Gott steals the show (& nine other thoughts on the Redblacks win over the Argos)

In front of an announced attendance of 22,185, a Redblacks squad light on starters finished the regular season on a high, beating the Toronto Argonauts 24-9 at TD Place.

Here are all my thoughts on the game:

1) With Trevor Harris resting up for the East Final, Dominique Davis had his longest chunk of playing time this season. Davis was under centre for the game’s opening thirty minutes and performed well. He spread the ball around to six different receivers while completing 69% of his passes (16/23) for 220 yards and a touchdown. Davis made a number of good throws but seemed to show a bit of extra chemistry with Dominique Rhymes and Julian Feoli-Gudino.

One thing that really stood out was Davis’ ability to keep his eyes down the field while using his legs. Davis repeatedly moved the pocket, avoided pressure and bought time when necessary, all while scanning the field to find open receivers.

Of the seven drives Davis led, two resulted in scores (a touchdown and a field goal) and five in punts. Overall, it was a confidence building outing. Davis showed that if called upon in the playoffs, he’ll be more than capable of directing the offence.

2) As for the other quarterback Ottawa used against Toronto, Danny Collins’ outing was less than stellar. His first pass of the night was almost picked off and things didn’t get much better from there. Collins finished the night with 5/10 completions for 49 yards. It’s rare for teams to be able to evaluate depth players in regular season action, but surely GM Marcel Desjardins was hoping for a bit more from his third string quarterback.

3) Solid night at the office for offensive coordinator Jamie Elizondo. Even without his starting quarterback, running back, top three receivers and half of his offensive line, Elizondo still managed to put together a game plan that finished the night with 378 yards of net offence.

The Redblacks were 11/24 on second down conversions (46%), 1/2 in the red zone (50%) and 1/1 on two point conversions.

4) Strong performance from Mossis Madu at running back. Last week against the Ticats, Madu blocked well in pass protection but struggled to find open lanes. Against the Argos, he yet again blocked well but also averaged a healthy 5.6 yards per carry. Madu’s 14 carries resulted in 78 yards and a touchdown.

5) With Greg Ellingson, Brad Sinopoli and Diontae Spencer on the sidelines, there was plenty of opportunity for some of Ottawa’s lesser known receivers to step up. Dominique Rhymes turned ten targets into six catches for 101 yards. He was Mr. Second Down, moving the chains with four of his catches. He also made one of the best displays of concentration I’ve seen in a long time.

Not to be outdone, Seth Coate had an impressive catch of his own.

Coate finished the game with four catches for 53 yards. As for the rest of Ottawa’s receiving corps, Noel Thomas snagged four passes for 48 yards, Julian Feoli-Gudino had three for 55 yards and a touchdown and 2018 2nd round pick Marco Dubois had two for 8 yards.

6) Another week, another solid performance from Noel Thorpe’s defence. Even if the Argo’s offence isn’t overly impressive, the fact that Ottawa managed to keep them out of the end zone, force a safety, two fumbles, an interception and two turnovers on downs, is.

Led by huge performances from linebackers Kevin Brown (eight tackles and a sack) and Avery Williams (eight tackles and a forced fumble), the Redblacks’ defence bent but never broke. Toronto drove into the red zone three times but came up empty each time. Of the Argo’s 14 possessions, only three resulted in points (and all were field goals).

Defensive stat of the night? The Argos ran four third down plays for a total for -5 yards.

7) What more can be said about Ottawa’s nominee for Most Outstanding Rookie and Most Outstanding Special Teams? With field goals good from 10 and 32 yards, Lewis Ward extend his streak of consecutive field goals made to 48.

8) Didn’t think I could like Jon Gott any more than I already did. I was wrong.

Everything about Gott’s celebration was epic. The chug, the can crush, the pure joy on his teammates faces as they watched the beer drip down his beard. After the game he admitted that it’s something he’d be considering for years. Given how the ten year vet’s season has gone (going from starter to backup to starter again), it was neat to see him have a special moment that cements his legacy in the nation’s capital.

9) With the win, Rick Campbell’s squad finishes the 2018 regular season with an 11-7 record. It is Ottawa’s best finish since 2015, when they went 12-6. Although the game against Toronto counted for nothing in the standings, the film will help Marcel Desjardins evaluate his roster depth heading into the off-season.

Despite having the bye week, the Redblacks will remain in Ottawa and continue to practice in advance of the Nov. 18th East Final. While it remains to be seen who their opponent is, either Hamilton or BC will have their hands full coming to what will surely be a sold out and raucous TD Place.

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).