Ottawa Paints Montreal Redblack

By: Santino Filoso


On Friday night the Redblacks closed out their pre-season and made the short trip over to Montreal to resume a rivalry that had been on hold for 3156 days. 72 players had one last chance to impress coaches and beat out the competition in hopes of surviving the final round of training camp cuts and earning a roster spot.


– When he’s not playing against the Redblacks, how can you not be pulling for a guy like Chad Johnson? He’s got the right attitude about playing in the CFL and when asked by the Montreal Gazette how he was feeling heading into tonight’s game he dropped this gem;

It’s similar to the feeling before I lost my virginity. There’s a certain level of excitement … anticipation … not knowing what’s going to happen or what I’m going to get.

– Realize that the Redblacks will only be playing in their white road uniforms until July 18th, but I don’t mind at all. They look SO good

– The Sun’s Tim Baines lobbies for urinal toys at TD Place

– Apparently most Als fans were still celebrating France’s World Cup rout of the Swiss and couldn’t make it in time for kick-off


1st Quarter:

– Jamill Smith returns the Als opening kickoff for a big gain, but that’s the only positive aspect of the Redblacks opening drive as Burris gets sacked twice behind a shaky offensive line

– Former NFL star Chad Johnson immediately gets involved, making a catch for a 1st down on the Als’ 1st play from scrimmage

#85’s first and only catch of the game

– Rod Black’s talking point of the quarter is Chad Johnson and TSN’s cameras pan to show the dozen people wearing Cincinnati Bengal jerseys in the crowd

– Als string together a couple of first downs before their drive stalls and they punt for a single, 1-0 for the Habs

– Don’t tell Paris Jackson it’s just the pre-season, after an 8-yard catch he gets into a shoving match with Chip Cox on the sidelines

– Redblacks and Als trade two and outs as the defenses flex their muscles

– Jamill Smith gets nailed on a punt return but to his credit hangs onto the ball

– Burris gets hot and completes back to back long passes to Dobson Collins for 28 yards and Matt Carter for another 33 yards, bringing the ball to the Als 3 yard line

Dobson Collins makes a big play

– Chevon Walker caps off the 65-yard, 3 play drive with a 3-yard rushing TD

– Als return man Larry Taylor exposes the Redblacks special teams coverage by rumbling 40 yards on the ensuing kickoff before being shoved out of bounds

– Troy Smith persists in his belief that his receivers are ten feet tall and his passes sail over open Als receivers

– An Als kicker wearing #00 (no 7) boots a  33 yard FG

– Quarter ends with Burris hitting Kierrie Johnson for another long first down gain

– Score is 7-4 Redblacks after 15 minutes

2nd Quarter:

– After an Als offside, Burris hits a wide open Johnson for a 36 yard catch and run which brings the ball to the 1

– Shrugging off a poor start, Burris now has 5 straight completions

– Walker gets his 2nd TD of the game waltzing in from the 1

– Larry Taylor has another huge kickoff return, ensuring the Redblacks special teams meeting on Monday morning will be laced with profanity

– Under heavy pressure Troy Smith scrambles half-way to Ottawa before finding Duron Carter for a 1st down

– Redblacks move the ball well on their next possession thanks to catches by Collins, Lavoie, Henry² (Burris to Marcus Henry), Walker and Delahunt

– Newly signed Brett Maher is wide on a 40-yard FG but Redblacks still pick up a rouge

– Rod Black’s talking points of the quarter are former Ticats and Chip Cox’s 2013 season

– Jason Pottinger has a crunching special teams tackle

– The Als’ not-James-Bond kicker #00 (Alavardo) makes a 27-yard FG

– With 1:22 left in the half, Burris leads the Redblacks on an 8 play, 85-yard drive in 1:16; Paris Jackson and Henry² both make impressive grabs to keep the drive alive which ends with a passing TD to Walker, his 3rd TD of the game.

Chevy walks in untouched

– Hats rain down and Walker is quickly buried under an avalanche of caps from the R-Nation fans who made the trek to Montreal

– Score going into half is 22-7 for the good guys

3rd Quarter:

– Redblacks kickoff but quickly get the ball back thanks to heavy pressure forcing another Troy Smith incompletion and a Brandon Lang sack

– Burris, Walker and the rest of the Redblacks starters come out for another series that ends in a punt for a rouge before being pulled for the night

– Rod Black’s talking point of the quarter is Troy Smith’s inaccuracy

– On the Redblacks next possession, Thomas DeMarco enters the game

– Two plays later, Justin Palardy shanks a punt and the Redblacks are flagged for no yards, giving the Als great field position

– Tanner Marsh enters at QB for the Als

– Safety, pilot, CBA negotiator and free thinker Eric Fraser limps off the field after making a tackle with 7:12 left in the quarter

– Als kicker Sean Whyte makes a 19 yard FG to cut the Redblacks lead to 13

– Paul LaPolice talks about how coaches want to see “Nice, big, tall butts” when they look at their offensive line, Rod Black giggles

– WR Travon Patterson goes offside and DeMarco gets sacked

– Facing 3rd and a CN Tower, the Redblacks punt

– Quarter comes to a close on a turnover on downs when the Redblacks stuff the Als on a 3rd and 1 run

4th Quarter:

– Starting on the Als 25, Redblacks extend their lead to 26-10 after Brett Maher makes a 17-yard field goal

– Announced attendance at McGill Stadium is just over 18,000, undoubtedly bolstered by the legions of R-Nation who drove over to get their first look at the team in person

– DB Eddie Elder blitzes in untouched and ensures Marsh will need an ice bath with a blindside sack

– Rod Black’s talking points of the 4th quarter include waxing sentimental about cut down day and how meaningless the pre-season is as teams just want the regular season to start

– Danny O’Brien enters at QB with 7:04 left in the game but fails to move the ball

– You know it’s the pre-season when Henry Burris has a dance off with Jovon Johnson on the sidelines, independent judges confirm the Burris win

– 5:21, with an Als player down, Rod Black uses the word fermented, a 1st on TSN’s Friday Night Football history

– Alex Brink enters at QB for the Als and is quickly sacked by Zack Evans

– Als turn the ball over on downs again

– REDBLACKS WIN! Final score 26-10 for the out-of-towners!


Final Thoughts:

The Redblacks got their 1st win in franchise history and even if it was only a pre-season one, it still counts and is a monkey off the young franchise’s back. There were many positive takeaways from this game; Burris went 17-of-22 for 247 yards and a TD in one half of work and running back Chevon Walker continued to show a nose for the goal line with 3 TDs. The offense was aggressive and stretched the field with long completions; Burris’ arm looks as strong as ever. The defense was also very solid, shutting the Als out of the endzone and bringing heavy pressure all night long. On the negative side, the Redblacks kick coverage teams continue to struggle as they consistently gave up long returns. They really need to tighten up their tackling or special teams will cost them during the regular season. With the win the Redblacks pre-season is over and it will be interesting to see who survives tomorrow’s final cuts. With a bye week coming up, the Redblacks will have a lot of time (13 days) to prepare for their Week 2 showdown with the Bombers in Winnipeg.


– All images from and Scott Grant Photography