Redblacks come up short against BC

On a beautiful Thursday evening, with another loud, sold out crowd on hand (24,677), R-Nation was treated to an exciting back and forth contest between two teams coming off blowout losses. While the Redblacks’ energy level was much more inspired than the previous week’s effort against Montreal, ultimately BC pulled ahead late and hung on for the win, making Wally Buono the only coach to beat all three of Ottawa’s CFL franchises (Rough Riders, Renegades and Redblacks). Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the game:

1) It was Military Appreciation Night in the nation’s capital and thus fans were treated to a pair flybys by two CF-18 Hornets. The scream of the engines as the jets roared by was defeating, especially on the last run, in which the Hornets barely seemed to clear the condo on the west side of the stadium.

2) In his first game back since what looked to be a season ending knee injury, Trevor Harris was sharp, completing 76.7% passes (23/30) for 352 yards and a touchdown. First the positives: Harris’ mobility didn’t seem limited whatsoever, and he moved around the pocket with ease when it collapsed. He also displayed the same zip and accuracy on deep passes that R-Nation has come to expect from him. On the other hand, Harris bobbled and mis-handled two perfect shotguns snaps from centre Jon Gott, with one leading to a safety late in the 4th quarter. Additionally, with the game on the line (and after marching Ottawa down to BC’s 38), Harris’ pass fell to the turf near absolutely no-one, despite there being two open receivers near the goal line (Ernest Jackson and Brad Sinopoli). He was then sacked on 2nd down, setting up a tough 3rd and 17. Overall though, considering it was his first action in over a month, Harris looked like his usual self and will only get better as he continues to shake the rust off. Lastly, for those looking for a QB controversy, Henry Burris was the first one to greet Harris as he came to the sidelines after every series and was ready with his signature grin and a high five after each scoring drive. But don’t let reality get in the way of a good narrative I guess.

Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Trevor Harris (7) throws the ball past the hands of B.C. Lions' Alex Bazzie (53) during first half CFL action on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Trevor Harris (7) throws the ball past the hands of B.C. Lions’ Alex Bazzie (53) during first half CFL action on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

3) While Harris’ numbers look good, the truth of the matter is that Ottawa’s offence as a whole wasn’t fantastic, netting only 16 first downs and 375 total yards. For much of the night, the offence struggled to sustain drives and move the chains. OC Jamie Elizondo’s fondness for calling screens and hitch passes often resulted in negative plays or short gains. Continuing a season long trend, Elizondo’s unit failed to stretch the field for long portions of the night, despite the fact that every time they took a shot downfield, Harris found success. Too often drives consisted of a screen on first down and an out on second down. As I have mentioned numerous times before, I simply don’t understand why guys like Chris Williams, Greg Ellingson, Ernest Jackson and Brad Sinopoli are running routes to the sidelines instead of down the field. Screens and hitch passes should be used as a change up, not a constant go to play. Look no further than the only screen BC ran all night. Facing 2nd and 13 on Ottawa’s 38 yard line with 1:45 left, BC dialled up a screen that caught Ottawa’s defence completely by surprise, moving the ball all the way down to the Redblacks’ one yard line. I hate beating a dead horse but until Elizondo starts calling more plays that feature routes over the middle and/or down the sidelines, Ottawa will continue to be predictable and their own worst enemy.

4) RB Travon Van provided a spark in his first game back from injury. His shiftiness and speed was on full display as he beat Lion defenders both on the ground and in the air, rushing for 52 yards and a touchdown (on 12 carries) and snagging a team high 6 passes for 28 yards.

5) Chris Wiliams and Greg Ellingson combined for 10 catches, 258 yards and perhaps most importantly, a recovered fumble. On Ottawa’s final drive, Ellingson made a 24 yard catch before being tackled and fumbling the ball. Luckily for him, Williams was Johnny on the Spot and quickly pounced on the loose ball. Ultimately it wouldn’t matter because a few plays later, on 3rd and 17, Williams dropped a pass that hit him in the hands and would’ve moved the yardsticks.

6) As for the other half of Ottawa’s “Fab Four”, after hauling in 3 passes for 41 yards and a TD in the first half, Ernest Jackson was invisible over the last half an hour. Same goes for Brad Sinopoli who finished with just 2 catches for 20 yards. Much of their reduced production can be blamed on the fact that they are slot receivers who go across the middle and Ottawa simply doesn’t throw the ball that way very often.

7) After getting their asses kicked by Montreal, Ottawa’s offensive line was a bit stouter but still conceded 4 sacks. Rookie Jason Lauzon-Séguin looked much more comfortable at RT than he did at LG last week and Matt Albright, who made his first start of the season, didn’t look out of place at RG.

8) Good thing you don’t need an intact ACL to be a GM, otherwise Marcel Desjardins might be looking for work. Watching him get clipped and go down awkwardly was bad enough, but seeing him collapse from shock a minute later was even scarier. Thankfully, the punting net slowed his fall and probably prevented him from hitting his head. Shoutout to the classless Shawn Lemon who immediately tweeted out his thoughts on the collision. Lemon, apparently still bitter about being called out for faking tweets about his release from Ottawa, later pretended that he wasn’t watching the game.

9) Heading into the game, Ottawa’s defence was conceding a league low 52 yards per game on the ground. That average will go way up as BC’s massive offensive line manhandled the Redblacks’ defensive line and linebackers, opening lanes for the Lion’s backs to rack up 128 yards on the ground. Some of those yards can be attributed to fatigue, as BC dominated time of possession, with 36:31 to Ottawa’s 23:29. The Redblacks’ defence simply couldn’t keep up with the 66 offensive plays BC ran.

10) Speaking of the defensive line, the Canadians on it continued their strong seasons. Connor Williams and Zach Evans had a sack apiece and local product and former Ottawa Gee-Gee Ettore Lattanzio notched a pair, narrowly missing out on a trio (but more on that in a minute). Though the Redblacks’ brought Jennings down 6 times, it seemed like every time it mattered most, his offensive line either held the pocket together or he just managed to buy enough time with his feet to complete a pass.

B.C. Lions' Jonathon Jennings (10) runs the ball against the Ottawa Redblacks during second half CFL action on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

B.C. Lions’ Jonathon Jennings (10) runs the ball against the Ottawa Redblacks during second half CFL action on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

11) Much was made of the decision to not start Canadian LB Antoine Pruneau in favour of American Nick Taylor. Pruneau had an extremely rough game against Montreal, missing a number of tackles. Unfortunately for the coaching staff, the decision to start Taylor didn’t exactly pan out as expected, as Taylor missed a few tackles of his own. But it’s not like Taylor was alone in his struggles. As a whole, Ottawa’s secondary and linebacking corps had another weak tackling game. BC’s receivers picked up YAC (yards after catch) with ease, as evidenced by Chris Rainey’s 3rd quarter touchdown and Manny Arceneaux’s catch in the 4th quarter. On 2nd and 5 with just over two minutes left, Arcenaux caught a short pass at mid-field and broke four tackles before being pushed out of bounds at Ottawa’s 34 yard line. Ottawa’s failure to wrap up the ball carrier in recent weeks has been infuriating.

12) One guy who hasn’t been missing tackles is John Boyett. Despite still not starting, Boyett had another huge game, making 5 punishing tackles and sacking Jennings twice. If Pruneau isn’t to start and has to be replaced by an American, Boyett should be that guy because not having him on the field for every down simply doesn’t make sense.

13) Overall it was a quiet night for the officials, with just 10 total flags being thrown (7 on Ottawa and  3 on BC). That being said, the home crowd was not happy with the men in stripes (to put it lightly). Things started off on a bad note when Nick Taylor tackled a scrambling Jennings and was then flagged for taunting. The phantom call kept BC’s drive alive and led to a FG. While that call was blown, the rest of the flags on Ottawa were all deserving. I know it’s not a popular opinion among R-Nation but the roughing the passer call on Connor Williams in the 4th was indeed an infraction. You can argue that it’s a stupid rule because Williams didn’t hit Jennings with his helmet and didn’t look like he meant to slap his head at all and that the contact only happened because Jennings began to crouch, but what you can’t argue is that in the rulebook, any contact with a QB’s head is an instant roughing the passer penalty. So by the book, Ottawa was in the wrong and you can’t blame the Command Centre for overturning the call that every on field official missed. Something else the referees missed were a couple of BC receivers being way offsides and a few blatant holds, but at this point I’m happy when the missed calls add up to less than five per game. Overall, 3 of Ottawa’s 7 penalties kept BC drives alive, continuing their season long trend of undisciplined play. Head Coach Rick Campbell keeps talking tough about how he’ll fix his team’s flags, but I wonder if it’s going to take another player getting cut, a la Brandon McDonald last season, for the message to really sink in.

14) In terms of special teams, it was good to finally see Chris Milo have a perfect game. Not only did he make every field goal attempt, but he also nailed both converts. After weeks of inconsistent play, hopefully Milo has turned the corner. As for the punting, Zach Medeiros averaged only 38 yards per punt and failed to get any good hang time on his kicks. That in turn put the cover teams in a tough spot, which of course, BC returner Chris Rainey took full advantage of, to the tune of 6 returns for 151 yards.

15) Despite the loss, Ottawa still clings to 1st in the East by a single point, thanks to their tie with Calgary. They can drop no further than 2nd this week and that is conditional on a Hamilton win in Calgary, which is no sure thing. If Ottawa goes on to miss out on a home playoff game, they’ll look back at this four game homestand and rue the missed opportunity. Instead of making the most of playing in front of a rambunctious home crowd, the Redblacks instead went 1-3 and watched their stranglehold on the East disappear. Though R-Nation shouldn’t be too down about the loss to BC (as it was a much stronger effort than vs Montreal), in the end moral victories don’t count in the standings. With a tough road game in Montreal looming, Ottawa needs to quickly right the ship if they want to remain atop the East.

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 (160 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.)

20 Comments on Redblacks come up short against BC

  1. What I don’t understand is the call made for a hit out of bounds on Rainey. This is the same hit where Rainey went into Marcel Desjardins. I’m not an Ottawa fan but a CFL fan and it gets confusing when there is no consistency in the officiating. From every view I saw Rainey was still in the field of play when he was knocked out of bounds with a clean hit to his hip. Rainey is a tremendous kick returner, he can straddle the sidelines and score so is the Ottawa player supposed to assume he’s heading out of bounds? I think this call is a result of the non call on Simoni Lawrence in the Cats vs Riders game when he nailed the guy out of bounds at the one with no flag. (oh and I am a Cats fan, I do believe the hit was late and out of bounds but not dirty or directed at the head).

    • From what I saw, Rainey was on the edge of the sideline (it looked to me like he was out but I’d have to check the replays).

      The Unnecessary Roughness on West is likely because a simple shove would have taken Rainey out of bounds.

      I’ve seen this called for many years so it wasn’t surprising to me.

      The officials watch this as the player on the edge of the sideline is typically easing up or about to as the play is dead as soon as they step out. Having another player lambast them has in the past resulted in some bad injuries.

      As for what West was supposed to do … if he lambast Rainey, he more than likely could have shoved him out of bounds, as can be seen on many plays.

      I don’t think this is a result of the non-call on Lawrence. It might have been pointed to as a reminder of what to watch for but as I say, I’ve seen far less flagged for many years.

      (And lots of fans complaining when they felt that the call was missed, as it was on Lawrence.)

    • Robin (from THE city) // August 27, 2016 at 11:43 am //

      As someone who has followed this league for many moons…I can tell you that the officials have always been horribly inconsistent.

  2. Robin (from THE city) // August 26, 2016 at 2:19 pm //

    ” Things started off on a bad note when Nick Taylor tackled a scrambling Jennings and was then flagged for taunting.”

    He stood over the player after the tackle for sometime…heaven knows what he might have said to the downed player.

    I’ve seen this kind of play called as a penalty before.

    The message is clear. Make your tackle and move on.

  3. Robin (from THE city) // August 26, 2016 at 2:29 pm //

    And some of your penalties called last night were of the selfish variety like the one on Robinson.

    Those should NEVER be tolerated. When a player puts his own needs or wants before that of the team…he should be benched..then to the practice squad…and should it continue after that…he’s cut…

    Good that Campbell moved his butt off the field with a good talking to once he got within earshot…

    What surprised me was that Robinson had something to say when Campbell spoke to him….like he doesn’t understand who the boss is…I see a problem there!!!!

    I remember a couple of years ago when Hamilton played BC…one of Wally’s players took a dumb penalty…the offender tried to duck Buono when he got to the sidelines…on national tv..Wally stalked him and then “spoke” to him very emphatically…

    That’s how you deal with it…that player CLEARLY knew who was in charge…

  4. ottawa fan // August 26, 2016 at 2:33 pm //

    ottawa punting game is horrible ,no hang time,short punts ,giving bc great field position and Leon was killing it for bc great booming punts ,need a better punter in ottawa for sure

  5. Robin (from THE city) // August 26, 2016 at 2:46 pm //

    Your number one quarterback is now in place and you still lost.

    Your defense gave up territory way too easily…especially your secondary…this problem has existed before last night..your scouts need to find better…Nelson needs to coach better….

    But, at least, Burris is where he belongs…that’s a good start…just keep him away from Harris…you don’t want to ruin a good thing….by infecting him with Horrible Henry’s habits (throwing interceptions, hanging on to the ball too long, thinking he’s bigger than the team).

  6. Where they perfect shotgun snaps?

    I’ll have to check as I seem to recall at least one of them that Harris had to lunge for.

  7. Enrico Della Penta // August 26, 2016 at 7:29 pm //

    Yup Elizondo’s play calling is brutal, overall the team played a lot better than last week, some crap calls by the officials but that is the way the game goes.

    So glad that Robin(from THE city) and other double-double fans taking the time to pull themselves away from watching their “Walk on water” QB Collaros and expanding their knowledge of the Redblacks by reading your piece Santino. Good job.

    Over to you Robin(from THE city). By the way why do you capitalize the? Is it a Freudian slip of some kind on your behalf and you are truly a REDBLACKS fan? Just wondering.

    Your pal Enrico.

    • Robin (from THE city) // August 27, 2016 at 11:40 am //

      Why when you play a good defense do you ALWAYS blame the OC. He can only coach, the players have to execute. And hey…where’s this explosive offense you guys claim is there. You made us all believe that all the qb has to do is just aim the football.

      I read this stuff for a good laugh. Collaros DOES walk on water. Just because your quarterbacks can’t get it done…that’s on you…no one else..

      And why aren’t you sending that jersey…for heaven’s sake…if not ..I will just substitute for an old car rag…same thing…

      • Enrico Della Penta // August 29, 2016 at 6:04 am //

        The explosive offense is still there, always has been its the play calling by Elizondo who prefers to go east west rather than north that is the problem. Once he smartens up the offense will be back.

        Guess St. Zach couldn’t perform miracles last night as your Pussy Cats lost and had the opportunity to move into first, but didn’t. Oh well still behind the REDBLACKS.

        Maybe Kent Austin “Powers” should have a talk with his O-line and tell them to smarten up and do a better job at protecting the patron saint of Hamilton.

        If you need car rags to wash all that smog from your car that seems to be common in Hamilton, I have a couple of old Danny McManus t-shirts that I have in the garage I can send you.

        Your pal Enrico.

        • Robin (from THE city) // August 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm //

          Here you go again blaming the OC when your qb couldn’t produce, receivers dropped passes…etc..perhaps you could actually watch the game instead of retreading your blind assumptions…

          And others in this league have been playing with backups during this time….we’ll see how the rest of the season turns out now that Hamilton and Toronto will have their starters for some time…

          Your Oline gave up 4 sacks last game…you’re hardly one to be throwing stones…

          I asked for a two tones jersey…as you promised…since you are so desperate to convert me…

          I’m not surprised you would have Danny’s jersey..after all a man who has WON Grey Cups (Hamilton among them)…and not just wishing for one…

          • Enrico Della Penta // August 30, 2016 at 3:36 pm //

            Robin, Robin, that Danny Mac jersey was given to me by my old neighbour who was from Hamilton. Come on Robin, get serious me a Pussy Cat fan?

            One day I was helping her change the oil on her car and my hands were dirty. She gave me the Danny Mac shirt to use and said that her ex in Hamilton gave it to her and had no use for it as she was an Argos fan. So I wiped my hands with it and threw it in in my rag bin, until this day when I thought I could give it back to a true Hammer fan such as yourself.

  8. Robin (from THE city) // August 27, 2016 at 11:49 am //

    ” By the way why do you capitalize the? Is it a Freudian slip of some kind on your behalf”

    Sorry, Enrico, but I don’t write for the lowest IQs…

    If you can’t comprehend, you can always search Google for a basic grammar course.

    Ooopps…did you understand that or do I need to send you some of my children’s text books??

    P.S…notice I didn’t capitalize …I wanted to be sure you could read this.

    • Enrico Della Penta // August 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm //

      Interesting Robin (from THE city) that i rarely see you making comments on the Tabbies articles like you do here.

      Come out of the closet my friend it is okay to be a REDBLACKS fan.

      • Robin (from THE city) // August 30, 2016 at 12:44 pm //

        I don’t comment much on the Tiger cat articles because I have faith in the coaches and players there.

        I don’t break into sweats over losses like you people seem to.

        Your writer was falling over himself at the beginning of the season with praise(interestingly when other teams were playing backups). It would likely explain how you got as far as you did last season.

        Now, he’s your biggest critic.

        All I did further down was cut and paste what he wrote as to what went wrong with the two tones in their last game. He produced quite a list. And I probably missed a few things.

        I keep asking for that jersey…but haven’t seen it yet…my conversion is in your hands.

        So, either send the rag….I mean… the two tones jersey…or stop asking me to come over!!!

  9. Robin (from THE city) // August 27, 2016 at 12:09 pm //

    And it was your OC that was to blame for your loss??!!…

    “perhaps most importantly, a recovered fumble. On Ottawa’s final drive, Ellingson made a 24 yard catch before being tackled and fumbling the ball.

    Williams dropped a pass that hit him in the hands and would’ve moved the yardsticks.

    After getting their asses kicked by Montreal, Ottawa’s offensive line was a bit stouter but still conceded 4 sacks.

    the Lion’s backs to rack up 128 yards on the ground. Some of those yards can be attributed to fatigue, as BC dominated time of possession, with 36:31 to Ottawa’s 23:29. The Redblacks’ defence simply couldn’t keep up with the 66 offensive plays BC ran.

    it seemed like every time it mattered most, his offensive line either held the pocket together or he just managed to buy enough time with his feet to complete a pass.

    Taylor missed a few tackles of his own. But it’s not like Taylor was alone in his struggles. As a whole, Ottawa’s secondary and linebacking corps had another weak tackling game. BC’s receivers picked up YAC (yards after catch) with ease, as evidenced by Chris Rainey’s 3rd quarter touchdown and Manny Arceneaux’s catch in the 4th quarter. On 2nd and 5 with just over two minutes left, Arcenaux caught a short pass at mid-field and broke four tackles before being pushed out of bounds at Ottawa’s 34 yard line. Ottawa’s failure to wrap up the ball carrier in recent weeks has been infuriating.

    Zach Medeiros averaged only 38 yards per punt and failed to get any good hang time on his kicks. That in turn put the cover teams in a tough spot, which of course, BC returner Chris Rainey took full advantage of, to the tune of 6 returns for 151 yards.”

    Seems like he wasn’t the only one who had a bad game.

    Coaches coach and players play…that’s the way professional sports functions, Enrico.

    You got penalized 7 times, so the refs let you off lightly.

    The two tones have lost another game…let the whining and blaming begin..

  10. George Fogarty // August 29, 2016 at 6:27 am //

    Awesome analysis Robin, I hear that TSN has a spot on the half-time panel for you so that you can share your fabulous insight with every CFL fan watching.

    Bottom line sunshine, is as a fan of any team there will be whining and blaming like all you Pussy Cat fans will be doing today after your loss. Who does that loss hang on, your great QB Collaros? Or maybe your porous O-line who never lets poor St. Zach get sacked?

    Let the whining begin Tabby fans.

    • Robin (from THE city) // August 30, 2016 at 12:35 pm //

      Actually, if you read what was there, the observations were from your own writer’s article. I just brought them up to point out that the loss was attributable to the ENTIRE team, not just the OC as some would have you believe. I should have known better than to put together something so long when you people have such a short attention span.

      Hamilton had a bad game. Had a number of contributors. But, unlike you, I don’t go pointing fingers. Just look for the team to get better.

      No panic here.

      And again, where’s this “explosive offense” you guys kept talking about.

      Looks like you got enough to fix there…no need to waste time worrying about us …but thanks for being so considerate…

      I even tried to help…since you people seem to think your coaching is not up to snuff…

    • Robin (from THE city) // August 30, 2016 at 2:26 pm //

      By the way, your head coach might find more success if he focused his energies on winning football games rather than trying to be the sidelines bully…or is he angling for his own reality show???

Comments are closed.