The RedBlacks were put in their place Saturday night at TD Place.
And, the fall wasn’t pretty.
While the good news the expansion RedBlacks finally scored the first TD in the history of TD Place, it did nothing to soften the blow of an ugly 38-14 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Though the club’s second straight sellout of 24,303 probably had a good time, the defending Grey Cup champs schooled the expansion RedBlacks on what it takes to get to the top.
Playing only their second home game in franchise history, the RedBlacks sure were gracious hosts as the Riders played the role of the houseguest who eats all the food, drinks all the beer and then destroys the house.
Only Dobson Collins and Jamill Smith able to score TD’s for the RedBlacks in the club’s worst loss of the season as their record fell to 1-5. The race for the exits started in the fourth quarter.
The RedBlacks may be new to all of this but they were well aware the Roughriders were the toughest test yet. Coach Rick Campbell had warned his troops nothing was going to come easy.
“They were clicking on all cylinders last week and we are going to have to be at our best to beat these guys,” said Campbell as the RedBlacks’ went their final preparations Friday.
Unfortunately, the RedBlacks weren’t up for the challenge and they found out in fairly short order that doesn’t work against the Roughriders. They were just too much for Ottawa to handle.
Yes, people in Ottawa know that this team wasn’t going to be built in day, but the RedBlacks have to be better than they were in this mess. It was terrible in a lot of ways and a lot of areas.
Quarterback Henry Burris, under pressure most of the night, had a tough time getting the offence going while Saskatchewan counterpart Darian Durant picked Ottawa’s defence apart.
The RedBlacks didn’t do nearly a good enough job putting pressure on Durant. The Riders had too many big plays and Burris left with seven minutes left in the fourth in favour of Thomas DeMarco.
An area the RedBlacks have to improve is their discipline. The officiating isn’t great in the CFL, but Ottawa gave them far too many chances to throw the flags by taking 19 penalties..
Trailing 32-7 at the half, the RedBlacks were no match for the Roughriders. They dominated in every aspect as little went right for Ottawa as the club tried to keep pace in a difficult game.
The highlight was the first TD at home in club history. It was not in normal fashion as Collins made a smart play by recovering a loose ball in the end zone after a 73-yard punt by DeMarco.
While Saskatchewan’s Tyron Brackenridge looked on, Collins jumped on the ball and had to wait while Campbell challenged the play to ensure the player was onside. It was ruled a TD.
That came at 5:37 of the second quarter and brought the crowd to life. Only minutes earlier, they had sat in stunned silence when Tristan Jackson took a kick back 111-yards to take a 31-0 lead.
All the RedBlacks have to do is point to a disastrous first quarter. The Roughies pulled out to a 24-0 lead as Ottawa struggled to get its offence going and Burris was intercepted twice.
The RedBlacks just gave Saskatchewan way too many opportunities. Will Ford completed two drives with short runs for TD’s. One was reviewed by the CFL but he clearly broke the goal-line.
To make matters worse, the Roughriders started the night with an eight-play, 78-yard drive to pull out to a 7-0 lead only 4:36 into the game. People weren’t even comfortable in their seats yet.
Durant found a wide open Brett Swain for a 25-yard TD pass. The RedBlacks know they can’t afford to let games get away, especially with the East teams struggling.
“You also want to win as many games at home as you can,” said Campbell. “The atmosphere at home in the last game was awesome. They truly made a difference. We need to cash in on as many home games as we can.”
Actually, the RedBlacks need to forget this one as quickly as possible.
LIVE BLOG RECAP:
The Ottawa RedBlacks have had one home game through five weeks of the CFL season ... and so far it's their only win.
They'll shoot for two-for-two at home on Saturday night when the Saskatchewan Roughriders come to town for a 7 p.m. kickoff at TD Place. Saskatchewan is 2-2 in the powerful west, while Ottawa's 1-3 record (the team had a week one bye) is actually good enough for a share of first in what has been, so far, a weak start for the east division.
The Sun's Tim Baines will be providing updates both prior to and during the game via our live blog, and visual journalist Errol McGihon will also contribute. Follow along starting at about 6 p.m.
If you are using a mobile device, and cannot see the live blog, please click here for a link.