Redblacks fail to overcome injuries and missed calls

Well, so much for an undefeated season. After heading into Regina as the lone team in the CFL without a loss, the Redblacks leave Saskatchewan with their first defeat of the season, three more injuries and a massive question mark at QB. Here are my thoughts on the game:

– Injury wise, 2016 has been an incredibly unlucky year for the Redblacks. With 12 players already on the 6-game injured list, watching Trevor Harris get sacked, twisted to the turf and hurt was enough to make every member of R-Nation simultaneously sick and bang their heads in frustration against the wall. While Harris did walk off the field on his own and though he wasn’t immediately on crutches as he watched the remainder of the game from the sidelines, that may be more of a testament to his toughness rather than the severity of his injury.

– After being thrust into an incredibly tough spot, I thought Brock Jensen more than held his own. By going 20/29 (69%) for 271 yards and 2 TDs, Jensen ensured that his team had a chance and avoided turning the ball over. Some may nitpick over a couple of wobbly incompletions, but the reality is that overall, Jensen played well. In my eyes, the only unforgivable play was failing to throw the ball on 3rd and 15 with the game on the line. A QB always has to give his team a chance with the game on the line, and with the receivers Ottawa boasts, that ball simply HAS to be thrown. On the other hand, the game was arguably over the series before when the Redblacks marched down to Saskatchewan’s 8 yard line but failed to punch the ball into the end zone.

Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Brock Jensen looks for a receiver after replacing quarterback Trevor Harris during first half CFL action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina on Friday, July 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Brock Jensen looks for a receiver after replacing quarterback Trevor Harris during first half CFL action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina on Friday, July 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

– Speaking of receivers, at half-time last night Brad Sinopoli had 5 catches for 156 yards and 2 TDs, but he may as well have not played the second half because those stats didn’t change. Whether that was due to a combination of GREENWHITE adjustments, Jensen looking elsewhere or Elizondo’s play calling, it’s hard to reconcile Sinopoli going from being unstoppable in the first half, to invisible in the second half. Aside from Ernest Jackson’s 49 yards, no other receiver on the team finished with more than 21 yards. Heading into the game much was made of Chris Williams and though Jensen did occasionally try to hit him with the deep ball, Williams’ 4 targets resulted in a grand total of 1 catch for 14 yards.

Ottawa Redblacks wide receiver Brad Sinopoli runs in a touchdown during first half CFL action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina on Friday, July 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Ottawa Redblacks wide receiver Brad Sinopoli runs in a touchdown during first half CFL action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina on Friday, July 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

– OC Jamie Elizondo had a Jekyll and Hyde game with his play calling. Obviously losing Harris on the first offensive series threw a massive wrench into the game plan but Elizondo initially responded well, calling high percentage passes that allowed Jensen to get a feel for the game and slowly build his confidence. When Ottawa received the ball with 28 seconds left in the first half, many (myself included), figured the Redblacks would simply take a knee and kill the clock. Instead, Jensen came out slinging and Ottawa managed to move into FG range to score again before the half. But, in the second half, the offence struggled to sustain drives as the play calling became predictable and conservative, with more runs and short screens than passes that stretched the field. Elizondo’s unit finished the night with 367 yards of offence, averaging 6.1 yards per play.

– Zack. Beastmode. Evans. The Regina native dominated the line of scrimmage all night long, making 6 tackles, racking up 3 sacks and knocking down a pass. Evans seemed to find another gear vs his former team and hopefully will carry over last night’s performance into future games.

– Losing DE Arnaud Gascon-Nadon to what looked like a knee injury sucked, but losing him because he returned a short squib kickoff sucked even more. Thankfully, Andrew Marshall stepped in and played lights out, knocking down two passes, sacking Gale, forcing a fumble and generally playing stout against the run. Another positive the Redblacks can take away from the game is that DE Aston Whiteside continues to round into form after last season’s knee injury. Whiteside always seemed to be around the ball and though he didn’t register a sack, he did knock down a couple of passes.

– Rounding out the trio of injuries that Redblacks sustained last night was DB Abdul Kanneh. I missed when or how he got hurt but Kanneh missed every series in the second half minus Saskatchewan’s final game winning drive. I’m all for a player toughing out an injury but if Kanneh was too badly injured and needed to sit out the entire 3rd and almost all of the 4th quarter, why was he in for the final series?

– Last night’s game was a back and forth affair that featured numerous lead changes and exciting big plays, in other words, all the best aspects of the Canadian game. Yet at the same time, it was also a game that showcased the major ugly flaw that plagues the CFL; it’s officiating. Ottawa was flagged 14 times to Saskatchewan’s 6.

– Here’s a look at some of the brutal calls that stood out from Ottawa’s perspective. First, there was the DPI on Jerrell Gavins with two minutes left in the first half. Saskatchewan’s receiver ran into and stiff armed Gavins, who fell. If that kind of chintzy call is DPI, then every CFL coach should tell their receivers to run into DBs every single play because it would be constant automatic first downs.  Secondly and perhaps more importantly since it was two calls which directly impacted the outcome of the game, was the DPI call on Kanneh and the non-DPI call on Williams. I have no idea how Al Bradbury and his entire crew missed the interference on Williams. It was so blatant and obvious that you have to have had your eyes closed to miss it. Buddy Jackson isn’t even looking back at the ball, has his arms all over Williams and impedes his route. As for the flag on Kanneh, last time I checked a ball had to be catchable for there to be interference and Gale overthrew Naaman Roosevelt by a mile.

https://twitter.com/FailedProtostar/status/756704892299931648

– Lastly, there are those who will point to the helmet to helmet hits that went opposite ways for Saskatchewan and Ottawa. I’d argue that the only slight difference is that Evans helmet hit Gale at the exact same moment that his chest did, so he was not leading purely with his head, whereas Leonard’s helmet was the only thing that made contact with Jensen. But to be completely honest, I didn’t like either of the calls.

– After making a cool 91% of his kicks last season, Chris Milo now has misses in three consecutive games and has made 15/20 FGs on the year (75%). In this game, Milo missed a kick and had another FG attempt blocked. It goes without saying that in a one point loss, his kicking could have been the difference. It wasn’t like Milo struggled in isolation though, as the entire special teams unit played another poor game. While the fake Zack Medeiros punt was executed perfectly, he also had a punt blocked that was returned for a TD. Again, in a one point loss, if special teams were simply average, Ottawa would have won the game.

– Despite the loss, R-Nation needs to take a deep breath and avoid hitting the panic button. The reality is that their 3rd string QB stepped off the bench and conducted himself extremely well in what may be the toughest stadium to play at in the league. The defence generated 4 sacks, held Saskatchewan to just 38 yards on the ground and forced 2 fumbles. Even if Harris is out long term, Burris will soon be healthy and back under centre. So much for all that pre-mature talk of a QB controversy eh?

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
Facebooktwitterredditmail
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.)

31 Comments on Redblacks fail to overcome injuries and missed calls

  1. Wow. No homerism here at all. Blame the refs! Calls missed both ways.

    • George Fogarty // July 23, 2016 at 4:35 pm //

      Uh what should he write about TimO, the Philadelphia Eagles?
      Give me a break he is writing about the Redblacks, just like other writers on this site write about their respective teams, but hey thanks for reading.

  2. Agree that too many penalties/delays is a blight on the CFL. I’m not convinced so many calls should be challengeable as it delays the game. What bothers me the most though is the ‘unsportsmanlike or disreputable behaviour calls’. There was one last night, late in the 4th, when the Riders DB broke up a pass and made the incomplete motion with with his arms. He was then flagged. That literally turns football upside down; instead of a good defensive play resulting in the RedBlacks facing a second and long it ended being a first down.

    • Robin (from THE city) // July 24, 2016 at 6:49 am //

      Those kind of penalties are purely selfish. The player should be thinking of the team and the game first, not the grandstanding.

      He knows the refs won`t tolerate this behaviour, but he does it anyway. He has 11 other guys playing too. Perhaps, what a teammate did on the play allowed him to be successful.

      These guys slay me. They`ll make some great gesture after they have a decent play, get a penalty or get beat a little later and cost their team a win. Suddenly, the “look at me” attitude is gone and they’re scouring for some place to hide on the sidelines.

      As a wise old sage once said, play like you`ve been here before…or something like that.

  3. I can see the frustration with missed calls but at this point I’d rather they miss calls and let the players decide games than the stripes. What’s worse is challenges that are being called and overturned by the war room. Even with video they still can’t get it right or be consistent. Look at the two PI calls that Winnipeg got on O’shea challenges against Hamilton. Both continued plays and lead to points. Players have no idea what is and isn’t PI anymore and I’m pretty sure by watching most of the games this year that the officials don’t either!

  4. Yes there was missed calls both ways, but Ref#18 (Pierre Laporte) made two big decisions late in the game that had a direct effect on the outcome. It’s too bad but, the DPI on Kanneh and the non DPI call on Williams were both his calls. Both plays were 2nd and long, and one put one team into FG range the other would have. As one Saskatchewan fan put it, the non call was 3 times worst then the call he did make. In my opinion, he let the crowd intimidate him (just my opinion).

    • BlackDog // July 23, 2016 at 1:40 pm //

      Interesting, didn’t know it was Laporte. He’s from Ottawa. Makes you think maybe he didn’t want to seem biased?

  5. Officiating is always going to be a hot topic of discussion in a game that is very close as this one was. Fact is RBs were NOT going to remain undefeated forever and the Riders under Jones are a much better team than the 2015 version. It was just a matter of time until the OTTRBs fell off their horse and Saskatchewan managed their first win. Welcome to reality!

  6. Well written and very true.

  7. I missed the game — didn’t Campbell challenge the non-call on Williams? Or was he out of timeouts?

    Very unfortunate that Harris got injured, and hopefully it’s not too serious. While I’m not a RedBlack fan (lifetime Ticats supporter here) it’s never a good thing for the league or the fans who enjoy the CFL when a great player like that is lost. Good luck to him on a positive prognosis and speedy return.

    • msd, he was out of challenges after challenging the Kanneh DPI that was upheld as DPI. To add to my post from earlier as a big CFL fan, all I want to see from officiating is consistency. And BTW, I. PVR’d the game and re-watched both plays numerous times. As cheesy as DPI has become in the CFL, both plays were definitely DPI as per the ways things are presently called.

    • CBfarmer // July 24, 2016 at 9:23 am //

      I think he had used up his challenges.

  8. Robin (from THE city) // July 24, 2016 at 6:38 am //

    Let`s see. You now have your starter and his backup on the sidelines and you`re down to your third string quarterback.

    Welcome to the Tiger cats world of last season.

    Let the excuses flow….Ooops, they already have.

    • Enrico Della penta // July 24, 2016 at 8:27 am //

      Ah there you are. I was wondering were you had gone. So glad your back. You must be gloating today with your big victory and come back with your second stringer. Good job tabbies. Please don’t worry about my beloved Redbacks as Jensen put up respectable numbers for never taking a quarter in a game. No excuses here pal they’ll bounce back and will be fine. Your pal Enrico.

      • Robin (from THE city) // July 25, 2016 at 8:50 am //

        No, I’m not gloating. I’m not a two tone supporter.

        I am proud of the Tiger cats’ comeback in the second half. To be honest, I was very concerned at half time and more so into the third quarter.

        But the no panic attitude of the team, and the way they marched back down the field and scored immediately gave me confidence.

        Meanwhile, Reilly did himself no favours by publicly embarrassing his Oline. I thought right away, when I saw it, that they were in trouble.

        With all due respect, Jansen played well, but against a team that was winnless. He will need to prove himself vs a better one.

        • Time will tell … but it looks to me that the “winless” part is being overdone.

          Edm, Sask and the RedBlacks seem pretty similar considering the RedBlacks needed OT with their backup QB to beat Edm, Sask lost in regulation to Edm by four and the recent game had third stringer QB Jensen losing in regulation by one point.

          If Burris isn’t ready, more time with the first team offense is going to help Jensen, never mind going in with a different game plan.

  9. Robin (from THE city) // July 24, 2016 at 7:02 am //

    An undefeated season?? And you lost your first game against a team that was winless??

    You should be saying that your “explosive” offence has been figured out by one of the best DC’s in the league.

    This plan will now be used as a template for others.

    You will now be much less than “undefeated”.

    • Enrico Della penta // July 24, 2016 at 8:31 am //

      Robin, Robin, Robin here you go again. Yes Ottawa does have an explosive offence and will continue to do so. Glad you enjoy making comments on the Redbacks and follow them. If you need to pick up a Redbacks Jersey let me know.

      Your pal Enrico

      • Robin (from THE city) // July 25, 2016 at 9:14 am //

        Wasn’t explosive against Chris Jones. How come??

        Yes, please send me a two tones jersey. It will come in handy.

        I’ll give it to the dog to sharpen her teeth on.

        But, then again it may give her indigestion.

        On second thought, my fireplace needs more kindling for the fall, although it will stink up the house.

        But, yes do send one.

        • Okay … first Sask was “winless” implying the Sask defense was terrible then it’s one of the best DC’s in the league figured out how to stop the 3rd string QB, implying the Sask defense was good.

          Which is it?

          • Robin (from THE city) // July 26, 2016 at 12:06 pm //

            When a team is winless, could it be said that there is a problem somewhere to be solved…coaching..players …scheming…execution…

            I didn’t say or even imply that it was the defense that was the problem with the greenies. That is your assumption. Besides, they were missing Durant, potentially a big piece of their success this year. Look how they’ve suffered without him.

            So, they too had to play this game with a backup.

            Good defense or not, Chris Jones is still quite capable of figuring it out. The two tones came into the game with Harris, so he likely planned for him.

            Besides, this past weekend the Grey cup champions could not beat our third stringer. So, it is possible.

            And, the two tones have such an “explosive” offense you would think that it should be a “pitch and catch” for ANY quarterback….

            Which is it???

            It’s a combination of a winless team desperate for success…and an opponent who’ve read too many of their own press clipping and assumed that a winless team would be that easy….

            And Chris Jones…didn’t he bring back the Eskimos in 2 years to win the cup??

            Okay.

  10. I just love the whiney Ottawa excuses, all of which are weak and easily countered.
    Whiney excuse #1: Refs lost Ottawa the game.
    Funny how people forget the weak call against Cox for unsportsmanlike conduct, which help extend the last Ottawa drive and led to the FG that put them ahead.
    Combine that with the blatant head hit by Evans and a missed illegal block on Jackson’s biggest punt return, and the officiating evens out for both sides.
    Whiney excuse #2:
    Ottawa had so many injuries.
    By the end of the game Saskatchewan had SEVEN starters missing on offence, including the regular starting QB.
    And also don’t forget that the Riders left at least 16 points on the field due a combination of overthrows and botched snaps.

    Add it all up and the team that played the best Friday night won, and deservedly so.

    • Enrico Della Penta // July 24, 2016 at 5:18 pm //

      Yeah another Robin(from the City). Bottom line Ottawa lost and they also left points on the board (are you listening Mr. Milo). No worries Evan, like you say penalties will even out, just to many this year and this challenge crap has to change, it is ruining the game and really slowing it down. If a coach challenges and looses, it should be lose of down and a 15 yard penalty, maybe then all coaches will think twice about challenging every friggin play. Saskatchewan won yes, but far from a stellar team performance.

      • Enrico,
        Agreed.
        The CFL should look at how rugby union uses the Television Match Official (TMO).
        The TMO takes the coaches challenges away and allows for a two way communication between the officials on the field and those watching on monitors.
        It’s the eye in the sky the CFL has now, except the TMO is useful.
        If a game that flows as quickly as rugby union can use this type of officiating, there is no reason why a stop and start game like the CFL cannot.
        However, the CFL would almost certainly screw up this functional model completely.

      • Robin (from THE city) // July 25, 2016 at 9:05 am //

        There is only one me. Remember that, Enrico!!!!!

        You discarded Maher and kept Milo. On behalf of Tiger cat fans everywhere. Thank you!!

        And your team could not come up with a stellar performance? Your bad.

        Punishing teams for bad officiating is unfair. The onus should be on the game officials to know the rule book and to get it right. Coaches are only trying to defend their players against poor performing referees.

        Late last season, I saw first hand how costly poor officiating can be.

        • Enrico Della Penta // July 25, 2016 at 2:35 pm //

          Thanks goodness there is only one of you Robin(from THE city) and hopefully for the Tabbies the old Maher will not re-appear. Yeah so they lost by a point with a QB who got a few reps with the 1st offence. Jensen I though did pretty good and he will prove if he gets the chance in the coming game. As for the refs, its brutal this year, but I think the league really needs to review this challenge rule by the coaches, not only does it slow down the game, but really in some instances makes the game itself look ridiculous.

          And forget about sending you a jersey, wouldn’t want to waste my money, but what I can do is to talk to the Lumber Joes to save all the wood cookies when the REDBLACKS score a TD and send them to you to keep you warm this winter. There should be a ton of them by the end of the season when they play the Tabbies.

          Your pal Enrico 😉

          • Robin (from THE city) // July 26, 2016 at 8:40 am //

            Again, you want to punish the coaches for a league problem. You’re dealing to the wrong people.

            The game looks ridiculous because the refs are making marginal calls most of the time. The PI calls are particularly bad.

            Understand, I don’t want to slow the game down either. But, these fans will soon change their tune when an official makes a false call against THEIR team that proves to be very costly. Then, suddenly, they’ll wish for that review back.

            You want to pay all that money to ship them, then please go ahead. I like the idea of burning your logo in my fireplace.

            You didn’t want Maher, but you don’t want him to succeed somewhere else either.

            That’s being selfish and bitter.

  11. Brian Beebee // July 25, 2016 at 8:17 am //

    Overall and entertaining game, however like most people have posted on this piece and in other posts on this site, the CFL really needs to review this challenge garbage. It is really hampering the flow of the game and outcome. Players especially DBs have to realise that they will almost certainly get a flag if the interfere with the receivers. So give them a shove for within the first 5 yards then do you best to stay with them. Coaches now they can challenge and will, as Evan says maybe look at the what the rugby union uses and make coaches pay if they when they issue a challenge on the off chance it will go their way.

  12. Brian Beebee // July 25, 2016 at 8:17 am //

    Overall and entertaining game, however like most people have posted on this piece and in other posts on this site, the CFL really needs to review this challenge garbage. It is really hampering the flow of the game and outcome. Players especially DBs have to realise that they will almost certainly get a flag if the interfere with the receivers. So give them a shove for within the first 5 yards then do you best to stay with them. Coaches know they can challenge and will, as Evan says maybe look at the what the rugby union uses and make coaches pay if they when they issue a challenge on the off chance it will go their way.

  13. GoCats! // July 26, 2016 at 1:45 pm //

    @ Robin (from THE city):

    The comment depth won’t let me reply on the chain so the comments are here.

    You didn’t imply the defense was bad?

    If the defense was good, why the need for Jensen to “prove himself vs a better one”? I can see questioning how Jensen will fare longer term but the only reason I can see to want a “better” one is if the one he did well against was sub-standard.

    Re: Our third stringer beat the GC champs.

    You really want to compare to a fourth year player who is the second stringer against a rookie third stringer QB?

    I don’t they are comparable.

    What would be comparable is the game was against Edm when Collaros went out with a concussion on an Odell Willis hit in 2014. Masoli had 2 TDs but was stripped of the ball (defensive TD Edm) and fumbled (FG Edm) to give way to Lefevour (the 3rd stringer QB).

    Jensen being in his first year, having similar stats without the turnovers is impressive.

    But if you prefer to believe the RedBlacks were over-confident, feel free.

Comments are closed.