Redblacks embarrassed at home (& 11 other thoughts on the loss)

For the second time in three weeks, the Calgary Stampeders reminded the Ottawa Redblacks they have a long way to go if they want to be considered contenders.

Fresh off a win over Montreal, the Redblacks came into the game hoping to build some momentum and prove themselves among the league’s top teams. Instead, they were thoroughly dominated in all aspects of the game and humbled at home with a 27-3 loss.

Here are all my thoughts on the game:

1) Trevor Harris’ roller-coaster season continues. In Week One he was sharp, completing 72% of his passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns. Week Two was the worst performance of his career and Week Three brought out another 300-plus yard game and three touchdowns.  Against the Stampeders, Harris was brutal. There’s simply no other way to describe the play of a quarterback who went 4/9 for 17 yards and two interceptions in the game’s opening 30 minutes. Although he finally managed to lead a scoring drive to start the second half, despite going 10/13 for 76 yards, Harris’ other three drives led to no points.

Even if Harris has looked out of sync at times this season, it’s worth bearing in mind that his struggles have only come against one team, Calgary. A team that has literally shutdown everyone so far this CFL season.

Still, the fact that Harris continues to throw off his back foot and at times and looks like he’s in a rush to get rid of the ball is troubling. Throw in a handful of bad reads, some ill-advised throws and plain bad luck, and you’ve got a QB that’s earned the boos raining down from the stands.

2) When your offence only manages it’s first first down of the game with 2:40 left before half-time, it’s fair to say you’ve had an awful half of play-calling. Offensive coordinator Jamie Elizondo couldn’t get anything going against a stout Stampeder defence. That Ottawa finished the game with only 150 total yards of offence is a testament to the strength of Calgary’s defence and a reflection of Elizondo simply being out-coached. The Redblacks averaged four yards per first down play, two yards per second down play and only converted 5/20 2nd down opportunities. Furthermore, the offence couldn’t cash in their single red zone opportunity, despite having a first and goal from Calgary’s one-yard line.

Although the Redblacks fell behind early, Elizondo again got away from the run, handing William Powell the ball just eight times; four per half. It must be acknowledged that an offensive coordinator is in a tough spot when his offensive line plays as poorly as Ottawa’s did, but still, Elizondo must be better going forward.

3) Speaking of the offensive line, Ottawa’s was MIA. The Redblacks’ veteran group was manhandled by a Calgary defensive line that imposed their will and controlled the line of scrimmage. Not only did they have consistent pressure on whichever quarterback was under centre, they also effectively shut down the run game, limiting Ottawa to a measly 2.7 yards per carry. Don’t be surprised to see a shuffled offensive line next week with Jason Lauzon-Séguin moving back into a starting role, likely at the expense of 2018 first round pick Mark Korte.

4) It’s time Diontae Spencer starts cashing some of those cheques his mouth keeps writing. For a guy who has no problem going on camera and stating his goals of breaking records and leading the league in various statistical categories, he needs to start producing. For the third time this season, Spencer was held to less than 30 receiving yards. On a positive note he did make his longest catch in three weeks, which came in a whopping 12 yards. On the other hand he bobbled a pass that turned into an interception and fumbled a punt return that led to a field goal. Not exactly game breaker material.

5) As for the rest of the receiving corps, the Buds (Greg Ellingson and Brad Sinopoli) turned eight targets into seven catches for 63 yards. Canadian Julian Feoli-Gudino grabbed two passes for 30 yards but no other receiver managed more than a single reception.

6) All things considered, Noel Thorpe’s defence wasn’t terrible. Despite being put into some tough situations as a result of the offence’s five turnovers (three interceptions and two fumbles), the Redblacks’ defence only allowed Calgary multiple first downs on four of sixteen drives. They also held Calgary to a 39% 2nd down conversion rate (11/28). Rico Murray and Antoine Pruneau led Ottawa’s defensive effort with seven tackles a piece. Michael Klassen and A.C. Leonard were other noticeable standouts. In his first game back after a suspension for his high hit on DaVaris Daniels, Kyries Hebert had two tackles.

When evaluating the defence’s performance, it must be kept in mind that Bo Levi Mitchell sat out the second half. While the hit that knocked him out of the game wasn’t dirty (contact was made well above Bo’s knees), there’s no denying Danny Mason came in late. With backup Nick Arbuckle under centre, the Redblacks only conceded seven points over the game’s final 30 minutes.

7) Given the offence’s struggles, punter Richie Leone had a busy night. Luckily for the Redblacks he was one of their few bright spots, hammering punt after punt. Leone’s ten punts averaged 50.7 yards per kick, and thanks to solid kick coverage (led by Nigel Romick’s three special teams tackles), the Redblacks averaged a net gain of 40.3 yards per punt.

8) The ref cam needs to be a permanent thing. Seeing the game from the ref’s point of view gives the TV audience a much better appreciation of exactly what goes on during a play. Aside from seeing what a quarterback or running back sees, the unique angle provides a close look at the fierce individual battles that take place in the trenches. If TSN wants a real ratings spike ditch the live mics and focus on ref cams.

9) Rick Campbell has forgotten more about football than I’ll ever know, but I don’t get his yo-yoing of quarterbacks. Given Harris’ struggles it was no surprise to see him yanked in the second quarter. But the decision to come back to him to start off the second half was strange. Perhaps there’s something to be said for sticking by your guy and trying to build his confidence. Another head scratcher was the decision to settle for an 11 yard field goal from 4 yard line when down 20-0. At that point why not go for it and see if you can’t give your team and the home crowd a shot in the arm?

10) In spite of a perfect summer night and a marquee opponent, the Redblacks had a rare non-sell out crowd on hand. 22,103 isn’t a poor showing by any means, but it’s certainly not what we’ve come to expect from R-Nation.

11) As ugly as this loss was, the saving grace for Ottawa is that Calgary is clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the league. After four games they are the only undefeated team in the league. Since 2016 they’re 15-2-2 against East Division opponents. And since 2005, they’re now 17-0 coming off a bye. For the Redblacks, the good thing is that their two meetings with the Stampeders are now in the books. They’ll only meet again in the Grey Cup and as Ottawa knows, in a winner take all scenario, anything can happen.

Despite the loss, the Redblacks still sit atop the East with a 2-2 record and have a week to review the game film, bury it and move on. With a feeble looking BC Lions squad coming to town next Friday, Ottawa will look to move 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 (222 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.)

63 Comments on Redblacks embarrassed at home (& 11 other thoughts on the loss)

  1. Veteran offensive line? Korte is a rookie playing out of position and Johnson is in his second year with all of maybe six CFL starts under his belt. The team’s insistence on starting four Canadian OL so they can dress Americans elsewhere was the problem last night. Korte got owned by Micah Johnson on almost every snap. You can’t run inside zone if you can’t block the interior DL and Ottawa couldn’t. The result, Powell had 8 carries for 17 yards and their QBs are under pressure all night. The best teams in the league right now are Calgary (3 American OL), Winnipeg (2 American OL) and Edm (2 American OL). Ottawa lost because their insistence on playing people who aren’t ready on their OL leaves them with a less talented team than their opponent.

  2. Dennis Prouse // July 13, 2018 at 9:36 am //

    Franco nails it perfectly – we are woefully shorthanded up front, and until that gets addressed not much else matters. I have a hard time getting too angry at Harris when he is facing inside pressure all night…

    • Paul Bomber // July 13, 2018 at 9:56 am //

      Yeap… that is the bottom line I guess. As a Bomber fan, I can sympathize: No O line? No nuthin’! (knock on wood – but that isn’t an issue here these days finally).

  3. This team was out played, out coached and out hustled! The offensive line is in serious trouble, probably the biggest factor in the game. Harris is not an elite quarterback. He is a good athlete with good skills. He cannot perform in an important or meaningful game. Just doesn’t have the “coolness” it takes to be a good cfl quarterback, and I don’t mean Bo Mitchels’s cool in that silly bandana he wears, I mean cool as in steady and unshakable. Harris cannot handle the physical and mental stress.
    When will the coaches learn that their backup quarterback cannot run 2nd or 3rd and short! Scary to Watch! Ok, enough criticism!

  4. Well said Franco.
    I’m losing confidence in our coaches and GM at this point. If we start an American at RT, where do we start the other Canadian? The lack of quality Canadian players is starting to show through.
    For a GM who always selects an OL in the first round of the draft, we certainly lack quality and depth in that department.

    • One place to start another Canadian might be at receiver. And if you don’t like the guys you have now Rob Bagg is still out there. I think he’s still capable of being a solid 4th/5th receiver. He’s a great team guy as well.

  5. Paul Bomber // July 13, 2018 at 9:48 am //

    Saving their energy for the Grey Cup? (that was ugly… lucky it was only 27-3). Harris’ accuracy was poor, but then when he did get it in there, his guys dropped passes. “Hey, you’ve shot off both my arms and right foot but you missed the left one… never mind, I’ll shoot it myself”.

  6. George Fogarty // July 13, 2018 at 9:57 am //

    Brutal game, brutal play calling, brutal OL. Calgary is the team to beat in the CFL.

    If this continues a shake up is needed. Get rid of the OC and his insistence on throwing screens and outs to the wide side all the time, maybe bench Harris for a game or two. Obviously he is a great athlete, but as people have pointed out he hangs on to the ball to long and is not a scrambler. You need a QB like Masoli who knows to run when there is no pass option.

    Also need to go middle more, enough with this airing it out, get the short slants, quick 5-6 yard passes and get those first downs and run the ball.

    Hope they can put in behind them or else its gonna be a long season for RNation.

    • Tiger man // July 13, 2018 at 1:39 pm //

      Masoli IS proving to be the better quarterback than Harris. And this is his first season as the starter.

      Harris will need to revert to clipboard duty to learn the job all over again. Considering who he has for coaches, that may never happen…

    • No need to beat Calgary just beat them for the Cup like eberyone else does.

  7. Diehardticat // July 13, 2018 at 10:02 am //

    Homer Filoso at it again. He stated that Calgary has “literally “shut down every other team in the league. Huh?!?! Hamilton was one play away from beating the Stamps. That does not equate to “shutting down “ every other team. If Bo stays in the game, the score is doubled with no reply from the Red and blacks. Secondly, Ottawa does not sit atop the east at 2-2 alone. They have company! They are tied in first with the Hamilton’s.
    Only in filosos world does that equate to Ottawa being stop the standings. And one win was a free space in the CFL bingo world versus Mtl. Gotta keep Filoso honest.

    • Tiger man // July 13, 2018 at 10:21 am //

      And you’re expecting ANY objectivity from this guy??

      They should have him pictured in a cheerleader’s outfit….

    • Well-said Diehardticat! And Filoso’s final sentence of #11 makes it sound like he’s SURE Ottawa and Calgary will meet in the GC! There are 7 other teams (well at least 5) that are going to have something to say about that!

      And Franco – good points but Hamilton also starts 2 American tackles on the OL and managed Calgary’s DL pretty well in week 1.

      • Diehardticat // July 13, 2018 at 4:39 pm //

        I left the grey cup final comment out. He has the Burris hangover on Ottawa’s right to be in the grey cup.

      • ??? … how is noting the Stamps are in the review mirror then saying “They’ll only meet again in the Grey Cup and as Ottawa knows, in a winner take all scenario, anything can happen.” sounding like he is SURE?

        It reads to me more along the lines of “should the RedBlacks get there – anything can happen”.

        The rest are good points.

    • ccamp026 // July 13, 2018 at 12:58 pm //

      “Homer Filoso”? He is the REDBLACKS beat writer, so yeah, expect him to write with an Ottawa slant. He also spent the entire article – deservedly so – going through how OTT was dominated, so not sure how you can accuse him of pumping OTT’s tires undeservedly. And for what it’s worth, he didn’t say they were atop the East alone. You’re arguing semantics and adding words in to suit your argument. It’s a bit rich calling someone a homer when you comment on a game recap about how great HAM is, when HAM was not involved in the game.

      By the way, a 14-point loss is not a single play game. CGY has shut down every team it has played, including my RB’s twice, and there’s not much more to say about it. And before you argue that OTT’s win over MTL doesn’t matter, make sure you also mention how OTT dominated a SSK team that took HAM down last week. Five days after a loss to MTL.

      Gotta keep Diehardticat honest.

      • George Fogarty // July 13, 2018 at 1:26 pm //

        Good one ccamp026. What the hell does the hypocrite homer Josh “I’m done with this bush league” Smith write about the Argos? Not.

        He writes about the Cats so I guess he’s a homer like all the rest of the writers on this site. So get over it Diehardticat and Tiger man.

        Tell yeah what maybe Clipboard Manziel can write a few articles from the sidelines for the tabbies.

        • Tiger man // July 13, 2018 at 1:35 pm //

          Josh is just down the road…your alleged writer is screwed if his satellite service goes down..then he`d have to make it up….OOOps …he`s doing that now…

        • Diehardticat // July 13, 2018 at 6:06 pm //

          You sound hangry George Fogarty? You want a snickers bar? Josh smith can read the standings properly and see that Ott and Hsm are tied in first. A subtle but arrogant statement. Holdover from hank Burris “I am the league” days. Josh is very critical of Hamilton and has not and will not make assumptions that Ottawa is a lock in the east. Filoso predicted a tie Lol This means that he will always pick Ottawa to win because he claims that Calgary is the class of the league. You watch the picks coming up. Josh will not pick hamilton to win every game Mark my words. Eat up!

          • George Fogarty // July 13, 2018 at 8:10 pm //

            Josh who called this league “a bush league and he was done with” to years ago, that Josh. Yeah ok, can’t wait for his next X-men / CFL players piece should be a beauty.

      • Double Blue // July 13, 2018 at 1:27 pm //

        Uh, Homer Filoso predicted a tie!… Laughable

        Isn’t he in Brazil? How’d they fare at the World Cup?

      • Diehardticat // July 13, 2018 at 4:51 pm //

        This is not the first time Filoso has stretched the truth and come across in a biased way. I have tracked his weekly picks and he overwhelmingly picks Ott to win most games. He picked ott to tie Calgary last night. He did chew up the Redblacks accurately, I agree. However, he did make the general comment about how Calgary has dominated every team they have played. Is this truth camp? Clearly, you would not know because you did not watch that game. If you did, you would have known that Masoli through an interception when they were moving in to score and take the lead. Calgary came back and scored a TD in garbage time when the game result was a done deal. I did not say the cats were great, simply disagreeing that Calgary dominated them. If you critically read his words, you will see what many of us already know. Semantics aside, when one says that a team “sits atop” the standings, the implication is made that they are alone at the top. Not true. A homer stretch that reeks of arrogance. And yes, cats coughed up s hairball in sask. and all games matter, some are supposedly easier than others.

        • ccamp026 // July 16, 2018 at 2:04 pm //

          The OTT-CGY score prediction I assume was a bit tongue in cheek, considering how often those two tie in Ottawa. RE: Filoso’s bias, I tend to give hometown reporters the benefit of the doubt when covering their own teams, but that’s personal preference.

          FWIW, I agree CGY did not dominate HAM – I did in fact watch the game. What I’ll stand by though is that CGY, from a defensive point of view, shut down HAM (and OTT both games). HAM and OTT (in their first game) likewise shut down CGY, with the difference in both games being a play or two. End of the day though, a loss is a loss, and what frustrates me from an OTT perspective is how a lot of the issues seemed to be self-inflicted. Maybe that’s the sign of a great defense.

          It appears one thing we can agree on is that CGY has been the team to beat so far this regular season. Until they win that GC though, it’ll always be with an asterix.

    • BigRedMachine // July 13, 2018 at 1:46 pm //

      Cats were definitely a handful for the Stamps to handle on the first game of the season but just as you think the Cats are ready to become an elite team they go and lose to the Riders who in turn got embarrassed by Ottawa. I guess that’s why they play the games…

      • Diehardticat // July 13, 2018 at 4:53 pm //

        Completely agree big red machine. But, according to filiso, Ottawa is going to the grey cup. Already decided. Lol

  8. Ottawa should be proud.
    It’s inevitable that Calgary would lay a lickin on them at some point. Up until last night Calgary hadn’t paid particularly well there.

  9. Tiger man // July 13, 2018 at 10:19 am //

    And those of us watching from afar knew what the two tones actually were all along…their performance confirmed it last night….

    Not a very good football team…with an overhyped quarterback…

    • Paul Bomber // July 13, 2018 at 10:27 am //

      Surely you haven’t forgotten this is the CFL: Any team on any day, right?
      And comments above about the O’Line make sense… Harris didn’t have a bad game all by himself.

    • George Fogarty // July 13, 2018 at 10:52 am //

      Like the pussy cats with Manziel.

  10. Anyone else notice Rick Campbell calling the plays the second half?
    Love your articles. Keep up the great work.

  11. One thing that’s easy to agree on–the Ref cam is a great idea! Much more of that and no need for the Live Mic stuff…do I really need to hear a quarterback yelling out “Tuesday!” and “Parakeet!” (amongst other things) play after play…?!? (Doesn’t exactly add much to one’s understanding of the game, unless it’s explained…)

    • @ Heathers eams have code words for each play, for their motions and also for their cadence even. They help them with the execution of their tempo or no huddle offence. You won’t here 34 Lead anymore mostly because no one runs 34 Lead. Plays are conceptual now and the words stand for the concepts they are running. Given the 20 seconds you have to put the ball in play, the less verbiage you have to call a play, the better.

    • Red&White Forever // July 13, 2018 at 5:46 pm //

      Agreed. The only people who seem to be drooling over it is the former players, especially on the panel. I could care less if I heard “F**k Bieber” yelled repeatedly again. I had to turn off the sound because my kids were watching.

  12. mr62cats // July 13, 2018 at 11:34 am //

    Good analysis. An an aside, I agree totally with your suggestion to keep the ref’s hat camera on for the whole game and ditching the live mic!

  13. No worries redblack fans , your team could lose 10 in a row and still be in contention for the division

  14. Al Pearson // July 13, 2018 at 12:09 pm //

    Well I guess all the naysayers are here but an O line only gets experience by playing. On the other hand the OC appears to be a problem especially as he doesn’t seem to realize that film was available to Calgary. I believe Harris is injured and the other two just aren’t ready . A few more games and we will know.

  15. lol
    Is this what we are going to listen to all season? Calgary keeps winning, we pull further ahead and cruise to that home Western Final again. Are we just going to here predictions of another Grey Cup loss?
    Is that all you got?
    Why not give this team a little praise. They deserve it.
    It just shows the fear and jealously you all have for this team.

  16. I think far too many people start freaking out about their team this early in the season. Truthfully folks the 1st 6 games are to work out the major issues. Lots of teams have not done well in the first 6 yet end up winning the Grey Cup.
    While other teams that cruse through the first six find that the wins masked some of the issues they have to figure out later in the season.
    As bad as some teams look right now. I certainly wouldn’t count them out. Take a chill pill and let the season unfold.

    • MR. Green // July 13, 2018 at 2:28 pm //

      100% true. BC a few years back started 0-5, people wrote them off. They went on to win the Grey Cup that season.

  17. Anthony Kaduck // July 13, 2018 at 1:04 pm //

    Amid the obvious negatives there are two positive takeaways for the RB fans. The D played well and they played hard until the last whistle, despite having been on the field for what seemed like 40 minutes. And the teams were pretty good. Good punting, good coverage and decent returns.

    • Dennis Prouse // July 13, 2018 at 1:13 pm //

      Good points, Anthony – I thought that the D looked good as well given that they were left on the field all night.I thought that Purifoy and AC Leonard in particular had strong nights. And yes, punting and punt cover was very good, given how many times they had to do it. The issue here is clear – the need for improved offensive line play. I wonder if Pete Dyakowski has kept himself in shape?

  18. Totally agree with the comments re. The O line. Why in the world do they continue to play Korte, in particular given he was eaten alive in Calgary. Let the kid develop! But it wasn’t just him….Jon Gott is done…..a human turnstile. Bottom line is that this team needs to start 3 Americans on the O line if necessary. As it stands, the O line is not tough enough, not experienced enough and simply just not good enough. When will Campbell realize games are won and lost in the trenches and that you can’t “hide” Weak Canadians on the O line. As for where the Canadian starters would come from if additional imports are playing O line, Fioli Gudino and Hartley would be at least as productive as Thomas and Harris. Hell remove Spencer from receiver – he seems to have forgotten how to catch a football -and use him on returns only…..also, might as well start two Canadian DTs…..Wakefield seems to only show up against doormats like MTL. And just in case Desjardins and Campbell haven’t got the message yet……GAMES ARE WON AND LOST IN THE TRENCHES! It’s wonderful that the team has nice young Canadian O lineman…..only one problem…THEY CANT PLAY! Needs to be fixed before Harris confidence is completely lost or he ends up gone for the season. All in all, an embarrassing, disgraceful display last night. The team didn’t bother to show up and got were beaten up.

  19. Excellent summary and as far as the attendance, I wonder if this will become the new normal as the honeymoon period ends for the team and stadium.

    • Garcia98 // July 13, 2018 at 2:08 pm //

      Good comment about the attendance. Attendance totals out here in Calgary can be an easy target for commenters on this website but it appears that this is a growing issue across the league. Even Edmonton and Winnipeg don’t seem to draw as well as a few years ago. At this rate, within a couple years a crowd of 20,000 for any team will unfortunately be considered good.

      • league is slowly losing fans again across the board cept in sask land, sometimes we need to understand and lean on them why they are so successful in the market and why we are not.

  20. Double Blue // July 13, 2018 at 1:28 pm //

    Uh, Homer Filoso predicted a tie!… Laughable

  21. Anthony Kaduck // July 13, 2018 at 1:36 pm //

    Dennis, you put your finger on it. Nothing will sink a team faster than a poor performance from their O line.
    Just ask Montreal. BTW I just checked the stats. The Ottawa D was on the field for 37:30. It’s a testament to them that they kept playing to win.

  22. bill dehoog // July 13, 2018 at 1:39 pm //

    Let’s not get too negative.2 big problems last night..offensive line and OC Jamie E play calling. I am sure you will see a big bounce back next week. It is only 1 game, disappointing for sure. Time to regroup for next week

    • MR. Green // July 13, 2018 at 2:32 pm //

      I said the same thing last night. Everyone will have bad games. In the end no one will remember this game, especially when the olayiffs start. Just gotta finish in the top 6. After that, anything can happen.

  23. i dont think calgary played that good, ottawa just didnt show up. end of story.

  24. sit atop the East? Not so much

  25. To summarize…it wasn’t about who won or lost or the score. Only one team can win, and no doubt the Redblacks were outclassed by a much better team. However the lack of heart, effort, fight and caring offered by the Redblacks, offense in particular, is what has most fans pissed. Yes, talent is an issue and something that needs to be somehow addressed. But the lack of character and leadership is far more disappointing. It explains why this team plays so poorly more often than not at TD Place. I’m sure the offensive players were all MVPs picking up their cheques and rushing to the bank today.

  26. The Stampeders put on a clinic in every aspect of the game

  27. Bo Levi sucks
    Simoni you know what you have to do.
    Stampeders r brutal

  28. Remember the outrage in Bytown when Lawrence hit Burris… ABOVE the knee, and outside the pocket [msd ducks 😉 ]

    Still far too early to say who’s going to be a who’s who in either division, though those who have proved they can win both ugly and pretty (i.e., the Stamps) have a leg up on that list.

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