That was a great game! So much fun to watch. The Cats started out on fire, taking an early 21-7 lead; then BC stormed back to tie it; then it was back and forth for the rest of the game. The Cats never trailed, only being tied near the end of the game. Great win that will hopefully quell all the talk. Was it a great win? No, but not every win has to be. To go to Vancouver and win is big for any team, and the Cats have now done that in three consecutive seasons.
There is only one place to start, and that is with Chris Williams. That was a monster game by the diminutive New Mexico State grad. Williams took the first pass of the game over 70 yards, followed it up with a big catch on a tipped pass, and capped it with a TD. That was all in the first half! Williams was quieter in the second half, but he still racked up 189 yards on eight catches. Williams could be to the Ti-Cats what Weston Dressler has become to Saskatchewan, and he has put that debacle in Edmonton behind him. Williams was filling in for an injured Maurice Mann, but he's making it awfully difficult to take him out of the lineup.
It started with a huge Special Teams tackle by Rey Williams, then it continued with a big sack by Jamall Johnson and it ended with Markeith Knowlton making a big play that basically ended the game. Is there any doubt that Hamilton's Linebackers come to play every second of every game? Not in my mind. They're so great that they often get overlooked because it's expected, but I wouldn't trade any of these guys for anything. Great game by the 'Backers.
On more than a few occasions, Justin Hickman made Ben Archibald – last year's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman – look like a raw rookie. Hickman beat on Archibald like he owed him money. Hickman was also a bonehead, but that will be detailed later.
There was a reason that the Tiger-Cats signed Avon Cobourne, and tonight was that reason. When the Cats needed to salt the game away, they handed the ball to the man known as "Deuces" and let him do his thing. Cobourne rushed for his first 100-yard game in Black & Gold. He ran for most of those yards on one run at the end of the fourth, but that run put the game away.
Coming into the season, the Secondary was a source of concern. While there were some rough patches, I think the Secondary has come together rather nicely. Bo Smith, a guy I have ripped in the past, has turned into one of the better Defensive Backs on the Cats; Ryan Hinds continues to impress me more and more each week; and Marcel Young improves each week. Carlos Thomas didn't have the best game, but he was matched up against Geroy Simon, which is hard for even the most seasoned of DBs. That said, Simon was shut out in the first half, so the Secondary did something right. In any event, the Secondary has turned into a bright spot for the team so far in this young season.
I said I'd touch on this, but Justin Hickman's two penalties led to a CB touchdown. One was a very questionable late-hit call, especially in light of a later hit by Keron Williams on Kevin Glenn that went uncalled, but the penalties hurt the Cats. Without those calls, the Lions don't score, and if they don't score, this is a different game.
There was some incredibly bad tackling in this game. Jamal Robertson is always hard to bring down on the first hit, but he ran over more than his fair share of Ti-Cat defenders. There were also some missed tackles on Lions Receivers as well. Players need to wrap up and not go for arm tackles so often.
The Lions couldn't run on a team full of armless torsos the first three weeks, but they ran over the Cats tonight. Jamal Robertson got his groove back, but BC also made a concerted effort to get the run game going. In any event, Hamilton's run 'D' needs to be better going forward.
After last week's win, people wanted to put it on the awfulness that is the Saskatchewan Roughriders. This week, I'm sure people will say, "Big deal, the Cats have won against two winless teams." But in my books, a win is a win is a win. The Cats have now won two in a row and have looked better in each game. Confidence is building on this team, and that can be contagious.
But next week is without a doubt the biggest test of the season for the Tabbies. Coming to town is the undefeated (yes, I am presuming that the Als will beat Saskatchewan) and two-time defending Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes. The Cats are going to need to bring their A-game. Next week is going to be great.
But next week is next week, and the team has earned the right to celebrate this win. This game was everything I love about the CFL. Great win by the Cats.