Six stats that tell the story of the Redblacks’ 2022 season

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

As the year comes to a close, R-Nation is eager to turn the page to a new season. And rightly so. Who wouldn’t want to move on as quickly as possible from a disappointing 4-14 record that once again left them outside of the playoffs, looking in?

But before something can be flushed, it must be processed. With that in mind, here are six stats that help highlight where the 2022 Ottawa Redblacks went wrong.

21.1 per points game

A big reason why Paul LaPolice was relieved of his head coaching and offensive coordinator duties in early October was that his offence had a lot of problems. For instance, the Redblacks somehow managed to run more offensive plays than any other team in the CFL — 1021 plays, averaging 56.7 per game — yet scored a league-low 32 touchdowns.

Their 246 possessions turned into 30 touchdowns, 49 field goals and 112 punts. Ottawa’s offence actually finished the year with more turnovers (38) than touchdowns. They also led the league in two and outs, accomplishing that futile feat 95 times.

One rushing touchdown scored by a non-QB

In 2022, thanks to a variety of injuries, four different running backs carried the ball for the Redblacks. Veteran William Powell had 71 carries, rookie Devonte Williams had 90 carries, and Canadians Jackson Bennett and Brendan Gillanders posted 50 and five carries respectively.

Yet of those 216 total carries to running backs, just one — a five-yard scamper by Powell in Week 4 against the B.C. Lions — resulted in a touchdown.

CFL teams frequently employ quarterback sneaks near their opponent’s end zone, but the lack of running back majors is a damning indictment of how Ottawa’s run game was a non-factor. If the lack of scoring doesn’t convince you, maybe the fact that the team failed to have a single 100-yard rusher through 18 games will.

Opponents scored on 63.3 percent of their trips to the red zone

If you’re wondering how the Redblacks gave up 50 touchdowns — the second most in the league — look no further than the fact that they conceded a league-high 44 big plays to their opponents. In this case, big plays are defined as runs of 20+ yards and passes of 30+ yards.

That susceptibility to big plays combined with opponents converting 47.2 percent of their second down opportunities resulted in Ottawa’s defence surrendering an average of 363.4 yards of offence per game.

When you can’t get off the field, the other team will eventually make their way into your red zone. If you bend, you shouldn’t break but in 2022, the Redblacks bent frequently and broke just as often.

Terry Williams’ 1,347 all-purpose yards

When calculating a player’s all-purpose yards, you need to tally their rushing, receiving and return yardage.

The fact that Terry Williams’ led the team with 1,347 total yards despite only playing in nine games before being traded to the B.C. Lions is a stark reminder that almost all of Ottawa’s playmakers underwhelmed in 2022.

Receiver Jaelon Acklin came the closest to passing William’s tally — with 1169 yards — but was limited to 15 games due to injury and hampered by the fact that he didn’t return kicks. Darvin Adams rounded out Ottawa’s top three yardage producers with 949 yards through 18 games.

The guy who triggered Williams’ trade to the Lions — DeVonte Dedmon — managed just 495 yards through the six games he was healthy enough to suit up for. Dedmon’s total would likely have been much higher had teams not constantly kicked away from him or if his head coach/offensive coordinator had made more of a concerted effort to get the ball into his hands in space on offence.

0-9 at home

For the first time since 1934, Ottawa’s pro football team failed to record a single win at Lansdowne. The team’s poor performance in the friendly confines of TD Place isn’t something new either. Not only has the team dropped 23 of their past 24 home contests, since the franchise’s inception in 2014, the Redblacks are 25-50-2 when playing in front of R-Nation.

It’s easily one of the most bizarre things about the organization. 

1-9 when trailing at the half

In 10 of the 18 games they played this season, the Redblacks trailed after 30 minutes of play. Only once did they manage to come back and win the game — that came during Bob Dyce’s time as interim head coach.

More than anything else, this stat speaks to an intense lack of adjustments from the coaching staff and to a lesser degree, an inability to overcome adversity by the players.

It’s not fair to call the 2022 Ottawa squad a first-half team, but it’s also worth noting that even when leading at the half, they still only went 2-5. Not only did they struggle to overcome deficits, but they also couldn’t hold onto leads.

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).