Redblacks undone by an inept offence (& 11 other thoughts on the loss)

The Ottawa Redblacks came to Calgary hoping to finally earn a win at McMahon, the only stadium where they had never won. Following a 24-14 loss in front of a small crowd of 23,454, that winless streak continues.

Here are all my thoughts on the game:

1) To say Trevor Harris didn’t have a good night would be putting it kindly. His stats were bad (13-of-29 for 135 yards and an interception) and many of his throws worse. It’s also worth mentioning that 56 of those 135 yards came on a single play at the end of the third quarter. Too often Harris was not on the same page as his receivers. Numerous balls were overthrown and a few skipped short. To be fair, Harris didn’t get much help. Even on the rare occasions when he set his feet and got off a good throw, his receivers dropped the ball.

2) That Harris being pulled in the fourth quarter was no surprise, in fact, if anything the surprise was that Rick Campbell waited so long to do it. On a night when his starting quarterback couldn’t get anything going, perhaps inserting Dominique Davis a bit earlier would have provided a much needed jolt. Davis’ single series came with the game out of reach but on it he managed to complete 5-of-7 passes for 41 yards and capped the drive off with a touchdown strike. If Harris continues to have issues going forward, the coaching staff should not hesitate to put Davis under centre, as he’s clearly comfortable (and capable) of leading the offence.

3) It’s tough to be an offensive coordinator when your quarterback is struggling, but it’s even more difficult when you shoot yourself in the foot. Given Harris’ inconsistency last night, Jamie Elizondo would have been smart to feed his running back. After all, William Powell averaged 9.5 yards per carry. The ground game was the only thing Ottawa had going for it against a tough Stampeder defence yet for whatever reason, despite it being a three point game in the fourth quarter, Elizondo called one run in the game’s final fifteen minutes. A final 15 that included a pivotal first and goal from Calgary’s four-yard line that resulted in a turnover on downs at the one-yard line following two passes (one incomplete, one for a gain of three) and a stuffed quarterback sneak.

https://twitter.com/CFLonTSN/status/1012539581072379904

Overall, Ottawa’s offence struggled to find any kind of rhythm. Despite averaging a healthy 6.3 yards per first down play, the Redblacks went 9-of-23 on second down conversions (39%), averaging only 3.3 yards per second down play. That’s on the play caller. Ottawa also went just 1-of-3 in the red zone. In close games, that’s the difference between winning and losing.

4) William Powell did everything he could to lead his team to victory. Even if only handed the ball 13 times, he still managed to rush for 123 yard hard earned yards. Powell plowed his way through arm tackles and kept Calgary’s defence off-balance with his cut backs and shifty moves. The fact that Powell only had two catches for eight yards speaks less to his effectiveness as a pass catcher and more to the struggles of Ottawa’s passing attack.

5) Speaking of the passing game, Ottawa’s receivers weren’t at their finest. As a group they struggled to create separation and had numerous drops. Although Greg Ellingson did his thing to the tune of six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown, given that he was targeted 14 times, a lot was left out on the field. Brad Sinopoli made four catches for 40 yards but his biggest play was a fourth quarter fumble that ultimately killed any chance of a comeback. As for Diontae Spencer, three catches for 11 yards isn’t the kind of production anyone expects from him.

6) A week after a dominating performance on the ground and in pass protection, Ottawa’s offensive line was pushed around by the Stampeders. It wasn’t just younger players like Evan Johnson at right tackle or Mark Korte at left guard struggling either; veterans like SirVincent Rogers also had their lowlights. A veteran left tackle simply can’t let the defensive end blow by without getting a hand on him.

7) All things considered, Noel Thorpe’s defence actually played a solid game. Especially when you consider that he lost his top three defensive ends to injury and that twice turnovers set up Calgary inside Ottawa’s 25 yard line. Although the Redblacks failed to sack Bo Levi Mitchell, they did pick him off. The defence also forced a fumble and a turnover on downs. Despite leaving the game with an injury, Canadian Antoine Pruneau returned to the field and ultimately led both teams with nine tackles. The defence kept Ottawa close for most of the game, but 14 points in the fourth quarter allowed Calgary to pull away.

8) When the GM Marcel Desjardins signed Kyries Hebert in the off-season, he knew exactly what he was getting; a tough, hard-nosed player capable of providing leadership and a veteran familiar with Noel Thorpe’s defensive system. He was also getting a player with a long history of questionable hits. All of those things were on display last night.

First off, it was great to see DaVaris Daniels pop right up after the hit, because when it first happened, it looked like he’d been knocked out. Secondly, as much as Hebert’s physicality is an important piece of Ottawa’s defence, dangerous hits that result in unnecessary roughness flags don’t help anyone. Not the player being hit, not Ottawa’s defence and certainly not Hebert, who can expect a hefty fine and/or a suspension headed his way.

9) If any of the injuries sustained by defensive players last night turn out to be serious, the Redblacks could be in trouble. American defensive ends Jonathan Newsome, A.C. Leonard and Avery Ellis all left the game with apparent leg injuries. To replace them, Canadians Andrew Marshall and Nigel Romick (normally special teamers) came into the game. Although neither will likely be called upon to start next week in Montreal if the American defensive ends aren’t ready to go, both held their own in spot duty, with Romick even recovering a fumble. In the secondary Jonathan Rose and Antoine Prueanu were also shaken up but both returned to the game.

10) For the second game in a row, Bob Dyce’s special team units did some things well and others poorly. The good was rookie Lewis Ward making both of his field goal attempts and punter Richie Leone averaging 51.5 yards per kick. The bad was falling for a fake punt for the second consecutive week and allowing a 35-yard punt return that flipped field position and led to a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. Shoutout to Jean-Philippe Bolduc for his team high two special teams tackles.

11) It was a loss, it was a poor offensive performance and it was blown opportunity, but ultimately it was only one game in a regular season that has eighteen of them. With the defeat, the Redblacks franchise is now 1-6-2 lifetime against the Stampeders. In spite of the fact that it may feel like so much went wrong in a game that was right there for the taking, Rick Campbell’s squad won’t have much time to dwell on the loss. A date with the Alouettes in Montreal next Friday night looms large and may be exactly what Ottawa needs to get back on track.

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
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Santino Filoso
About Santino Filoso (215 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.)

18 Comments on Redblacks undone by an inept offence (& 11 other thoughts on the loss)

  1. David Carswell // June 29, 2018 at 11:12 am //

    Kyries Hebert should be kicked out of the league – enough is enough – Obviously fines and suspensions haven’t been “doing it”….

  2. Full marks to the Stampeders, but the game was there for Ottawa to steal one. Too many drops and screw ups on offense, but the Calgary defense is no joke, so the Stamps were lucky Ottawa was so ineffective when they had the ball.

    Will be interesting to see how both teams rebound next week. I’m sure the Stamps would rather they played average and came away with a win than playing great and still losing. They will be much better next week for sure.

  3. Think about it // June 29, 2018 at 11:22 am //

    23,500 sad, sad. Not a football city I guess.

  4. Harris struggled last game in the first quarter and in this game for all of it. Agree that Elizondo play calling sucked, don’t understand why Powell didn’t get the ball more and why quick 5-7 yard passes were not in the playbook. Hopefully, the RBs get back in sync and back to form with the Als.

  5. Full marks? They looked like a high-school team too. No rhythm either; dropped passes, dumb penalties, you name it! Both QBs were awful, (Mitchell 54%, Harris 46%) Bo was just a little less awful in the 4th, but the play of the game was the goal line stand, but from the other side, a pretty predictable, uninspired call at a crucial time in the game. The running game was the only glimmer for both teams. What’s going on with the Stamps and McMahon Stadium? Is it because it’s old? Is Calgary turning into the Toronto of the West?

  6. Jeff259 // June 29, 2018 at 1:27 pm //

    It would have been the perfect opportunity for the Red Blacks to exercise the demons with BLM and the Stamps offence struggling to gain traction. Over the course of the season, it is likely there won’t be many of those for BLM. It certainly wasn’t much of a game considering these two team’s histories of putting up a lot of points.

    Attendance at Stamps games has been declining for years. Attendance was stated at 23,000 but guaranteed those were tickets sold, not actual persons in the seats. It was; however, on a Thursday before a long weekend which may have played into it somewhat.

  7. Oskee71 // June 29, 2018 at 1:59 pm //

    Funny. 23000+ in Calgary is a small crowd?? That’s a sell out in Hamilton or Montreal, and way more than a sell out in Toronto.

  8. Thursday 7PM game time. Hard to leave work and get to the game when it was forecast for rain I am guessing. Calgary steady attendance decline built momentum when thousands lost their jobs in the oil patch. Calg is a white collar city and had a huge number of professional jobs lost in engineering development and design etc.
    Recovery is slow. 23% commercial vacancy at the moment.
    Not a stamps fan but I do know what has happened in this fabulous city where I live.

    • James Smith // June 30, 2018 at 12:32 pm //

      I live in rural Ottawa but I essentially was thinking the same thing about Calgary’s attendance. I hate midweek and Thursday games.

  9. Scottsask // June 29, 2018 at 2:29 pm //

    When you have a running back who is good as William Powell who can do everything better than most, why not feed him the ball more? The guy looks unstoppable.

  10. rogieshan // June 29, 2018 at 3:56 pm //

    For whatever reasons, Harris and the receivers looked nervous all night. Romick & Marshall had trouble tackling and the latter’s roughing-the-quarterback penalty was costly late in the game. Avery Ellis did return at the end. Also, you could see Coach Campbell gaving Dyce an earful for the awful on-side kick attempt. Getting burned on fake punts for back to back games would get many coaches fired. No excuse really.

  11. Scottsask // June 29, 2018 at 4:28 pm //

    Well if you run the ball with a great running back, it takes a lot of pressure off of the qb, hope Jones and Macadoo we’re taking notes.

  12. Harris again exposed as an inconsistent and average QB. Dom Davis looked really good despite his receivers.
    As the article suggests, Ottawa needs to start thinking about switching horses. QB controversy brewing 🙂

  13. TouchDownBC // June 29, 2018 at 5:42 pm //

    Soft schedule vs east for Stumps to pad their stats…wait till they play the West!

  14. Even though the Stamps sleepwalked through this one, the REDBLACKS simply didn’t show up ready to play….and that includes the coaching staff. Some other thoughts:
    – end the experiment with Spencer as a returner and let him focus on catching the football. He’s done nothing in two games as a return guy.
    – with fans, players, coaches and journalists working over Ambrosie to suspend Hebert, looking forward to seeing Avery Williams get a shot at MLB next week.
    -and while on the subject of dirty play, I’d love to see the replays of the knee injuries sustained by RBs top three pass rushers. I know it was Calgary who never does anything illegal, but something stinks here.

    • James Smith // June 30, 2018 at 12:39 pm //

      Agree with you whole hardly. Not many noticed, know TSN guys noticed on the play Sinopoli fumbled Singleton led with his helmet and gave Brad a pretty good shot to the head. I was surprised he wasn’t dazed. Wouldn’t have likely effected the fumble call but was definitely a 15yd penalty. Command Centre should have caught that.

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