Friday, 23 July 2010

Montreal 37, Hamilton 14

How can one team be so schizophrenic from one week to the next? Last week against the Blue Bombers, the Tiger-Cats' Offense couldn't be stopped; this week against Montreal, they couldn't get started. There was not a lot to be excited about following this week's uninspired performance, but here we go anyway.

The Defense was about the only thing that could be deemed positive following the game. They held Montreal's Offense to 10 points in the first half and held them to field goals on numerous drives inside the Tiger-Cats' 35-yard line.

Arland Bruce finally scored a TD. I guess that too is a positive.

The Offense was able to move the ball rather successfully, but couldn't punch it in. However, that was in the first half; the second half was uglier than John Goodman in a Speedo.

As I said, the Offense was almost non-existant in the second half. Mistake after mistake after mistake crippled the Cats. The worst part is how close the score was to start the second half: it was only 10-6 for Montreal! The Als didn't play particularly well and were very beatable.

Continuing with the Offensive ineptitude, once again the Ti-Cats' goal-line execution left a lot to be desired. This is the second time in three weeks that the Cats have had a 1st and Goal from the one-yard line and failed to score a major. Simply put, that is completely unacceptable.

I have held my tongue regarding our kicking game. I have preached patience with both Sandro DeAngelis and Justin Palardy. I am thisclose to changing that stance. Another Palardy punt was blocked (which, thanks to the Defense, only netted Montreal a field goal), and DeAngelis clanked one off the uprights, contributing to his early-season struggles. With guys like Justin Medlock sitting out there, I can't imagine it will be long before the Cats seriously consider making a change with their two kickers.

Last week I joked about Marcus Thigpen not returning a kick, but this week I do have to be a little hard on the kick returners for Hamilton. Neither Thigpen nor Cobb could get anything going with their returns. The Offense constantly had poor field position because the return teams could not make anything happen.

Last year, DeAndra' Cobb was a revelation. This season, he seems to have disappeared. In the four games so far Cobb has rushed for 137 yards, which equates to 34.25 yards per game. He is getting less than 10 caries per game (39 in four games), but he has still not done much even with his limited carries. No team in any football league, be it professional or amateur, will win games when they have no running game. His fumbling problems persisted as he coughed up the ball on the aforementioned maladroit goal-line attempts. Cobb is quickly beginning to look like a one-year wonder. I have to wonder how long it will be before the Cats look to find someone to 2009 Cobb the 2010 Cobb.

Final Thoughts
I think the only word that can describe this game is 'ugly.' I don't just mean the Tiger-Cats, either. Montreal did not look particularly good, especially in the first half. The Als only looked so good because the Cats looked so bad.

Many, including myself, saw this Week 4 matchup as a big game for the Cats. I don't necessarily think it was a must-win or any sort of measuring-stick game, but if the Cats are to be a great team (which I do still believe the 2010 version can be) then they need to win these games; they need to beat Montreal in Montreal. Moral victories are no longer acceptable. What occurred on Thursday night is even less acceptable.

Next week, the Cats have a similar game when they head to Regina to play the Roughriders. A 37-14 loss there cannot be tolerated. If that happens, it may be another long year in Tigertown.

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