Sunday 22 July 2012

Hamilton 39, Montreal 24

For three seasons now I have been writing about the Tiger-Cats. For three seasons I have thought that they could be the best team in the league. For three seasons I have been wrong. But after last night's virtuoso performance by Henry Burris, and the team's obliteration of the Alouettes (the 15-point margin really flattered Montreal), the Cats look to be on the verge of something special and find themselves in a position they have not been in since July 2004: atop the standings in the East Division.


What can be said about Henry Burris? He finished the game going 27 for 30 for 360 yards and four touchdowns. He threw more touchdowns (4) than incompletions (3)! Just think about that for a second. The ball hit the turf more times because of touchdown celebrations than because of dropped passes. His completion percentage was 90. 90! I have seen a lot of excellent quarterback performances, but I have a hard time thinking of a better one that Burris' yesterday.

It looks like Andy Fantuz has found his groove. After finally scoring his first touchdown in Black & Gold last week, Fantuz followed it up by posting his first 100-yard game as a Tiger-Cat. Fantuz was excellent all night; his solid play and reliable hands made him an early, and often, favourite of Burris. After a slow start to the season, Fantuz is starting to look really comfortable in the offense.

I think it is time we put to rest the idea that the Ti-Cats aren't any good on defense. After getting embarrassed by the Riders, the defense has held opposing offenses in check, with last night's performance being the best so far. They pressured Calvillo, they bothered the Montreal receivers and they didn't allow Brandon Whitaker any room to run. They executed perfectly and have been getting better every week.


Where else to start but with the boneheaded move by Chris Williams to begin showboating at about the 15-yard line. It was clearly a hot-dog move and one of the stupidest things I have ever witnessed in person, but to hear that Williams apologized after shows that he knows what he did was dumb. I'm not going to pile on, I just hope the young man has learned his lessen and we don't see a repeat ever again.

Despite an all around great performance, the Tiger-Cats' third-quarter offense still stands out as something that needs to be fixed. The team has scored 10 points in the third quarter in four games, and the lone touchdown did not come on offense, but on a Chris Williams punt return. That means the Ti-Cats offense has been responsible for three points in four third quarters. That is unacceptable. I don't know what the problem is, but a lethargic third allowed the Als to get back into the game, the same way it did Toronto the week before, and is something that needs to be fixed because it bites them in the behind.

Final Thoughts

The Ti-Cats may be 2-2 and tied with the Als and Argos, but this is a team that is clearly trending upwards. They have preformed better each and every week, and look like they are close to putting it all together.

It wasn't too long ago that people were talking about the hex that the Als had on the Ti-Cats. Then Hamilton won 40-3 late in the 2010 season, but that was dismissed as a meaningless game because the Als had wrapped. Then the Ti-Cats took two from the Als in 2011, but those two came in Hamilton and the wonder was whether they could win in Montreal. Then the East Division Semi-Final happened. Add this win into it and Hamilton has taken five of the last seven against Montreal and have won the last four times the two teams have played at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Any talk of hex or jinx or any of that is now long gone.

Next up for the Ti-Cats is a revenge game of sorts as the team travels to Regina to take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders. I think we all recall what happened the last time these two teams met. The Cats will be looking for payback next Saturday evening.

No comments:

Post a Comment