yard catch

– The Stamps drive 91 yards to Ottawa’s 9 yard line but on 3rd and inches Keith “I Like Hittin’ People” Shologan (#74) forces and recovers a fumble

– Trying to take advantage of another defensive gift, Miles and Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) make catches of 22 and 4 yards respectively before Burris gets clobbered as he throws and tosses the ball right at Stamps DB Jamar Walls

– Stampes do what the Redblacks’ don’t and turn the turnover into points with a 32 yard FG

4th Quarter:

– Despite catches by FB John Delahunt (#49) and Miles, the Redblacks stick to their trend of going two and out

– The defense doesn’t even bend as they force the Stamps to go two and out

swarmingd
Swarming and relentless

– Burris connects with Dobson Collins (#80) for a 15 yard gain and passes Danny “Big Mac” McManus for 3rd place on the all time CFL passing list

– Joe West makes Ottawa fans cross their fingers that Elder’s injury isn’t serious as he toys with Fraser and catches a 51 yard bomb

– The Stamps 41 yard FG is wide right and Jamill Smith (#15) denies the rouge by returning the missed kick to his own 4 yard line

– Dubious play calling leads to another Maher punt and the “Ho-bart” chants rain down

– Overcoming a 3rd down, the Stamps eventually punch the ball into the end zone when Sederrik Cunningham runs 20 yards untouched

– With the score at 18-7 and thinking they’re at a Sens game wayyyyy out in Kanata, some uneducated members of R-Nation begin to leave the stadium

– The Redblacks respond to the Stampeders score with an incompletion and a Burris sack to go two and out

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– Proving that lightening can strike twice, Cunningham fields Maher’s short punt and weaves 66 yards to the end zone, *note* Eric Fraser falling down without being touched doesn’t help the coverage any

– DeMarco enters the game and is serenaded with cheers until he also goes 2 and out

– Exhausted after being on the field for most of the game, the defense finally snaps allowing another TD when Hugh Charles gallops 15 yards untouched

– The Redblacks’ receivers prove that they have zero chemistry with either of their two QBs as DeMarco’s passes fall to the ground with absolutely nobody around

– With just over a minute left in the game, Junior Turner comes in low on DeMarco and delivers a shot to his knee, in all likelihood tearing an ACL/MCL, ruining his season and quelling a QB controversy in the Nation’s Capital

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– 3rd stringer Danny O’Brien has a first CFL play to remember as he gets sacked for a 16 yard loss

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Welcome to the pros kid!

Deceiving final score: 32-7 for the best team in the league

Key Stats:

Burris went 12 of 23 for 113 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT

Walker had 11 carries for 43 yards

Collins made 5 catches for 44 yards

Simmons had 7 tackles

Maher punted 11 times for 479 yards, averaging 43.5 yard per kick

Closing Thoughts:

Another week ends with another frustrating loss. Ottawa fans packed TD Place and brought the noise all game long, but while R-Nation showed up our offence clearly didn’t. Burris had a game to forget, overthrowing his receivers on the rare occasions that he a) had time to plant his feet, and b) had an open man to throw to. Chevon Walker had his moments running the ball but Ottawa’s play calling wasn’t consistent in feeding him the ball. Watching the Redblacks’ inept offensive execution led to an unruly home crowd that repeatedly booed the offence off the field and invoked the struggles of Rough Rider days of yore with “Ho-bart” chants. This was also the second week in a row that the defence generated turnovers that the offence failed to turn into points.

While the offence continues to struggle, the defence was once again stellar and tried to pick up the slack. Guys like Simmons, Pruneau, Williams and Shologan carried the day for as long as possible, even going so far as to score, but it’s unrealistic to expect the defence to hold up being on the field for as long as they were. When you hold a QB like Mitchell to 0 TDs, you should win the game. Losing Eddie Elder to injury hurt, as it pushed Eric Fraser into the game and where was repeatedly victimized on deep throws. In terms of special teams, minus the one short punt that was returned for a touchdown, Maher was solid punting and the kick coverage that was putrid at the start of the season has really tightened up.

This was once again a game that the Redblacks hung around in until late in the 4th quarter, when a tired defence collapsed and allowed the Stamps to put up 21 points in 4 minutes and 5 seconds. The final tally doesn’t accurately reflect how close the score was for most of the game. On that note, it’s frustrating as a fan and must be disheartening for the players to see fans stream out of the stadium when there’s more than 8 minutes left in the game. I know a lot of Redblacks’ fans also go to Sens games and have been traumatized by the shitty traffic out at the Canadian Tire Centre, but there’s simply no excuse to leave a CFL game at Lansdowne Park early. First off it’s the CFL, and as it’s been proven time and time again no lead is safe. Secondly, getting in and out of Lansdowne is much faster and smoother than leaving the CTC, simply because it’s in the heart of the city. If you paid for a ticket stay until the end of the damn game! – end rant

@RedBlackGade

*All images via CFL.ca, the Ottawa Sun and the Ottawaredblacks.com

Redblacks Drop Win

By: Santino Filoso

reilly

Friday was a cold, rainy night, but that didn’t stop the Redblacks from putting on a show for yet another sold out crowd at TD Place. The final result wasn’t what R-Nation wanted as the visiting Esks eked out a win with a last minute field goal, but fans were treated to an entertaining effort led by the defense.

Pre-Game:

– R-Nation shows they aren’t fickle as they pack into TD Place despite October rain and temperatures

– Turns out the second E on the Eskimo’s helmets stands for Embarrassments, as Edmonton chooses not to come out of their locker room for the Canadian anthem. Head coach Chris Jones justified his team’s absence by claiming that “We already know all the words”

– Redblacks win the coin toss for the second game in a row

1st Quarter:

– Ottawa receives the ball and proceeds to march down the field as Henry Burris (#1) slings the rock around. The Redblacks settle for a 51 yard FG attempt following drops by Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) and Carlton Mitchell (#88)

– Brett Maher’s (#3) kick is wide right but still nets the Redblacks a single, 1-0 for the team who didn’t miss the anthem

– Reggie “Showtime” Jones (#20) makes a hell of a play, quickly setting the tone for the night

 

It's SHOWTIME!
It’s SHOWTIME!

– Jasper Simmons (#31) snuffs out  a screen, flying around and dishing out pain

– Eskimo’s QB Mike Reilly decides to throw into zone coverage which doesn’ t end well for the him as Brandyn Thompson (#25) picks him off and returns it to the Esk’s 16 yard line

– Burris and moves the offence to the 10 before throwing an incomplete pass intended for Henry², head coach Rick Campbell takes advantage of the new rule that let’s coaches challenge for PI (pass inference) but the ruling on the field is confirmed

– Wanting to fit in with the other receivers, a wide open Onrea Jones (#89) drops a surefire touchdown on the goal line

– Maher nails a 17 yard FG

2nd Quarter:

– Reilly is flushed out of the pocket by Jonathon Williams (#75) and crushed on by Brandon Lang (#91) on 2nd and 10

Reilly gets tag teamed
Reilly gets tag teamed

– Burris throws a 55 yard hitch and go to Wallace Miles (#84), Esks challenge if it was really a catch claiming Miles fumbled but the ruling on the field stands

– Maher’s 20 yard FG is good

– Connor “Conan” Williams (#99) gets a coverage sack

conan

– Grant Shaw gets the Esks on the board with a 39 yard FG

– Marter (Matt Carter #85) makes a beautiful over the should diving catch for a 35 yard gain and follows it up with a drop

– Under heavy pressure

– Maher punts 60 yards for a rouge

– Simmons and Antoine Pruneau (#6) make all the tackles as the Esks go two and out

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– Carlton Mitchell weaves 15 yard through the Esks secondary for a 1st down

mitchellweave

– Jones gets blown up going over the middle but manages to hang onto the ball

– Feeding off a rowdy home crowd, the Redblacks force another two and out

– Jason Pottinger (#46) delivers a thumping hit on punt coverage

– Jerell Gavins (#24) makes a great play, blanketing his man in deep coverage

– Shaw shanks a 50 yard FG to end the half

– Redblacks lead the Edmonton Embarrassments 8-4 after 30

Half time:

– Former Bomber Milt Stegall spends the intermission explaining how to optimize ball catching

3rd Quarter:

– Esks receive the ball to start the half and a swarming Redblacks’ defense would’ve forced another two and out, but Williams nails Reilly long after the ball comes out, keeping the drive alive

– Pruneau continues to rack up tackles, sacking Reilly for a 5 yard loss

– Williams decides that one roughing the passer flag isn’t enough, so he comes in low, hitting Reilly’s knees and gifting the Eskimos with another 15 yards

– History is made when Keith “I like hitting people” Shologan (#74) recovers Reilly’s fumble on the 2 yard line in the first goal line stand in Redblacks’ history

– Backed up and under heavy pressure in his end zone, Burris gets off the hook when roughing QB call takes away an Esks’ pick 6

– Maher makes a touchdown saving tackle as the Redblacks’ sloppy punt coverage rears it’s ugly head

– Rod Black somehow mistakes Big Joe for Big John

big_john
*Not our mascot

– Shaw doesn’t shank a 28 yard FG, cutting the Redblacks’ lead to one

– Marter nearly causes an interception when he lets a pass go through his hands

– Travis Brown (#43) causes a fumble on final play of the quarter which is recovered by Williams

– Chris Jones gets in the official’s ear after his team takes 6 penalties in the quarter

4th Quarter:

– Trailing by 1 and on Ottawa’s 12 yard line, the Esks forgo an easy field goal on 3rd and 1 and get STUFFED when Pat White tries to take the ball wide but gets tripped up by Pruneau

 

You'd be scared too if you had Capital Punishment coming at you too!
You’d be scared too if you had Capital Punishment coming at you!

– Eskimo penalties keep the Redblacks drive alive and march them into field goal range with less than four minutes remaining

– Marter makes a nice 36 yard catch but forgets that possession is nine-tenths of the law and allows the ball to be stripped from his hands, R-Nation collectively groans

– With 3:22 left in the game and starting from the shadow of his own goal posts (on the 10), Reilly uses his legs and arms to convert a couple of 2nd downs, and despite trailing for 59 min and 40 seconds, the Esks march into field goal range and Shaw makes a 27 yard kick to give the Edmonton Embarrassments a 10-8 lead

?????????????????????

– Burris completes a short pass before scrambling around and throwing two incompletions to end the game as Mary ignores the Redblacks’ hails

Final Score: Redblacks lose 10-8 in a heart breaker

thanking
Alonzo Lawrence thanks Marter for his fumble

Key Stats:

– Walker gained 58 yards on 14 carries

– Marter made 5 catches for 97 and had a back breaking fumble

– Pruneau had 10 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble, not a bad night’s work in his 2nd start

Closing Thoughts:

What a tough loss. On a night when the defense played their hearts out, the Redblacks’ offense let them down, failing once again to score a touchdown. Burris was solid against the league’s toughest defense and a potentially big early lead was wiped out by drop after drop. Marter (Matt Carter) was well on his way to having his best game as Redblack, but unfortunately the only thing fans will remember is his fumble and not the other catches he made.

After giving up 1,347 yards and 109 points over the last three-games the Redblacks defense finally tightened up. Feeing off an enthusiastic home crowd, it generated four turnovers and three sacks and kept Reilly under heavy pressure all night long. Antoine Pruneau had a breakout game, along with Reggie “Showtime” Jones. Despite manhandling the Eskimos, the defense ultimately came up short right when they needed a stop the most.

Special teams were once again an issue as though Maher had a strong night punting averaging 46 yards a pop, he missed a field goal that would come back to haunt the team. The kick coverage was better that it has been the past few games, but the Redblacks still gave up a few long returns.

Even with the loss, the Redblacks can take some positives from this game. The defense was stellar and if they continue play at the same level the team will be in every game. With the Stampeders coming to town next Sunday afternoon, you can bet that the Redblacks will come out fired up and looking to finally make TD Place live up to it’s name.

@RedBlackGade

– All images via CFL.ca and the Ottawa Sun

Stampeders School Redblacks

By: Santino Filoso

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On the heels of last week’s embarrassing loss, the Redblacks rolled into Calgary for what was a semi sort of “homecoming” for a number of players and coaches, including Jon Gott (#63), J’Michael Deane (#64), Eric Fraser (#7), Justin Phillips (#44), Chris McCoy (#96), Henry Burris (#1), Don Yanowsky (STC), Mike Gibson (OC) and Rick Campbell (HC). Unfortunately for R-Nation and the former Stampeders, the Redblacks left McMahon Stadium without the win, dropping their record to 1-5.

Pre-Game:

– Confused people watching the CFL for the first time tune in to see the Redblacks decked out in their dazzling black and white road uniforms while Calgary sports their home red and black threads

– The CFL’s official twitter account does everything it can to ensure Ottawa fans are feeling optimistic

– The Redblacks finally win a coin loss, their first correct guess of the season

1st Quarter:

– D.J. Harper (#28) rumbles 21 yards after fielding the opening kickoff to the Redblacks 34 yard line

– Ottawa’s achilles’ heel rears it’s ugly head as poor special teams coverage and tackling results in Jock Sanders returning Brett Maher’s 58 yard punt 52 yards

– Facing 3rd and 2 on the Redblacks 8 yard line, Campbell gets Campbelled as Calgary dials up a fake FG and Stamps QB Bo Levi Mitchell breaks Antoine Pruneau’s (#6) arm tackle for the 8 yard rushing TD

– Following a short catch by Henry² (Marcus Henry #16), the Redblacks punt

– Burris runs a limousine past the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball and gets flagged for an illegal forward pass

– Jermaine Robinson (#32) makes the coaches wonder why they didn’t play him sooner as he flies around the field, throwing thundering hits on back to back plays

robinson
Here comes the boom!

2nd Quarter:

– The pocket collapses before any receiver creates separation and Burris gets sacked

burris
“Why can’t we just be on the same page?!”

– Scrambling under heavy pressure, Mitchell’s throwaway is nearly picked off by Robinson

– Two plays later Mitchell makes no mistake as he hits Jeff Fuller for a 17 yard TD

– Redblacks respond with a promising 7 play drive featuring runs by Burris and Chevon Walker (#29) and catches by Carlton Mitchell (#88) and Henry² but the drive comes to an abrupt end when Burris is picked off

– Stamps make the most of Burris’ gift when Marquay McDaniel catches a 22 yard TD, 21-0 for the horsemen

sholo
Keith Shologan (#74) blows up Mitchell on the play, making him pay the price for his TD throw

– Dobson Collins (#80) makes a short catch before Henry² doesn’t, forcing the Redblacks to punt

– Jasper Simmons (#31) intercepts Mitchell and returns it 29 yards before being tackled

– Walker punches the ball in from the 1, finally putting the Redblacks on the board

– Anthony Parker takes the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to Ottawa’s 51 yard line

– Mitchell strings together a few passes and puts a dagger in the Redblack’s chances of a comeback with a late 1st half TD to Jabari Arthur; 28-7 for the team wearing (but not named) red and black

3rd Quarter:

– Pruneau and Simmons continue to tackle everything in sight

pruneau

– Wallace Miles (#84) and Matt Carter (#85) make catches of 19 and 5 yards respectively

– Burris throws his 2nd interception of the game but makes the tackle so I guess he atones? #effort

– The defense limits the damage to a 12 yard Rene Paredes FG

– Burris shows off his arm strength and caps off an 8 play, 75 yard drive with a 32 yard TD pass to a streaking Miles

cancan
Can can can you do the can can?

– Eddie Elder (#5) picks off Mitchell but the refs unexplainably flag Robinson for pass interference, negating the potentially momentum tipping interception

– It’s small consolation but Justin Capicciotti (#93) gets a sack

– Rob Maver punts 53 yards for a rouge

4th Quarter:

– Maher caps off a 4 play, 64 yard drive with a 32 yard FG

– The Stamps chew up nearly 5 min of clock and tack on a 40 yard FG

– Walker trips up Burris, giving Charleston Hughes the easiest sack of his career

– Thomas DeMarco’s (#17) 3rd down pass falls incomplete, turning the ball over on downs

– Stamps extend their lead by three with another field goal

– Carter gets behind the Stampeder defence and makes a 60 yard catch, getting tackled at Calgary’s 3 yard line

carter

– The Redblacks proceed to shoot themselves in the foot when Collins is flagged for asking for a flag, Gott is flagged for a false start and Scott MacDonell (#83) catches a TD pass but is flagged for being offside

– On 3rd down Burris overthrows Miles on a corner route

Final Score: 38-17 for the Calgary Hitmen

Key Stats:

Henry Burris went 20-of-29 for 281 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs

Chevon Walker had 8 carries for 22 yards and 1 TD

Wallace Miles had 5 catches for 102 yards and 1 TD

Jasper Simmons had 9 tackles and 1 INT

Closing Thoughts:

 The Redblacks were always going to be in tough against what is probably the best team in the CFL. Though they gave up more points than last week’s loss, I think the team has more positives to take away from this week’s film review. This loss isn’t a reflection on the Redblacks’ effort, as it’s evident from watching that the players are giving their all, but instead highlights a lack of execution by certain players at key moments. Just by reading his stat line you can assume Burris had a decent game, but it’s a bit misleading as he struggled in the first half, only picking up 58 yards. Promising drives were killed by timely drops and flags but Wallace Miles continued to build off his strong performance last week and seems to be creating chemistry with Burris. Aside from his 1 yard TD, Chevon Walker was a complete non factor, averaging 2.7 yards per carry. You’ve gotta wonder how much of that is on the offensive line, who also struggled with keeping Burris upright, forcing him to rush throws and scramble more often than you’d like to see a 39 year old QB run.

Defensively the Redblacks had some stand out performances; Jasper Simmons played like a man possessed, maybe being a new Dad has given him a bit of extra motivation. 1st round pick Antoine Pruneau rewarded the coach’s decision to start him with 8 tackles and was constantly around the ball. But the real revelation of the night was the play of Jermaine Robinson, who laid the lumber on a few guys and nearly picked off a couple of passes, it’s safe to say he’ll be starting next week.

It was another sloppy game for the special team’s coverage, as they gave up a 52 yard punt return along with 45 yard kickoff return. The Redblacks can talk about not being an expansion team all they want, but the fact of the matter is that good teams have good coverage, and this issue has plagued them since their 1st pre-season game. Penalties were another headache as once again the Redblacks gave up over 100 yards in flags, drawing 12 flags for 131 yards. Maher rebounded from last week’s nightmarish outing by going 1/1 on FGs and averaging nearly 49 yards a punt.

Though the Redblacks lost once again, they continue to remain the playoff hunt simply due to the fact that everyone else in the East is also struggling. If they can get a win next week at home against an Eskimo team that hasn’t yet experienced the ferocity of R-Nation in person, it would set them up nicely for the 2nd half of the season when nearly every game is against an Eastern team. Remember to be LOUD and PROUD at Lansdowne on Friday!

@RedBlackGade

Game #5; GREENWHITES > REDBLACKS (for one night only)

By: Santino Filoso

burrissack

First they took our name, then they took our watermelons, and on Saturday night they took the air out of our stadium. The GREENWHITES came to town for the second CFL game in TD Place history and quickly moved the game out of reach, dropping the Redblacks to second place in the East Divison with a 1-4 record.

Pre-Game:

– Who would have guessed it would take the Fake Riders six games to finally have the opportunity to play in front of a sold out, LOUD, rambunctious crowd

– Yours truly had a chance to meet and thank Darren Jospeh and Ken Evraire in person, two great Ottawa CFL alumni, for doing interviews with Defend the R earlier this year

IMG_9048

– Standing by the sidelines I met the head referee and joked that I’d be waiting for his hometown calls, his face set in stone he informed me that “This isn’t my hometown” (Sorry for jinxing us)

– During the coin toss a GREENWHITES captain questions the referee about the coin and is promptly reminded that “tails is tails”

1st Quarter:

– Redblacks receive the ball but quickly go two and out after a Chevon Walker (#29) run and an incomplete pass

Who knew watermelons could tackle so well?
Who knew watermelons could tackle so well?

– Durant carves up the Redblacks defense as he leads the men in green on a 7 play TD drive

– Flag

– After an open Jamill Smith (#15) drops a pass that hits him in the hands, Burris tries to show him what he was looking for by throwing a completion to a GREENWHITE defender who brings it back to the Redblacks’ 15 yard line

– Flag

– The defense limits the damage to a field goal

– Flag

– On the following possession Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) decides to play hot potato with Burris’ pass, gifting the Fake Riders with back to back interceptions, which quickly turns into a Will Ford TD

– Flag

– Wallace Miles (#84) does what the Oxford Dictionary of English defines as “seizing or taking hold of something” which is more commonly known as making a catch

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– Flag

– Brett “The Silent Assassin” Maher’s 42 yard punt is returned 63 yards to Ottawa’s 27 yard line, making it three possessions in a row that Saskatchewan starts inside the 30

– Flag

– Following Rob Bagg’s 26 yard catch, Ford breaks the plane and scores another TD, 24-0 for the Watermelons

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– Flag

– Smith and Henry² fail to make catches before Walker puts the offence on his back and romps 48 yards

2nd Quarter:

– Watching all his fellow WRs drop passes and feeling left out, Dobson Collins (#80) decides to get in on the action

drops
Drops drops drops drops drops drops, EVERYBODY!

– Brett Maher (#3) tries and fails to kick a 24 yard field goal through the right upright

mahermiss

– Another promising GREENWHITES drive is snuffed out when Zack Evans (#92) sacks Durant

– Flag

– Walker busts another big run, this time for 20 yards

– Flag

– Maher’s 43 yard field goal attempt is short and quickly returned 112 yards for a TD, if you listen closely you can hear a HO-BART chant being murmured

– Flag

– Chris Milo blasts the kickoff through the end zone for a rouge, extending the Watermelons lead to 32-0

– Flag

– Desperately seeking to get something going, Head Coach Rick Campbell sends backup QB Thomas DeMarco (#17) in on 3rd and 3; DeMarco’s 73 yard punt is recovered in the end zone by Collins, confusing the zebras but eventually resulting in the Redblacks 1st TD at TD Place

dobsontd
The Redblacks’ highlight of the night

– Probably thinking that they’d never expect another onside punt in the same game, Campbell dials up the same play the next time the Redblacks need to punt, but this time the a player who may or may not have been wearing a watermelon for a helmet catches the ball

– Flag

– Teams trade two and outs before John Delahunt (#49) recovers a muffed punt

– With 5 seconds left in the half Henry² makes a 17 yard catch to put the Redblacks in FG range, but instead of just going down time expires as he tries to pick up YAC (yards after the catch)

– Redblacks trail 32-7 after 30 minutes of sloppy play

Half-time:

– OSEG shows R-Nation what business synergy looks like as Big Joe Mufferaw teams up with Sparky and Riley to out tug a gopher and his cousins

Teamwork at its finest
Teamwork at its finest

– Surprisingly the refs choose to flag nobody for 15 minutes, the longest stretch of the game without an infraction

3rd Quarter:

– Opening the 3rd like they started the game, the Redblacks quickly go two and out

– Flag

– Teams trade two and outs before GREENWHITES’ kicker Chris Milo eventually nails a 34 yard FG

Could've used more of this
Could’ve used more of this

– Flag

– Patrick Lavoie (#81) looks good making a 14 yard catch and running over defenders

– Flag

– Following a Burris sack, Maher punts 52 yards

– Flag

– Not bothered by the fact that his team is trailing 35-7 in front of a festive, sold out home crowd that showed up even if he didn’t, safety Eric Fraser (#7) has enough energy to break it down and busts out SICK dance moves during a TV timeout

– Flag

– Smith and  Henry² decide to add to their drop totals

4th Quarter:

– Having apparently used up all his good kicks in the home opener, Maher shanks a 45 yard FG attempt

– Flag

– A promising 8 play scoring drive comes to an abrupt end when an open Miles drops a 3rd down pass at the GREENWHITES’ 11 yard line

– Flag

– Durant doesn’t take his foot off the gas as he hits Bagg for a 42 yard gain that soon turns into a 42 yard FG

– Flag

– DeMarco enters the game, going 4/4 for 75 yards and a TD and looks like God simply because Matt Carter (#85), Henry² and Smith suddenly decide to start catching the passes that have been hitting them in the hands all night

Burris knows the feeling of throwing to nobody
Burris knows the feeling of throwing to nobody

– Final Score: 38-14 for the one team I hoped we’d beat more than anyone else this season

Key Stats:

 – Burris went 17 of 33 for 217 yards with 0 TDS and 2 INTS

– Walker had 12 carries for 47 yards

– Collins had 4 catches for 68 yards (and the awesome onside punt recovery TD)

– Justin Capicciotti (#93), Brandon Lang (#91) and Seth Williams (#23) all had 6 tackles

Closing Thoughts: 

The Redblacks were always going to be in tough against the defending Grey Cup champs, but nobody in the stadium thought the game would unravel as quickly as it did (maybe minus the drunk guy with a watermelon mohawk in my section). By going down 24-0 in the 1st quarter, the Redblacks’ game was over before it really had a chance to begin. That being said, there were opportunities to claw back that were…..dropped. Our receivers tonight were terrible, dropping numerous passes that hit them right in the hands. Some of them might not have been easy catches but can we take a minute to remember that these guys are supposed to be professionals? The offensive line had another tough game, failing once again to open holes for Walker and in giving Burris enough time to properly step into his throws. Burris might not have had his best game but anyone pinning this loss on him would be wrong. He gave his guys opportunities to make plays, but too often they let them slip through their hands.

On the defensive side of the ball we always seemed to be a step behind the play. Tackling angles were poor and our front seven failed to apply consistent pressure on Durant, and when you give a guy like him enough time, he’ll pick you apart. With that being said, the defense really stepped up in the second half, limiting the GREENWHITES to 6 points (two FGs). DB Reggie Jones (#20) had a decent debut whereas Seth Williams struggled for the most part in coverage.

Special teams had one shinning moment in an otherwise horrendous game. Dobson Collins’ onside punt recovery was brilliantly executed and was the first onside punt recovery since Dick Adams (of the Ottawa Rough Riders) did it in 1973. The kick coverage was like Swiss cheese, full of holes, and ended up repeatedly flipping field position along with a momentum crushing 111 yard TD return.

The men in stripes dominated the game and there was seemingly a flag after every play. The Redblacks inexcusably took 12 of the 19 penalties for 136 yards, with Jeraill McCuller (#50) picking up three unnecessary roughness flags. Until the coaching staff figures out a way to limit the flags, the Redblacks will continue to struggle to win games.

With a tough Calgary Stampeders team on deck, the Redblacks will have to put this loss behind them and head back to the drawing board.

@RedBlackGade

 *All images courtesy of CFL.ca, Roman Romanovich, and my camera

Game #4; LeFevour Reams Redblacks

By: Santino Filoso

Ottawa Redblacks v Hamilton Tiger-Cats

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

Pre-Game:

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

1st Quarter:

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

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

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

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

Matt Carter, Craig Butler

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

Lerunning
LeRunning

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

phillips

2nd Quarter:

– Burris connects with Henry² for a 19 yard TD

h2td

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

jjsack

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

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

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

LeRunning Part 2: LeForce
LeRunning Part 2: LeForce

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

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

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

3rd Quarter:

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

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

– Maher’s 38 yard FG attempt is good

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Kierrie Johnson is seen on the sidelines icing his forearm

4th Quarter:

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

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

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

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

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

Dan LeFevour

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

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

Final Score: 33-23 for LeTicats

Key Stats:

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

Walker had 8 carries for 37 yards

Henry² made 10 catches for 137 yards (1 TD)

Jerrell Gavins made 6 tackles

Closing Thoughts:

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

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

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

@RedBlackGade

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

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

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

By: Santino Filoso

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

Pre-Game:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

1st Quarter:

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

gavins

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

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

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

– Redblacks are forced to punt following a Burris sack

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

2nd Quarter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

burrissack

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

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

Half-time:

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

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

3rd Quarter:

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

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

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

– Brandyn Thompson (#25) picks off Ricky Ray

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

collins

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

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

4th Quarter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Final score: 18-17 for the Redblacks

Key Stats: 

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

– Walker had 12 carries for 60 yards

– Johnson had 6 catches for 91 yards

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

– 5 sacks for the Redblacks defense

Closing Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Big Three tonight
The Big Three tonight

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

@RedBlackGade

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

Game #2: Green & Gold leave Redblacks seeing red

By: Santino Filoso

 

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

Pre-Game:

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

1st Quarter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chevon Walker, Dexter McCoil, Rennie Curran
Stingy Eskimo defense

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

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

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

2nd Quarter:

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

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

– Burris gets sacked

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

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

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Walker celebrating his 3rd TD of the year

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

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

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

3rd Quarter: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4th Quarter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stats that stand out:

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

– Walker had 10 carries for 92 yards and a TD

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

– 11 penalties for 118 yards

Closing thoughts:

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

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

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

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

@RedBlackGade

Photos courtesy of Ottawa Redblacks Facebook page

Game #1; Redblacks come up just short

By: Santino Filoso

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

Pre-Game:

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

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

First Quarter:

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

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

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Chevon Walker scores the 1st TD in franchise history

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– 21-7 for the Redblacks after one

Second Quarter:

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

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

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

– Brandon Lang (#91) sacks Willy

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

Third Quarter:

– Redblacks recieve the ball but their drive quickly stalls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fourth Quarter:

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

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

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

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

– Redblacks go two and out

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

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

Final Score: 36-28 for not the Redblacks

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Closing Thoughts:

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

@RedBlackGade

All images courtesy CFL.ca