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

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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

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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

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Here comes the boom!

2nd Quarter:

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

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“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

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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

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– 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

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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

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– 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