CFL Pass

RedBlacks dominate as Burris sets record, Stampeders clinch playoffs

noun: domination; plural noun: dominations
     1. the exercise of control or influence over someone or something,
          or the state of being so controlled.
     2. Exactly what the Ottawa RedBlacks did to the Montreal
          Alouettes on Thursday night...

It’s not a surprise that Ottawa beat Montreal at TD Place to sweep the season series – What’s surprising is *how* they did it. The Alouette defense hadn’t given up 30 points all season long until Saskatchewan scored 33 last week and now they have given up 72 points over the past two games. It’s really hard to blame the defense here, considering Boris Bede punted the ball eight times while Brett Maher was only needed on three occasions showing that the defensive unit was on the field *constantly*.

Jim Popp seems to think the defense is a big reason for the 39-17 loss, however.

Montreal was already without starting cornerback Mitchell White in this game before a very scary injury to Jonathan Hefney after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Patrick Lavoie.

Take away Montreal’s two starting cornerbacks and you get a record-setting day from Henry Burris.

Former record holder Anthony Calvillo, offensive coordinator for the Alouettes, had a front row seat for Burris’ legendary night and couldn’t do a thing about it. Burris even spoke about the time he was snubbed for the Most Outstanding Player Award in 2008 despite leading the CFL in passing yards and leading the Stampeders to the best record in the league. Henry finally returned the favour to Calvillo.

The RedBlacks now sit in second place just behind the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL’s East Division. Ottawa fans are happy with the 8-5 record but Ottawa’s critics say the RedBlacks haven’t beaten a team with a record better than .500 yet this season. [Correction: The RedBlacks beat the Calgary Stampeders, then 2-1, back in week five. –Ed.] And the critics are right: Playoff success will be hard to come by until Ottawa starts getting some wins over the CFL’s top-tier teams.

While excitement already surrounds next year’s Grey Cup at Toronto’s BMO Field, the 103rd edition of the big game is looming and the Stampeders are the first team to officially clinch the playoffs.

PS – Ottawa’s win keeps the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ playoff hopes alive. Woo hoo!

– written by Travis Currah