The Ottawa Redblacks 2019 campaign was the second worst in franchise history, topped only by the franchise’s inaugural 2-16 expansion season.
Here are six stats that tell the story of the Redblacks’ woeful year.
No running back touchdowns
In 2019, the Redblacks’ offence ran an average of 56.4 plays per game. If you multiply that by 18 you get 1,015. In those 1,015 offensive plays, not one single time did a running back cross the goal line.
In fact, until quarterback Jonathon Jennings plunged into the end zone in the Redblacks’ regular season finale, Ottawa didn’t have a single player other than quarterback Dominque Davis score a rushing touchdown. That stat becomes even wilder when you remember that Davis missed a pair of games to injury.
How appalling was the attack directed by Ottawa’s offensive committee? It was so abysmal that over the course of 18 games, it generated a league-low 20 touchdowns (nine rushing, 11 passing). That works out to an average of 1.1 offensive touchdowns per game in the CFL, a league with rules designed to promote offence and scoring.
The Redblacks’ committee was so ineffective that despite running the third most amount of plays from scrimmage, Ottawa led the league in two-and-outs (120), generated the fewest first downs (313), were dead last in time of possession (26:33 per game), had the most turnovers (52), and scored 12 points (or less) a whopping seven times.
185 catches for 2,025 yards and two touchdowns
That’s the production from everyone in Ottawa’s receiving corps not named Dominique Rhymes and Brad Sinopoli. The duo produced head and shoulders above everyone else who suited up at receiver for the Redblacks in 2019, snagging 137 passes for 1,727 yards and eight touchdowns.
As for the other baker’s dozen who stepped onto the field for Ottawa at the receiver position, between the 13 of them (RJ Harris, Caleb Holley, Nate Behar, Noel Thomas, Julian Feoli-Gudino, Jerminic Smith, Seth Coate, Devonte Dedmon, Rafael Araujo-Lopes, Marco Dubois, Jacob Scarfone, Wesley Lewis and Ryan Lankford), Harris led the way despite missing four games with injury.
11 receivers caught less than 17 passes. Eight caught less than eight. One (Lankford) caught none. Three were released (Thomas, Lankford and Feoli-Gudino). Aside from Harris none of the other 12 caught a touchdown.
That’s how long the Redblacks’ defence averaged on the field per game. No other defence in the league spent as long on the field in 2019. No wonder the Redblacks were the worst defence in the CFL in nearly every statistical category.
Ottawa allowed opponents to run the most plays (60.5) per game, generate the most offence (415.4 yards) and thus score the most points (31.3).
Some of that boils down to a lack of execution but much more is due to being on the field for too long. There’s a point when the offence is so unproductive that it hurts their teammates on the other side of the ball. Ottawa found (and blew past) that line.
Too often the defence got a stop or forced a turnover only to trot back onto the field two unproductive plays later. Talk about demoralizing.
24 players on the six-game injured list
Injuries are never an excuse; every team deals with them, but what separates the good teams from bad ones is the ability to draw on their depth to overcome said issues.
Unfortunately for the Redblacks, no team is constructed with the idea of having two dozen players spend significant time on the six-game injured list.
Here is a breakdown of which positions those injuries hit:
Running backs: John Crockett
Offensive linemen: Nolan MacMillan, Jason Lauzon-Séguin, Andrew Pickett, Dan Omara
Receivers: Jacob Scarfone, Seth Coate, Rafael Araujo-Lopes
Defensive linemen: Michael Klassen, Danny Mason, Kene Onyeka
Linebackers: Avery Williams, Shaheed Salmon, Kevin Francis, Jerod Fernandez
Defensive backs: Antoine Pruneau, Jonathan Rose, Corey Tindal, Kishawn McClain, Maurice Fleming Jr., Mickael Côté
Returners: Troy Stoudermire, DeVonte Dedmon, Stefan Logan
To sum up, a lot of talent spent a lot of time on the sidelines rather than on the field for the Redblacks in 2019.
1-8 at home
In any sport, home games are supposed to be an advantage and provide a boost for the local team. But as has been the case since their inception, the Redblacks continued to suffer from an intense lack of home cooking in 2019.
After winning their home opener in a 44-41 thriller over Saskatchewan on June 20, the Redblacks failed to win any of their remaining home games at TD Place.
Ottawa finished with a 1-8 home record despite averaging 22,615 rabid fans in the stands each week.
As mentioned above, for whatever reason the Redblacks have never been good at home, going 24-35 in six seasons at Lansdowne.