Sunday 8 August 2010

Hamilton 29, Winnipeg 22

Hey, Doug Brown, you couldn't get the win, so go back to that great metropolis known as Winnipeg. Oh, and SUCK IT! OK, with that out of the way, I have to say this was a very competitive game. Both teams looked equally good and equally bad at times, and next week's game in Winnipeg should be a doozy.

Once again, Arland Bruce will lead this off. It looks like the Saskatchewan game was the beginning. While he still dropped a few catchable passes, Bruce went off for another stellar game. Bruce is clearly the Cats' biggest playmaker, and with the ball in his hands, Bruce does good things. And is it just me, or does it seem that no matter what coverage the defense plays, Bruce finds a way to get open? Bruce, right now, is on fire.

Any talk of pulling Kevin Glenn was premature and, quite frankly, ridiculous. He had what is becoming a typical day for him. He passed for 371 yards and three TDs, and was hitting players all over the field. His completion percentage wasn't great, but his WRs didn't help by dropping some very catchable passes.

Matt Carter and Adam Nicolson did what their predecessor Chris Bauman could not do: they held onto the football. Neither had eye-popping stats, but when the ball went their way, they hauled it in. That's all you can really ask for.

Another very good game from the Defense. They are still playing that bend-but-don't-break style, and tonight it worked. The Linebackers played great, as usual. I expect nothing less than excellence out of Knowlton, Floyd and Johnson. But the D-Line needs to be shown some love as well. Justin Hickman, Khari Long and Garrett McIntyre made Steven Jyles's life miserable. They were getting constant pressure, and McIntyre made the game-winning sack.

One final shout-out needs to go to us, the fans. Tonight was one of the loudest I've ever heard Ivor Wynne for a game that wasn't a playoff game or Labour Day. I can only imagine how loud it sounded on the field, but that's the type of atmosphere that we need to create. Great job, fans.

As everyone who watches knows, the running game is still a big problem. Many people want to blame DeAndra' Cobb, and I'll admit that he hasn't looked good, but I think most of the blame lies with the Offensive Line. As a former O-Lineman myself, I am loath to put any blame on the big guys up front, but it just seems like they aren't making any holes for Cobb. Now, from where I sit in Ivor Wynne, it is hard to tell, so if anyone watched on television and has a different perspective, please feel free to chime in. No matter what the problem is, it needs to be fixed soon.

The other area that still seems to be an issue is the Secondary. They simply give up too many big plays. The Brock Ralph catch on the second-to-last play of the game is inexcusable. That should never happen. Rule number one of playing Defense with a lead is,don't let anyone get behind you. The DBs also seemed to bite on the pump fake a lot. Just like the running game, the Secondary needs to be shored up soon.

Final Thoughts
This was far from a perfect game. The Cats looked terrible for most of the first quarter, but lucky for them, it didn't hurt them this week. The Cats and Bombers are two very equally matched teams, and when teams are close, the home team usually prevails. This week, Hamilton played at home. Next week, in an equally important game, the Bombers will be the humble hosts. The Cats will need to play better to beat Winnipeg in Winnipeg.

All week I've said that the next five games would dictate the season for the Cats. Well, this was the first week, and the Cats are 1-0, with four left. I said the Tabbies would have to win, at a minimum, three of those five to remain in the playoff race. Tonight, they got the first one. Now it's time to go on the road and finally pick up a win. I expect next week's tilt in Winnipeg to be very similar to this week's game. Hopefully, the Cats will play better and do enough to win.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's celebrate this week's win and worry about next week, next week.

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