The Saskatchewan Dresslers Outlast the Redblacks

By: Santino Filoso

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

Pre-game:

– Head Coach Rick Campbell gets the boys fired up

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

1st Quarter:

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

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

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

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Boom

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

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

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

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

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

2nd Quarter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A welcome sight

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

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

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

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

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

– All alone in space, Miles drops a gimme

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

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

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

Half-time:

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

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

3rd Quarter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4th Quarter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st Overtime:

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

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

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

Double Jeopardy (2nd Overtime):

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

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

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

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

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

Final score: Greenwhites 35, Redblacks 32

Key Stats:

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

Johnson had 7 carries for 49 yards

Henry² made 8 catches for 87 yards

Simmons led the way on defence with 8 tackles

Maher punted 10 times for 492 yards

Closing thoughts:

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

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

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

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Certainly feels this way sometimes

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

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

@RedBlackGade

– All images via CFL.ca and the Ottawa Sun

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Ranking the CFL’s Signature Looks

By: Santino Filoso

Sig·na·ture (ˈsignəCHər,-ˌCHo͝or/)

noun

  1. a person’s name written in a distinctive way as a form of identification

The CFL in conjunction with Reebok recently released a brand new line of 3rd jerseys. This new “Signature Look” line has been mainly met with scorn and criticism even though they’re not all bad. In fact, we here at Defend the R took it upon ourselves to conduct a thorough analysis of each team’s new getups and rank them for you! Factors that went into our decision included visual appeal, style, fan interaction, use of team colours, how the uniforms looked in person vs being photoshopped/enhanced and ties to team history. Without further ado, here are the rankings:

9) The Saskatchewan GREENWHITES

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Though we are a fan run, independent blog, we here at Defend the R were privileged to sit in on Saskatchewan’s meeting with Reebok’s creative team. Here’s the *actual* transcript of how it went down.

Reebok: Thanks for coming today everyone, before we begin I’d just like to-

Saskatchewan: Green

Reebok: Uh, yes, okay, as I was saying-

Saskatchewan: Green

Reebok: Okay, maybe I’ll just give you the floor

Saskatchewan: Green, green, green

Reebok: Hmmm, alright, we can work with that, how about 50 shades of green?

Saskatchewan: GREEN!

Reebok: Why don’t we break for lunch?

Saskatchewan: Did you say watermelon!?

Reebok: I’m sensing a theme here….

All kidding aside, these uniforms are a complete mess. If every shade of green was meant to be sewn together on a piece of fabric, Martha Stewart would’ve done it already. The helmets a look like watermelons which is an ode to the fans who wear them in the stands and the “Rider Nation” tag inside the collar is a nice touch. The GREENWHITES also deserve praise for breaking new ground as the first and only team in pro sports history to feature a tramp stamp on their jersey.

Montreal Alouettes v Saskatchewan Roughriders
You can get your own GREENWHITE tramp stamp tattooed for free after every home win!

8) Winnipeg Blue Bombers

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Traditional team colours, who needs’em? Not the Bombers faithful, at least to management’s thinking. Ditching their beloved golden threads, the Bombers instead embraced their inner warrior by sporting the US Military’s Arctic camouflage. There’s not a lot to like if you’re a Bomber fan, as even the helmet looks like the after splatter of a flock of seagulls. It’s as if Reebok mixed up their Toronto and Winnipeg files with this look being the bastard love child. Last time I checked the team without gold and wearing double blue was based in Toronto. Maybe these uniforms will prove to be a stroke of genius late in the season as the team will blend in and disappear into the snowy weather. When even your players struggle to appear enthusiastic, you know you’ve missed the mark.

Jason Vega isn't impressed
Jason Vega isn’t impressed

7) The Toronto Argonauts

chipmunk   should never go with this  titanswhite

What do you get when you cross Alvin the Chipmunk’s trademarked A with the Tennessee Titan’s road uniforms?  The Argos’ new signature look of course! Don’t get me wrong, I love me some powdered blue but the layout is simply all wrong. The best part of this look is the helmet, which looks crisp and clean.

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6) The Hamilton Tiger Cats

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Raise your hand if you thought these garbage bag grey uniforms would be ready in time. The Ticat’s new look features charcoal grey to incorporate the smog from the factory smoke stacks surrounding Tim Horton’s field. The yellow reflector numbers are a nice touch as they will help fans keep track of their favourite players through the haze of still settling construction dust. Much like the Argos, the best part of these looks are the helmets with the faded tiger logo on one side and the player number on the other.

If your pet tiger is looking this grey, take him to the vet ASAP!
If your pet tiger is looking this grey, take him to the vet ASAP!

5) The Montreal Alouettes

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The Als stuck to their traditional colours by going with grey and silver on their futuristic looking new uniforms. Going back to their roots, the Alouettes chose to honour the first French Canadian Bombing unit in the Air Force, the 425 Squadron, who were nicknamed the ’’Alouettes”. Renown for their toughness and bravery, the 425 Squad was the inspiration when Montreal chose it’s team name in 1946. The only real knock on this look that for whatever reason the team and league have released very few pictures, so it’s really hard to judge just how good the complete product is or what the helmets really look like. One thing that does stand out is that the feather sleeve design looks like snowflakes. The Als decided to only use MTL on the front because it’s a) unilingual so they avoid any problems with Quebec’s strict language police and b) it saves space.

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It’s 425, not 4225!

4) The Edmonton Eskimos

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The Eskimos stuck to the KISS (Keep It Stupid Simple) philosophy with their new look and I can appreciate that. The Eskimos kept to what they and their fans know, the green and gold colour scheme and in so doing created something that both traditionalists and younger fans can enjoy. While the enormous double Es might not be the prettiest thing to look at, keep in mind that these are supposed to be signature looks, so who can fault the Eskimos for putting their signature front and centre? Stitching the lyrics to part of their fight song inside the collar is a subtle touch that links these jerseys to the team’s storied history

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“The Green & Gold is bold”

3) The BC Lions

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Jumping the gun on the rest of the league, BC actually released their signature jerseys last year, only they called them their “Premier Look”. The bane of sports announcers league wide, these sharp uniforms boast a gun metal look that is perfectly offset by the safety pylon orange outlining their black numbers. Though some complain the numbers are hard to read who cares, unless you’re playing the Redblacks, Ticats or Stampeders, you’ll be the only team on the field in all black! The Leos didn’t mess with a good thing by leaving the paw decal on the side of the helmet untouched.

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Sorry Bighill, you’re #3 actually

2) The Ottawa Redblacks

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A wise man once said that once you go plaid you’re always glad and boy was he ever right. From Day One the Redblacks have embraced Ottawa’s lumber history and considering that our mascot is an axe wielding (though kid friendly) lumberjack, it was only a matter of time before plaid worked its way onto our uniforms. It’s called a Canadian tuxedo for a reason and we here in the Nation’s Capital choose to embrace stereotypes. The Redblacks signature look definitely puts the red in Redblacks. The checkered helmet is the crown jewel of this uniform (literally), though it’s a bit strange to see an Ottawa helmet without the white iconic R on it. But to be fair to Reebok, it probably didn’t mesh well with the plaid since everyone knows that the only thing that goes with plaid is more plaid. The one thing holding this look back from top spot is the big white looking (but actually silver) saw blade on the front, it just screams out of place. Not to mention the fact that it has an uncanny resemblance to a Dr. Seuss character.

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Long lost cousins?

 

1)  The Calgary Stampeders

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The Stamps must really love the Redblacks home uniforms, because their signature look is almost exactly the same. This NRA approved uniform sports a pair of revolvers on the shoulders and gloves; a tribute to the Wild West or a reflection of the city’s gang violence? What vaults this look ahead of all the rest is Calgary’s new helmet. The bitumen black front of the helmet fades away to red and is highlighted by speed lines and a chrome horse logo. Like the GREENWHITES , Ticats, and Esks, the Stamps also have an engraving stitched on their collar, but theirs is in Latin. It doesn’t matter that nobody on the team could tell you what “Quidquid Requiritur,” means (Whatever It Takes), having a dead language on your jersey simply makes you cool.

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Will you buy your team’s new jersey? How would you rank’em? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know!

@RedBlackGade