Sometimes a loss needs to be put in perspective, and in those cases it’s good to have a cooling off period to look back and reflect on the game with a clear, rational thought process instead of getting caught up in the euphoria of a win or the melancholy that sets in after a loss.
This week, instead of a game recap, I’m going to give you my thoughts on the Redblacks’ 35-26 loss to the Toronto Argonauts.
Things I disliked:
– Jeremiah Johnson only getting 9 carries. I get that the Redblacks fell behind early, but the offence seems to run so much smoother when Johnson is involved, OC Jason Maas can’t ignore the run just because Ottawa gets down a couple of scores.
– Maurice Price’s 1 catch for 11 yards. Much was made of last week’s breakout performance, so it was quite disappointing to see him hardly impact the game at all
– Every single aspect of Ottawa’s special teams. The kick coverage units did their best cheese grater impression throughout most of the night, giving up a punt return touchdown and surrendering a back-breaking 41 yard kick off return late in the 4th quarter that set up the field goal that put the game out of reach. Additionally the Ottawa’s kickers struggled, with Brett Maher only averaging 40 yards per punt and Chris Milo missing a crucial convert late in the game.
– Those in R-Nation who booed the team off the field at the end of the 1st half of play. Yes Ottawa was down 24-10, but the team was far from out of the game and didn’t deserve the boo birds. Hardly the home field advantage the team had in mind before the game I imagine.
– The intense lack of pressure on Argos’ QB Trevor Harris. For the most part, he had way too much time to sit back and pick apart the Redblacks’ secondary.
– People pinning this loss on Burris. While far from his best effort, he finished the game with a 71% completion percentage and over 300 yards.
– Ottawa’s 8 flags for 165 yards; some were deserved, others belong in a horror story as they were simply ghost calls.
– The throng of fans filing out of the stadium with over 10 minutes left in the game. At the time the Argos had just scored to make it 31-20 but the Redblacks were moving the ball at will. In fact, Burris immediately led a touchdown drive to respond. TD Place isn’t located out in Kanata and it’s a CFL game, meaning that no lead is safe (it’s not the league’s motto for nothing!). Walking out of a two score game with 9 minutes left is just embarrassing.
Things I liked:
– The announced attendance of 24,586, Ottawa’s 4th sell out of the year
– Damaso Munoz’s pick six. It was a great heads up play that sparked the team and got the crowd back into the game at a time when all the momentum was on the Argo’s side
– Antoine Pruneau’s game; he finished the game with 5 tackles and once again always seemed to be near the ball
– Shawn Lemon and Zach Evans’ back to back sacks to force a punt
– Week in and week out, Brad Sinopoli and Ernest Jackson make tough catches and pick up a ton of YAC yards, Saturday night was no exception.
– Abdul Kanneh’s game. Though he did get torched on what was basically a long touchdown pass, he finished the game with 7 tackles and an interception.
– The defence once again rendering an opposing team’s ground game ineffective; Toronto only gained 74 rushing yards.
– The offence’s ability to match Argo scoring drives with points of their own in the 2nd half
There’s no denying that the Redblacks let a big opportunity slip through their fingers. A win would’ve set up a huge Oct. 6th matchup back at TD Place for the season series tiebreaker, but with the loss the Argos take the season series and the odds of Ottawa hosting a playoff game become much slimmer.
That being said, while they did lose, it’s not like the Redblacks were blown out. After a sluggish start, the offence rebounded in the 2nd half, putting together a trio of scoring drives and the defence held the Argos to only 11 points over the final 30 minutes. If you want to blame this loss on one specific factor, without a doubt it has to be special teams. Each week GM Marcel Desjardins releases a different player yet Don Yanowsky’s units continue to struggle.
With their next three games at home, the Redblacks need to make hay, take advantage of R-Nation’s energy and get their playoff push back on track.