48 Hours Later

On a beautiful Thursday night in Montreal, the Ottawa Redblacks beat the Alouettes for a 4th consecutive time to remain undefeated in 2016. It wasn’t always pretty, with flags and and injuries really slowing down the game at times, but overall, the Redblacks will be content to leave town with another notch in the win column. Here are some things that stood out to me:

– Much like last week against the Eskimos, Jamie Elizondo’s offence cut through the opposing defence like a chainsaw through a log. Ottawa averaged 9.3 yards per play as they racked up 532 yards of offence with ease. Breaking it down even further, the Redblacks gained (on average) 7.1 yards per play on 1st down and an unbelievable 12.5 yards on 2nd down. Jason Maas who?

– Just another day at the office for Trevor Harris, who went 20/ 26 (76.9%) for 395 yards and a trio of touchdowns. Harris did a great job spreading the ball around, targeting seven different receivers, and his ability to extend plays when the pocket breaks down is extremely underrated. Until Hank returns from the torn ligaments in his pinky finger, Ottawa’s offence is in fine hands.

– Though the aerial attack will get most of the attention, Ottawa’s ground game was in great shape with RBs Travon Van and Kienan LaFrance combining for 138 hard earned yards. Before getting hurt, Van bounced back from an underwhelming season opener in a big way, running much more decisively and aggressively. Once he left the game, LaFrance filled in admirably, running downhill and punishing defenders with his 210 pound frame. With Van set to miss a few weeks, you can count on Ottawa bringing in another running back this week.

– Chris Williams is on pace for a 3267 yard season. Let that sink in for a moment. Obviously his numbers will drop at some point, though after two games and a league leading 363 receiving yards, it might not be any time soon. Perhaps even more impressive than the numbers themselves is how he’s getting them. Williams has hauled in long bombs, turned short screens into long runs and caught passes over the middle before dekeing his way through the opposing secondary.

– While it was good to see Aston Whiteside get his first sack of the season, his takedown was the only time Ottawa got to the QB all night. The Redblacks’ lack of pass rush is extremely apparent and must be addressed because right now they’re leaning too heavily on Whiteside, Zack Evans and Gascon-Nadon.

– New punter Zach Medeiros had a heck of a first game in red and black, hammering the pigskin to the tune of 44.8 yards per punt. More importantly, his hang time allowed the cover units sufficient time to get downfield, limiting Montreal to just 22 return yards on 5 punts.

– I’d be remiss if I didn’t wish LB Olivier Goulet-Veilleux a quick recovery from his stomach churning leg fracture. If you haven’t seen the replay, do yourself a favourite and keep it that way. Goulet-Veilleux’s injury is yet another blow to Ottawa’s dwindling Canadian depth.

Others have already chimed in on the Duron Carter issue but here’s a fresh take, why aren’t more people talking about the hit he took to make the catch? He got absolutely lit up by Jermaine Robinson and his after the game comments about not remembering hitting Campbell smelled of a Dennis Wideman cross checking the ref kind of excuse. While I wouldn’t be surprised if he was indeed concussed on the play, I don’t buy that Carter didn’t know what he was doing. Hitting another coach is inexcusable, even if he is a couple of feet on the field. End of story.

– Lastly, huge shout out to the massive contingent of R-Nation who invaded Percival-Molson Memorial Stadium. Ottawa has always been a football town but it seems like the rest of the league is finally starting to realize it. It’s awesome to turn on the game and see nearly an entire section of an opponent’s stadium full of red and black.

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).