Redblacks lay an egg against Alouettes

So much for all that bye week rest eh? Fresh off a 13 day break, the Ottawa Redblacks played an uninspired game in front of the largest regular season crowd in team history (24,907). Appearing listless at times, the Redblacks were dominated in every aspect of the game by a hungry Montreal team. Here are my thoughts on the blowout loss.

1) It’s the elephant in the room, so let’s address it first. Duron Carter did indeed suit up for the Alouettes, two days after having his appeal with an arbiter in Montreal. Though he inspired some awesome fan made signs, Carter did more than enough to silence R-Nation’s boos with 5 catches for 126 yards and 2 TDs, Although he was not the reason the Ottawa lost, Carter came up with momentum swinging catches when called upon. While R-Nation is justifiably angry about his 67 yard TD pass in the 2nd quarter (and more on that later), his 2nd TD pass of the night was a thing of beauty. The only thing that I find baffling about the entire Carter situation is that the CFL and arbiter had 48 days from when Carter ran into Rick Campbell to decide if they were suspending him. Why push the hearing all the way back to the game before Ottawa, only to still delay in either lifting or upholding the suspension?

2) 21/31 for 322 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT isn’t a terrible stat line by any stretch, but that won’t do much to stop the QB controversy raging amongst fans and media in the nation’s capital. While Henry Burris was far from perfect, he didn’t get much help for his teammates or offensive co-ordinator. Considering that his offensive line did their best swiss cheese impression all game long, it’s miraculous that Burris still managed to complete 67% of his passes and hit seven different receivers. In my opinion, Burris didn’t lose the starting QB position with this performance, but he did waste a golden opportunity to shut the door on all the talk about the team needing to make a change. What I’d like to ask those clamouring for Trevor Harris is, do you honestly think he’d have done any better last night behind that offensive line?

3) As for the offensive co-ordinator, Jamie Elizondo’s play calling continues to be erratic. Elizondo called 6 running plays all night long compared to 37 pass attempts. That’s unacceptable, even if Ottawa was trailing for the majority of the game. On a night when his offensive line couldn’t pass block, Elizondo failed to take some heat off his QB by pounding the ball. At half-time the Redblacks trailed by a single touchdown yet in the second half, Ottawa called just one running play and put up a whopping 3 points over the last 30 minutes of the game. Overall, the offence went two and out 8 times, mustered 351 yards (6.4 yards per play) and turned the ball over six times (two fumbles, an interception and three turnovers on downs)

Montreal Alouettes' Chip Cox (11) celebrates his team's turnover against the Ottawa Redblacks late in second half CFL action on Friday, Aug. 19, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Montreal Alouettes’ Chip Cox (11) celebrates his team’s turnover against the Ottawa Redblacks late in second half CFL action on Friday, Aug. 19, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

4) There’s no polite way to say this, so I’ll be blunt. The Redblacks offensive line was terrible. While the final tally was 7 sacks conceded, the reality is that Burris was under siege nearly every time he dropped back to pass. Guards Jason Lauzon-Séguin and Alex Mateas really struggled, which in turn allowed Montreal to collapse the pocket with ease. J’Michael Deane’s veteran presence was sorely missed and the sooner the injured Nolan MacMillan returns from a broken wrist, the better.

5) Ernest Jackson continues to be Ottawa’s most reliable receiver. On a night when Greg Ellingson didn’t manage a catch (though to be fair he was only targeted twice), Jackson picked up the slack, finishing with 7 receptions for 120 yards and a TD. While many will focus on his 48 yard Hail Mary catch, to me, the most impressive aspect of Jackson’s game last night was the 71 YAC (yards after catch) he racked up. As for the other receivers, both Brad Sinopoli and Chris Williams had uncharacteristic drive killing drops but still combined for 11 receptions and 137 yards. As for Khalil Paden, he turned his two targets into 39 and 10 yard catches.

6) The decision to attempt a fake FG on 3rd and 4 was baffling. It was the opening drive of the game and the offence looked crisp in marching the ball down to Montreal’s 32 yard line. It wasn’t throwing a pass to your defensive tackle kind of bad, but it wasn’t a well executed fake by any means. Ultimately, the three points wouldn’t have been a difference in the blowout loss, but getting stuffed and coming away with no points immediately gave Montreal a boost.

7) Ottawa’s defence did a decent job against the run, holding Montreal to 62 yards on the ground. They also managed to take down the QB 5 times. But that’s where the positives end. Not only did Ottawa give up a season high 43 points, they also allowed 5 TD passes, nearly doubling the 7 they’d allowed up to this point in the season. Kevin Glenn shredded the Redblacks’ secondary, completing 83% of his passes and ended the night with only five completions to go along with his 382 yards and 5 TDs. Time after time, Ottawa failed to get a stop on 2nd down, allowing Montreal to convert 14/22 second downs. The defence also failed to adapt and was repeatedly burned by a simple slant pattern across the middle of the field. Nik Lewis in particular feasted on the route, hauling 8 passes for 102 yards and a TD. 68 of Lewis’ 102 yards came after contact as he ran through weak arm tackles with ease. LB Antoine Pruneau often found himself matched up with Lewis but struggled to bring him to the ground. Pruneau wasn’t the only Redblack missing tackles though, as many in the secondary were guilty of not wrapping up.

8) The 13 penalties called on the Redblacks were all deserved, but the (non) call that will stick with fans is Duron Carter’s first touchdown of the game. On the play, Carter grabbed DB Abdul Kanneh’s facemask, pulled him to the turf with it, ran down the field and was spotted all alone by Glenn, who hit him in stride for a 67 yard TD strike. Head Coach Rick Campbell challenged the play for offensive pass interference, but whoever runs the CFL Command Centre decided that Carter did nothing wrong. Mind boggling.

9) Former Redblack Jovon Johnson had a very solid game for Montreal, making 5 tackles and sacking Burris once. Kyries Hebert, the last ex-Ottawa Renegade in the league, also had a strong game, posting an identical stat line.

10) Days after the announcement of his jersey retirement, it was cool to see Alfie at TD Place. The cross promoting of Sens at Redblacks games makes me wonder if its all leading up to an outdoor game at Lansdowne next winter.

11) Stefan Logan carved up Ottawa’s cover units. His 8 returns went for 198 yards, which works out to an average of 24.7 yards per return, talk about flipping field position. As for the rest of Ottawa’s special teams, Tristan Jackson showed why he’s Ottawa’s best returner, averaging 19.9 yards per kick return. In terms of the kicking game, Zach Medeiros had a heck of a night, averaging 48 yards per kick (though when you factor in Logan’s return, field position barely moved). Chris Milo made both FGs he attempted but shanked a convert.

12) As a result of the loss, things in the East division suddenly become a whole lot more interesting, with first and last place separated by just three points. Should make for exciting football down the back stretch of the season.

13) Did the Redblacks look past Montreal with an eye on their next opponent? On Thursday night, the BC Lions head to TD Place for a game that now features two teams coming off blowout losses. BC has been tough on the road all season long and with Jonathan Jennings’ high powered arm and that fierce defence, the Redblacks will have to be at their best if they want to get back into the win column.

Santino Filoso

Santino Filoso

Born and raised in the 613, Santino has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know.)
Santino Filoso
Santino Filoso
About Santino Filoso (219 Articles)
Born and raised in the 613, Santino has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know.)

16 Comments on Redblacks lay an egg against Alouettes

  1. The Command Centre has literally become a joke. In the Stamps-Lions game the TSN crew were joking that what ever they conclude from looking at film during a challenge, the CC will come up with the exact opposite. It happened several times.

  2. No comments regarding the awful decision on 2-and-1 to go in the shotgun? I think that’s so bad it deserves its own bullet point, or at least a mention in point #3.

  3. Yup and a big rotting sulphur smelling egg it was. Still think that a big problem with the REDBLACKS is Elinzodo’s play calling, continuing to be brutal. If he can’t get his head out of that first page in the playbook that calls screens and outs all the time, we ain’t getting to many points.

    Overall a lack luster affair from everyone, only bright spot was Jackson on the returns. Hopefully, they can but it behind them and come out with a better performance against the Lions and I agree Henry had a chance to take the bull by the colognes but missed it and I consider that he will be on a short leash. Hopefully he can get some decent protection from the O-line and have a better game.

    • Robin (from THE city) // August 22, 2016 at 8:25 am //

      But the OC doesn’t throw the interceptions. Neither does he hang onto the ball too long or fumble it. Things that Kent tried to correct and had some limited success with.

      Please note, yet again, that this was the last time you saw Bungling Burris as the starter. When he was pulled from the game, TSN showed him on the sidelines with that classic “dear in the headlights” glare.

      So that he doesn’t protest too much, you may want to buy him a brand new clipboard.

      • Enrico Della Penta // August 22, 2016 at 11:27 am //

        Done, Staples is having a big back to school sale this week. Not sure if they have REDBLACK’s ones though, but I will pick one up for him and Elizondo so that he can put page 2 of the playbook on that one and Henry can have page 3. Ok with you my pal Robin?

        Glad to see that Zach is back going to be an interesting Oct. can hardly wait.

        Your pal Enrico

        • Robin (from THE city) // August 22, 2016 at 2:40 pm //

          I don’t honestly believe that you are looking forward to seeing Zach back..

          The only disappointment I have in Burris’ benching is that he likely won’t be playing against Zach later in the season.

          Then you would see first hand who the REAL MOP should have been.

          So, when is that two tones jersey getting here??

          You keep saying that you’re my pal…come on …hurry up!!!

    • Marc Lebut // August 22, 2016 at 12:06 pm //

      Hank didn’t have that much of a bad game. His receivers let him down a few times, but moreover, he often didn’t have a play option free. The Als DBs did a great job overall cutting his options with close covers and forced him to work in the traffic. Not sure Harris would have done better.

      I was surprised to see how Elizondo’s system doesn’t seem to evolve since the season began. Thorpe bourght a solid game plan to stop this O, not conceeding the big play (only 3) and still close the options in the middle. I also was surprised to see how soon he quit running the ball. I know it wasn’t working, but you still need to run the ball to stretch the opposite D.

      I wasn’t so sure Elizondo would be able to run a good O. After all, he never did before he joined the RedBlacks. The early season seemed to prove me wrong, but now, it’s on him to show he can make that O evolve through the season. Is he rather like Maas or Bellefeuille?

      • Robin (from THE city) // August 22, 2016 at 2:31 pm //

        Excuse me…why are we blaming the OC, when Burris has claimed on national TV that HE is the reason for your success and NOT anyone else.

        Since horrible Henry wants ALL the credit when you win..then HE should take ALL the blame when you lose.

        It’s only fair.

        Obviously your head coach thinks so..he’s relegated the big mouth quarterback to clipboard detail.

        • Marc Lebut // August 23, 2016 at 10:48 am //

          Excuse me Robin, but I’m not so sure I understand. Did you say Burris claimed he was the reason for the Alouettes success?

          My guess is you believe I’m an Ottawa fan, which would explain the “your success” and “when you lose”. I’ll be clear: I’m an Alouettes fan since the late ’60s, when I could show my age with one hand.

          I don’t agree with your position. Claiming he is the reason for the RedBlacks’ success doesn’t make him automatically responsible for the loss. It dépends on what went wrong. In the last game, the problem was that the pass coverage was excellent and Burris often was without an available play option. How did the OC adjust to that, when the RedBlacks drives were stalling? Well, he didn’t. His gameplan stayed the same, he broght no change in his stratégies and played into Thorpe’s plan all game long, save a few plays. The 3 points scored in the second half show just that.

          I think the RedBlacks are better with Harris at helm. Nevertheless, in this specific game, I don’t think Harris would have done much better. Elizondo has been as outcoached than he outcoached Thorpe on June 30th.

          • Enrico Della Penta // August 23, 2016 at 1:59 pm //

            Have to agree with Mark, Elizondo lately has been out coached, he has not had much of a wiining record.

            His failure to mix up plays and respond to various situations is quite evident. Montreal played a great game and Elizondo should have adjusted but he didn’t.

            The run game was working in the first half then he dumped it. Who calls shot gun on second and short? Jamie does.

            Anyway glad to see the East teams doing well and it is going to be an interesting second half when the real season starts after Labour Day.

          • Robin (from THE city) // August 23, 2016 at 3:22 pm //

            My bad, Marc, I thought you were with that team in Ottawa.

            Thing is that if Burris wants to run his mouth that he is all that…then he better be able to back it up…which he couldn’t. In his rant, he gave no credit to anyone else. Not being fair to those around him who also made major contributions and also stole credit from those who were truly responsible.

            Normally, I would be fairer. In this case, Hank was taking credit for things he didn’t do.


          • Marc Lebut // August 25, 2016 at 11:28 am //

            No worries, Robin!

            Got your point and put like that, it makes sense too. I often said the same about Duron Carter.

  4. I agree with uncharacteristic drops by SinopolI. In William’s case that is characteristic. Half the time the man can’t catch a football unless perfectly placed and then sometimes he still can’t. Being a fast receiver isn’t much use if you don’t catch the ball. Paden or Smith are pretty quick too and they seldom drop a ball anywhere near them.

  5. Marc Lebut // August 22, 2016 at 11:56 am //

    Credit must be given to the Alouettes for a close to perfect game. I too was puzzled by this non call on Carter, but this play alone didn’t set the final score. Maybe there wasn’t any camera angle that showed conclusive evidence that Carter did face mask, but anyone knowing football understand it happened just the way Kenneh’s helmet moved.

    To be honest, the Alouettes won on all grounds, despite a succeeded Hail Mary that could have turned the tide. Alouettes weren’t so successful running, but they hardly ran. Rutley still averaged close to 6 yards per run, which isn’t bad either. Als’ O ran like clockwork. Glenn had protection and was accurate. It was clear that he’s getting more comfortable with his receivers, especially Cunninigham. Early in the game, he had already thrown to 6 different receivers. Lewis had a great game, not only converting 2nd downs, but also blocking downfield. That block on 2nd and 24 allowed Cunningham to convert. This lead to Rutley’s TD and scealed the game for the Alouettes. Als were also dominant on STs, with Logan giving the O many short fields. But the Alouettes D still played a solid game. Elizondo didn’t have a clue against Thorpe’s 3-4 patterns and didn’t find the answer throughout the game. Hats off to the Als Young DBs who ran with the very talented RedBlack’s receiving corps. Burris was sacked more often because he had no play than because the O line failed to protect him long enough. I had concerns about having Klassen on the 6 games IR and Martin gone, but Joseph and Finley did a good job backing for them. Hebert was a monster filling a hybrid role as LB/DE. Fera did a very decent job on his 2nd game and set the tone with a great TD saver tackle on the first kickoff.

    All in all, many things didn’t work for the RedBlacks, but the Alouettes did get out strong and executed a great game plan. There’s a lot of talent on this team, so this kind of games from them will happen. Not a whole season, but they can have one every few weeks.

  6. Robin (from THE city) // August 24, 2016 at 11:05 am //

    I agree, Marc, Als played a SOLID game and were completely deserving of the W.

  7. stunned by all comments 😮

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