Redblacks Recap: Ottawa Implodes as Ticats Claw Out Win

By: Santino Filoso

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On a cold, windy, Halloween night, the Ticats rolled into town for the Redblacks final home game of the season. As has come to be expected, R-Nation packed TD Place, selling it out for the 9th straight time and proving once and for all that Ottawa IS a football town. Though the home fans were treated to a much more exciting game than the usual defensive struggle they normally see, ultimately the Redblacks lost once again.

Pre-game:

– In yet another classy move, OSEG continues to link Ottawa’s storied football history to the present by renaming and dedicating the press box to long time Rough Rider announcer Ernie Calcutt

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– R-Nation goes all out to get into the Halloween spirit

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Hamilton Tiger-Cats v Ottawa RedBlacks

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– Good to see that PA announcer Mike. Sutherland is recovering well from his recent plastic surgery

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– Players gather at centre field to salute the fans, who once again do their part, selling out TD Place for the 9th straight time

– Ottawa wins the coin toss to move their toss record to 5-14 on the year

1st Quarter:

– Roy Finch (#19) returns the opening kick off 38 yards to start the game

– Ottawa goes two and out after FB John “Boom” Delahunt (#49) makes a 4 yard catch and a deep pass for Matt “Matty Ice” Carter (#85) is broken up

– A beautiful punt by Brett Maher (#3) and great coverage pins the Ticats inside their own 10

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– Jovon “The Vet” Johnson (#2) comes roaring in on the corner blitz and brings down Collaros for his second sack of the year

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– Catches by Carter and Wallace “Boom or Bust” Miles (#84) help the Redblacks march into the red zone but the drive stalls when Burris is sacked and overthrows an open Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) in the end zone

– Maher pushes his 29 yard FG wide right but gets the single so Ottawa takes a 1-0 lead

– Heavy pressure forces Collaros to throw an incompletion on 2nd down and the Ticats go two and out

– Danny “Boy” O’Brien (#9) enters the game and immediately hits Henry² for a 20 yard gain

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– The Redblacks cover 86 yards in 7 plays for a touchdown on Jeremiah “Flow” Johnson’s (#27) back as he gets it done with hard running and a beautiful executed screen. O’Brien is shaken up on the drive after being levelled while completing a pass

Jeremiah Johnson, Colin Kelly

2nd Quarter:

– On 2nd down, Travis Brown (#43) and Jermaine Robinson (#32) meet at the QB and sack Collaros for a big loss, Ticats come away with nothing after a long drive

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– O’Brien is back in at QB and Johnson takes off for 21 yards. The drive is cut short when Finch catches a short pass and fumbles. Ticats knock it out of bounds, recover and take over at Ottawa’s 29

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– Hamilton makes the most of the turnover two plays later when back to back run plays lead to a touchdown

– The short kick off is fielded by 6 foot 6 inch DL Marlon Smith (#98) who actually looks surprisingly smooth as he scurries for a decent return

Defensive lineman? Or Dante Hall in disguise?
Defensive lineman? Or Dante Hall in disguise?

– The QB rotation continues and Burris finds Carter three times on the drive for gains of 19, 11 and finally 34 yards for a TD as Carter carves up the Ticats secondary like a pumpkin

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– All the energy and momentum is sucked out of TD Place when Brandon Banks takes the ensuing kick off for 103 yards for a touchdown

– After a 7 yard run by Johnson, Burris scrambles for his life, barely avoids the sack and throws the ball away

– Newcomer David Hinds (#20) is flagged for roughing the passer when he slightly nudges Collaros

– With no one open and under heavy pressure, Collaros forced to throw the ball away on 2nd down

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– O’Brien takes the reigns of the offence and after hiting Delahunt for a 15 yard gain and  Johnson for anther 10,  an overthrow is picked off and returned 46 yards

– Justin Capicciotti’s (#93) ninth sack of the year is an 18 yard loss and on 3rd and 33 the Ticats punt

– Jamill Smith’s 28 yard punt return is wiped out by an objectionable conduct call on Ottawa’s bench

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– Johnson runs for 6 before O’Brien takes a knee to end the half

Jeremiah Johnson

– Redblacks lead 15-14 after 30 min

Half-time:

– Big Joe’s anthem plays

– This guy wins best costume and $1000

3rd Quarter:

– Ticats get the ball and march down the field thanks to sloppy arm tackles and flags. Capicciotti gets his 2nd sack of the night but Hamilton takes the lead with a 22 yard FG

– With Burris in at QB the offence puts together one of it’s best drives of the night; Johnson picks up 28 yards on two runs, Delahunt hauls in an 11 yard pass, Smith gains 9 yards on sweep, Burris gives the Redblacks a fresh set of downs after a QB sneak and Johnson caps the drive off in style, juking 25 yards into the end zone, making Ticat defenders look silly

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– The defence flexes it’s muscles quickly forcing another Ticat two and out

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– O’Brien has a series to forget as he fumbles the handoff on first down before throwing a pick six on the next play. Ticats lead 24-22

– With Burris in at QB, the Redblacks go two and out following two incompletions as OC Mike Gibson decides that running the ball isn’t a good idea in a tight, one score game

– Brown gets the ball back for Ottawa when he absolutely blows up Terrell Sinkfield and forces a fumble that is scooped up by DL Moton “The Motivator” Hopkins (#95)

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– Johnson runs for a short gain and Burris is sacked on 2nd down. A bonehead after the whistle flag on OL Colin Kelly (#67) pushes the Redblacks back an extra 15 yards

4th Quarter:

– Hamilton RB Mossis Madu wobbles off the field after getting walloped by a trio of Ottawa defenders

– Ticats increase their lead with a 28 yard FG

– Miles season is summed up in a nutshell as he drops an easy pass before making two tough catches over the middle for gains of 19 and 12 yards respectively. Maher’s 42 yard FG makes it 27-25

– Smith blows up a run for a loss and Collaros throws an incompletion as the Ticats go two and out

– Inside the shadow of his own goal posts, Burris is sacked and then proceeds to show that anything O’Brien can do he can do better by throwing his own pick six

Henry Burris

– HC Rick Campbell decides to keep O’Brien on the bench and Burris trots back out (after the game we learn that O’Brien was hurt)

– Ottawa is saved by the flag when a sack is wiped out by a roughing the passer call

– Carter gets way behind the defence but a sure fire touchdown falls incomplete, rolling off his fingertips

– Khalil Paden (#13), Patrick Lavoie (#81), Miles and Carter all make catches to get the Redblacks into the red zone but OC Mike Gibson decides to run the ball on 2nd down which results in a 4 yard loss

On 3rd and 7, down by 9 with 1:47 left and on the Ticat’s 19 yard line, Campbell chooses NOT to kick the FG to cut the lead to 6 and instead Burris’ pass is picked off in the end zone

– Hamilton strings together a few first downs to run out the clock

Final score: 34-25

Key stats:

Burris went 15 of 22 for 222 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs

O’Brien went 6 of 10 for 83 yards with 0 TDs and 2 INTs

Johnson had 17 carries for 131 yards and 2 TDs

Carter made 5 catches 81 yards and 1 TD

Capicciotti made 4 tackles and 2 sacks

Maher punted 4 times for 180 yards

Closing Thoughts:

Once again the Redblacks take two steps forward and two steps back. It’s hard to win CFL games and it’s damn near impossible to win when you have 5 turnovers (with 21 points off them), give up a 103 yard kick off TD return and throw two pick sixes.

The dual QB attack was effective early but seemed to hinder both QBs as the game worn on, as neither one seemed to be able to settle into a rhythm, both overthrowing receivers and tossing interceptions. A case could be made for either QB having the better game but in the end neither did enough to protect the ball. The run game was extremely effective as Jeremiah Johnson tore through the Ticats like a knife through hot butter. Inexplicably, in spite of the run game rolling on all cylinders, OC Mike Gibson sometimes got away from the run which lead to two and outs. The WRs were led by Miles and Carter and once again though Carter had a strong game, ultimately he will be remembered for the late drop when he was wide open. Disappointingly, promising rookie Scott Macdonell (#83) never saw the field, despite proving his value in recent weeks. The shuffled offensive line looked very good when run blocking, opening up huge running lanes for Johnson to exploit but failed to pick up the blitz in pass protection several times, giving up sacks in crucial situations. Mike Gibson chose not to take advantage of Hamilton’s aggressiveness with bland play calling, calling only one screen and no draws or misdirection plays. Still, it was one of the team’s better offensive performances on the year, though much of the good work they did was undone with interceptions and fumbles.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Redblacks made the Ticats grind out every drive. Collaros was under duress for the whole game but often hung in the pocket just long enough to take a hit and deliver the pass for a first down gain. The Redblacks routinely blew up plays in the backfield for losses, setting up 2nd and long and allowing them to blitz and tee off on Collaros. Though they didn’t score, the unit generated another turnover and bailed out the offence after O’Brien’s first pick, sacking Collaros to push the Ticats out of FG range. Technically the defence only gave up 13 points with 14 of the Ticats 34 coming off interceptions taken to the house and 7 from a kick return.

Special teams again winded up costing Ottawa big time. As has been the case all season long, Maher punted extremely well but shanked a short FG, points that would’ve come in handy late in the game. The most glaring error was the team surrendering yet another long kick return touchdown, the 6th return touchdown given up by the Redblacks this year.

Head Coach Rick Campbell will take some flak this week for another puzzling decision. Late in the game on 3rd and 7 when down by 9, he chose to forgo the FG and instead go for the end zone. If the Redblacks kick a field goal at that point they extend the game, keep hope alive and give their offence another shot. Instead, by choosing to go for it, the game was effectively over the second the Redblacks didn’t convert that play. As has happened the past few weeks, Campbell looked like a rookie coach simply blowing an important decision late in the game. Clearly he’s still learning how to properly manage a game but as a fan it’s much more frustrating to see a coach make a mistake than a player.

Looking back, this year will be a disappointment but it’s important to remember that this was Ottawa’s 10th loss by 10 points or less this season. The Redblacks may have lost 15 games but they were almost never blown out. Thankfully their two wins came at home and it was fantastic to see the community of Ottawa embracing their new team, selling out every home game. Many of the players on the team played their last game in front of R-Nation tonight and they’ll look back on their time in the Nation’s Capital with fond memories. Next up for the Redblacks is a date with the Argos in the soulless stadium once known as the Sky Dome. Ottawa will potentially have the opportunity to knock the Argos out of playoffs and with jobs on the line you can be sure the team will bring their A game.

@RedBlackGade

P.S. Hats off to the team for rewarding loyal fans by having players literally give the shirts off their backs to fans after the game

– All images via CFL.ca, Ottawaredblacks.com and the Ottawa Citizen

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Redblacks Recap: Steel Town Frowns

By: Santino Filoso

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When in doubt, breakdance

On a windy Friday night, the Redblacks rolled into Steel Town seeking to play spoiler after being embarrassed last week in BC. Though the defence was once again back in fine form, ultimately a toothless offence and a number of penalties prevented Ottawa from getting its first win on the road. With the loss the Redblacks fall to 0-8 on the road and 2-13 on the year and ensure that they’ll be drafting first next May.

Pre-game:

– Hardcore fans braved the smog and Ticats fans to represent R-Nation deep into enemy territory; a few took advantage of an away trip package, others won a contest, and some made the trip by themselves, either way, big props to all of them

– On the heels of their worst loss of the season and one in which the offence struggled to move the ball with any consistency, the coaching staff made a number of line up changes. Wide receivers Khalil Paden (#13), Jamill Smith (#15) and Dobson Collins (#80) were replaced by Dan Buckner (#82), Carlton Mitchell (#88) and Onrea Jones (#89)

– Russ Jackson was on hand to take in the action

– In something that’s become so common it could simply be part of their pre-game ritual, Ottawa loses the coin toss

1st Quarter:

– Ottawa kicks off and Antoine “The Phenom” Pruneau (#6) quickly makes his presence felt with a special teams tackle

– The Redblacks give up a ton of yards on the Ticats’ opening drive but eventually force them to settle for a 22 yard FG

– Roy Finch (#19) loses a yard on a pitch and a pass intended for Marter (Matt Carter #85) falls incomplete as the Redblacks go two and out to start the game

– Strong defensive play forces a two and not quite out for the Ticats

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– On 3rd and 13 the Redblacks get caught with their pants down when the Ticats fake the punt for a huge gain. Hamilton kicker Justin Medlock lobs a 21 yard pass that is nearly broken up by Eric Fraser (#7) but ultimately caught for a first down

– Hamilton punts for a rouge to go up 4-0

– Wallce “Boom or Bust” Miles (#84) goes offsides and drops a pass that hits him in the hands but is bailed out by Marter’s 26 yard grab

– Following two runs by Jeremiah Johnson (#27) for 9 yards, Head Coach Rick Campbell choses to punt on 3rd and 1, despite being on Hamilton’s side of the field

– Collaros shows why he’s a dual threat, beating the blitz with a quick throw and scrambling out of pressure for an 18 yard gain

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2nd Quarter:

– The Redblacks jump offside when Collaros grunts the cadence in deeper tone

– Poor tackling by Abdul Kanneh (#14) leads to a huge gain, thankfully Pruneau cleans up his mess

– Travis Brown (#43) sacks Collaros for an 11 yard loss

– Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) continues his season long domination of the Ticats, making a 25 yard catch before Finch picks up 20 on a sweep

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– Brett Maher (#3) does his best Buffalo Bills impression, pushing his 48 yard FG wide right but Ottawa still picks up a rouge to get on the board

– While covering the missed FG, Jon “Dangerbeard” Gott (#63) gets flagged for unnecessary roughness, giving Hamilton great field position

– The Ticats go two and out when Justin Capicciotti (#93) gets his 8th sack of the year

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– Following a 15 yard catch by Henry², penalties and incompletions lead to a Redblacks’ punt

– Brandyn Thompson (#25) picks off a tipped pass for his 4th interception of the year

– The offence looks a gift horse in the mouth, failing to get points off the turnover and Maher pins the Ticats at their own 6 with a coffin corner punt

– Once again, Hamilton goes two and out

– Henry Burris (#1) gets brought down twice as the Ticats get back to back sacks

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– Collaros leads a perfect two minute drill, stringing together a series of short passes and running when necessary to move Hamilton into position for a 26 yard FG to end the half

– 7-1 for the bad guys after 30 min

Half-time:

Ottawa legend and former Rough Rider Gerry Organ sums up the first half of play

As Shakira said, stats don’t lie

3rd Quarter:

– The Redblacks receive and move the chains a few times thanks to catches from Marter, Patrick Lavoie (#81) and Onrea Jones (#89) but the drive bogs down when Burris is stripped while scrambling, lucky Ottawa recovers to punt

– On 2nd and 15, Pruneau gets his 2nd sack of the year which leads to points when the Ticats chose to concede a safety rather than punt into the wind from the shadow of their goalposts

– The offence appears to click as Johnson rumbles for gains for 5 and 4 yards, Miles makes back to back catches for 5 and 21 yards, and Henry² hauls in a 7 yard pass 

– A breakdown in communication leads to a sack and following Marter’s 12 yard catch, Maher’s 38 yard FG clangs off the upright, denying Ottawa even a rouge

– A fake WR reverse is snuffed out when Capicciotti levels the wideout and Kalonji Kashama (#97) drags down Collaros for his first career CFL sack

– Mitchell gets mugged at the Ticat’s 20 and a 49 yard pass interference call gives Ottawa it’s biggest gain of the night

– Maher proves that the third time’s a charm finally putting a 28 yard FG through the uprights

– Ticat’s RB Terrell Sinkfield busts a 47 run on a visibly tired defence, Jasper Simmons (#31) prevents a score, pushing him out at Ottawa’s 9 yard line

4th Quarter:

– Eluding a charging Keith “I Like Hittin’ People” Shologan (#74), Collaros escapes heavy pressure and tosses an 8 yard TD

– Finch allows the ensuing kick off to roll through the end zone for a rouge

– Two incompletions = another two and out for the Redblacks

– Hamilton moves the chains once before the defence flexes it’s muscles and forces Medlock to punt

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Pruneau breaks up the pass

– A short run, a false start flag and a pass high and behind Mitchell means Maher crushes another punt

– Ticats extend their lead to 10 with their 3rd rouge of the night

– Henry²’s 15 yard catch is followed up by two straight incompletions, yet again Ottawa is forced to punt

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– The Ticats WRs catch a bad case of the Redblacks, with back to back drops

– Wanting to prove that anything Maher can do he can do better, Medlock’s 36 yard FG dings off the same goalpost

– Finch runs for 8 yards on first down but Burris’ 2nd down pass falls incomplete

– Down 10 points with 3 minutes left, HC Rick Campbell decides not to go for it and punts the ball proving that he failed Football 101

– On the punt Fraser inexplicably gets called for blocking in the back despite the fact that he was racing down the field to make a tackle

Sometimes you need to laugh so you don't cry
Sometimes you need to laugh so you don’t cry

– Hamilton pounds the rock and grinds the clock out to win the game

Final score: 16-6

Key Stats:

Burris went 14 of 27 for 160 yards

Johnson had 7 carries for 23 yards

Henry² made 4 catches for 62 yards

Pruneau had 10 tackles and a sack

Maher made 1 of 3 FG attempts and punted 10 times for 394 yards

Closing Thoughts:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Poor play calling, dropped passes, and too many flags led directly to another Redblacks’ loss. On a night when the defence bounced back from a tough outing in BC, the Redblacks offensive drought continued. Henry Burris struggled all night, over- or under-throwing receivers, and on those times when he did hit them right in the numbers, more often than not his passes were dropped. Burris isn’t getting any help from his offensive line or OC, but he’s clearly not getting it done at QB. In his infinite wisdom, Mike Gibson once again chose to ignore the run game, handing the ball off 10 times during the course of the game. Going back to last game that’s 19 rushing attempts against two of the stronger defences in the league. Talk about setting yourself up for failure. Other than Henry², the rest of Ottawa’s receivers struggled to hang onto the ball and make an impact on the game, though Matt Carter did have his best outing since Week 8. Wallace Miles continued to show big play potential yet drop the easy ones. New additions Buckner, Jones and Mitchell were simply non factors mustering 3 catches for 6 yards between themselves. The offensive line struggled to both open up holes for the running game and to give Burris time to set his feet. It also probably didn’t help that Ottawa kept trying to run deep routes instead of the short quick passing attack employed so successfully by the Ticats. Simply put, our offence was offensive. Offensive co-ordinator Mike Gibson showed zero creativity all night, calling no play-action, no boot legs, no roll outs and no screens. At this point you’d have to assume he’s gone for sure at the end of the season.

If there was one positive to take from this loss it’s that last week’s blowout loss in BC was an anomaly for our defence, they bounced back in a big way after being thrashed by the Lions. Despite being on the field for the majority of the game the defence limited the Ticats to a single touchdown, two field goals and three rouges; on most nights that’s good enough to win. The defence even chipped in on the scoreboard, picking up a safety to go along with four sacks and an interception. Rookie sensation Antoine Pruneau led the way for an aggressive blitz heavy defence and was constantly around the ball, racking up 10 tackles and a sack. The pressure brought by the Redblacks’ all-Canadian defensive line helped ease the burden on the secondary who limited the Ticats to just 171 yards passing. As to be expected, the defence wore down a bit as the game went on, which is only normal considering how long they were on the field.

It was not a bright night for Ottawa’s special teams, as Maher missed two field goals and the Redblacks were caught napping on a 3rd and 13 when the Ticats faked a punt for a first down. Flags were a major issue and Ottawa’s undisciplined play repeatedly gave the Ticats great field position.

With Ottawa’s playoff hopes dead and the team simply playing for respect, Rick Campbell’s decision to punt the ball down 10 points on 3rd and 2 near midfield with 3 minutes left in the game is simply appalling. Your team is 2-12; Who cares if you lose 23-6 or 16-6? You have to show that you’re playing to win and be aggressive. Instead, by punting, Campbell looks like he’s more concerned with keeping the score respectable. Is that the message he wants to send to players, that it’s okay to lose as long as the game was close? His decision to punt the ball is even more shocking when you consider that the Redblacks had no timeouts left due to a horrible challenge that was doomed to fail.

Next up for the Redblacks is a home date with the Montreal Alouettes, where Ottawa will once again have a chance to play spoiler and throw a monkey wrench in another team’s playoff hopes. R-Nation has sold out seven straight games at TD Place and hopefully that trend continues next Friday night. For some strange reason the game starts at 6:30 so make sure you arrive nice and early.

@RedBlackGade

– All images via CFL.ca and the Ottawa Sun

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

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2nd Quarter:

– Burris connects with Henry² for a 19 yard TD

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

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– 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