By: Santino Filoso
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.
– 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
– 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
It’s a punt off in Edmonton.
— Steve Lloyd (@TSNSteveLloyd) July 12, 2014
– 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
– 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
– 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)
Walker being shot out of a canon + Delahunt making a hell of a block = a #REDBLACKS TD!
— RedBlack Renegade (@RedBlackGade) July 12, 2014
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
– 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
– 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)
– 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
That’s a penalty?! Horseshit! That should be a sack! #REDBLACKS #RNation
— Rich Savarie (@RichSavarie) July 12, 2014
@RedBlacksCFL @CFL Absolutely the worst call of 2014. That is called a tackle.
— Roman Romanovich (@Romanovichphoto) July 12, 2014
Ok, I know, I know. And no, it’s not a major penalty for giving the QB a dirty look… it’s only a 5 yarder #CFL
— Fake Mark Cohon (@FakeMarkCohon) July 12, 2014
– 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
Thank God the umpire made that tackle, otherwise that was going to the house #REDBLACKS
— RedBlack Renegade (@RedBlackGade) July 12, 2014
– 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
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!
Photos courtesy of Ottawa Redblacks Facebook page