Burris Sets Records as Redblacks Hammer Als and Sweep Season Series

Coming off a tough loss vs the Argos and in the middle of a 4 game home stand, the Ottawa Redblacks took advantage of a little home cooking to hammer the Montreal Alouettes and improve their record to 8-5 on the season.


– The night before the game, attendees at the QB Club got up close and personal with Chris Williams and Jeremiah Johnson and walked away with two free tickets to the Oct. 6th game vs the Argos

– TD Place unveiled another new and mouth watering burger

– R-Nation is always pumped, even for a lame Thursday night game

– Ottawa comes out in their sleek black home uniforms

– A couple of CF-18 Fighters fly by in honour of Canadian Forces Appreciation Night

– Ever classy, OSEG holds a moment of silence for a local legend

– Montreal wins the coin toss and chooses to receive

1st Quarter:

– The Alouettes get the ball but Cato and company waste no time in going two and out.

– Ottawa’s drive starts off on the wrong foot as Ernest Jackson (#9) goes offsides, but a 3 yard catch by Jeremiah Johnson (#27) and 12 yard catch from Brad “Mr. 2nd Down” Sinopoli (#88) move the sticks. Following a short run by Johnson, the Redblacks again get into penalty trouble when they are flagged for an illegal substitution, but a 16 yard snag by Greg “Duke” Ellingson (#82) and a QB sneak on 3rd and 1 move the chains. Maurice Price (#7) gets in on the action with a  21 yard grab and on the next play Patrick Lavoie (#81) takes a short dump off pass and lowers the boom on the defender who tries to tackle him. The violent collision knocks Jonathan Hefney out and results in him being carted off the field (Thankfully he would be okay). Seven plays later, QB Henry Burris (#1) plunges across the goal line for a 1 yard TD. Following the convert, it’s 7-0.

– Montreal’s Stefan Logan returns the ensuing kick off to Ottawa’s 46 yard line and probably would’ve gone for more if not for being pushed out of bounds by Antoine Pruneau (#6).

– Three runs = two first downs and Montreal gets on the board with a 38 yard FG.

– Price drops a deep bomb that lands right in his hands but an offsides flag on Montreal keeps the drive alive. OC Jason Maas reaches into his bag of tricks as Burris scurries to the sidelines and Sinopoli takes over at QB and gets sacked. Brett Maher’s (#3) punt is shanked.

– Montreal goes two and out and Chris Williams (#80) returns the punt 14 yards

– The opening 15 minutes come to a close as Sinopoli hauls in a pass over the middle, runs through arm tackles and bounces off defenders for a gain of 24.

Jerald Brown Brad Sinopoli

2nd Quarter:

– Burris hits Johnson, Jackson and Price before capping off the drive with a beautiful 18 yard TD strike to a streaking Williams. Following the convert, Ottawa leads 14-3.

FBO CFL Alouettes Redblacks

– The Alouettes move the chains once but then revert to their two and out ways.

– Hard running by Johnson and catches by Ellingson (x2), Sinopoli, Price and Williams result in a 17 yard Chris Milo (#30) FG.

– Moton Hopkins (#95) sacks Cato for a 10 yard loss and forces a punt

– Burris continues to shred Montreal’s secondary, hitting Jackson (x2), Williams and Johnson for gains of 8, 14, 3 and 7 yards to set up a 34 yard FG.

– On the ensuing kick off, Pruneau makes his 3rd special teams tackle of the night.

– Montreal goes two and out.

– Right before the half the Redblacks tack on another FG as Burris moves them down the field by hitting Ellingson, Williams, Price, Sinopoli and Johnson for gains of 20, 10, 4, 7, 20, and 8 yards. Ottawa has to settle for the 16 yard FG after Price drops an end zone TD pass.

– After 30 minutes, Montreal is lucky that Ottawa only leads 23-3


– Sometimes, stats don’t lie

– And this happened

3rd Quarter:

– The Redblacks receive and quickly pick up where they left off, marching down the field. Johnson, Williams and Jackson haul in passes for gains of 7, 6 and 14 yards before Johnson takes a short screen and rumbles 11yards courtesy of a great downfield block by Jon “Dangerbeard” Gott (#63). Burris continues to play pass skelly with the Als’ secondary as he hits Price for 16 and Jackson for another 10, but the promising drive is wiped out when Johnson’s fumble is recovered by Montreal who in turn fumbles but the Als retain possession when the ball bounces out of bounds.

– Brandyn Thompson (#25) knocks down Cato’s pass on 2nd and long to force another punt

– Burris scrambles for 8 and Johnson plods ahead for 2 to keep the drive alive. Back to back strikes to Sinopoli and Price are good for 27 and 18 yards respectively and move the ball to Montreal’s 8 yard line. On the very next play, Burris hits Sinopoli in the flats, and he races around the corner and dives into the end zone for the TD. Following the convert Ottawa leads 30-3

Brad Sinopoli Domonique Ellis

– Zack Evans (#92) sacks Cato and the Als are forced to trot out Bede to punt….again

– Burris goes into full Madden mode, leading the offence on a 7 play 63 yard drive that is highlighted by a 29 yard catch by Ellingson that brings the ball down to the 1. One play later, Burris sneaks across the goal line for his 2nd rushing TD of the night.

Henry Burris Nicolas Boulay

– Seeing Burris up his game, Mr. Shoe Beer decides to do the same by incorporating a zip-line into his routine.

– R-Nation roars and Montreal is forced to use a timeout to try and get their drive started but a blitzing Forest Hightower (#23) sacks Cato and forces a punt.

– 8 and 13 yard catches from Lavoie and Jackson bring the quarter to a close.

4th Quarter:

– The offence continues marching and brings the ball all the way to Montreal’s 1 yard line but Ottawa comes away with no points after getting stuffed on 3rd and 1. Notably on the drive, Burris sets the CFL record for completions in a game.

– Montreal yanks Cato from the game and inserts Anthony Boone in his place.

– Three plays later the Als concede a safety and Ottawa leads 39-3.

– Johnson rushes for gains of 6 and 3 but on 3rd and 1 Burris gets stuffed and the Redblacks turn the ball over on their 45 yard line.

– Boone strings together a couple of passes and 4 plays later hits Sam Giguere in the back of the end zone for a TD. Montreal goes for two but fails to convert and trails 39-3

– Sinopoli foils Montreal’s attempted onside kick

– Danny “Boy” O’Brien (#5) enters at QB for the Redblacks but the offence goes two and out.

– Thompson picks off Boone.

– Newcomer William Powell (#29) gets two carries and picks up 2 yards as Ottawa again goes two and out.

– Boone takes advantage of the Redblacks’ defence playing soft and leads Montreal to another touchdown, scoring with 2 seconds left on the clock. The Als go for and get the two point convert.

Final score: 

Redblacks vs Als score

Key Stats:

Burris completed 45 of 53 for 504 yards and 2 TDs

Burris Record

Johnson had 12 carries for 54 yards

Sinopoli caught 7 passes for 107 yards and 1 TD

Price caught 9 passes for 104 yards

Williams caught 9 passes for 98 yards and 1 TD

Damaso Munoz made 7 tackles and forced 1 fumble

Milo was 3/3 on FG attempts

Closing thoughts:

Just how much better can Burris get? After setting an Ottawa record with 477 yards in a single game only two weeks ago, Burris smashed that record as he put up a career best 504 yards and set the CFL record for completions in a game with 45. Even more incredible than the completion record itself is the fact that Burris hit 7 different receivers and had a completion percent of 85%! At one point, Burris even completed 17 straight passes. All night long he was decisive in his throws and got the ball out quickly. In addition to his exploits in the air, Burris also ran the ball effectively in short yardage or when the pocket collapsed 7 times for 13 yards and 2 touchdowns. 

As much credit as Burris deserves, his great game isn’t on him alone. In his 53 dropbacks his offensive line allowed him to be sacked exactly ZERO times. The offensive line as a whole deserves huge credit for keeping a clean pocket and allowing Burris time to go through his reads and surgically pick the Alouette secondary apart. OC Jason Maas also deserves a shout out for his fantastic no huddle play calling which racked up 37 first downs, kept an already gassed Montreal defence on their heels and possession in the hands of the Redblacks who chewed up 39:26 of clock time.

The running game was mostly an afterthought but on a night when your QB is setting a completion record while completing 85% of his passes that’s kind of understandable. Still, Johnson did average 4.5 yards per carry and also made 6 catches for 28 yards. 

The Redblacks receiving corp proved yet again that they are one of the most dangerous units in the league. Each of Ottawa’s “Fab Five” had 5+ catches and over 50 yards. Both Sinopoli (who continued to rack up YAC) and Price went over the 100 yard plateau and Williams nearly hit it himself, putting up 98 yards. The guys bringing up the rear, Ellingson and Jackson, had 83 and 59 yards respectively. When this group gets going, they’re tough to stop and truly do present the defence with a pick your poison scenario.

If you can’t really remember the defence being the field, that’s because for most of the night, they weren’t. But when they were, they were stifling and completely shut down Cato and the Montreal offence. Cato finished the game with a measly 75 yards through the air and Ottawa also limited Montreal’s ground game to just 39 yards. Damaso Munoz (#45) led the way but Pruneau and David Hinds (#20) also always seemed to be near the ball. In terms of turnovers, the Redblacks forced a fumble that they failed to recover and generated an interception. The unit also added to their league leading sack total, bringing down Montreal’s QBs 3 times. Montreal finished the night with 17 points but 14 of those came late in the 4th quarter in garage time.

In terms of special teams, let’s start with a look at the positives. First, Williams perhaps had his best return game of the season, returning 5 punts for 44 yards (an average of 8.8 yards per return) and even had one return 14 yards, his second longest of the season. Second, Milo was perfect, nailing every convert and all 3 FGs he attempted. Now for the negative. Though Maher only punted 3 times, he struggled, averaging a measly 39.7 yards per punt. Those numbers look even worse when you consider that on average the Redblacks conceded 19 yards per punt return, including a 46 yard return. Special teams cost Ottawa a win last week, and while this week’s monster performance from Burris overshadowed it, special teams continue to remain the team’s Achilles heel.

One thing that’s worth mentioning (and slightly disappointing), is that only 21,607 members of R-Nation were on hand to take in the game. Those that were there did a great job being loud but for a team that’s used to selling out, this is my mind, is further proof that the CFL is going down an unsuccessful path by pursuing more Thursday night games.

Anyways, with the win the Redblacks sit at 8-5 and move into a tie for 1st in the East with Hamilton. Next up for the team is a rematch with the Argos back at TD Place on Tuesday night. Toronto will once again be coming off a bye but if Ottawa wants any shot at hosting a home playoff game, this Argo “home” game is about as must-win as it gets.


Santino Filoso is originally from Ottawa and has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know).