absolutely demolished the Eskimos yesterday afternoon and I enjoyed every minute of it. While the Ti-Cats didn't play the perfect game, they came darn close. This was a butt whooping.
I'll get to individual players in a second, but I have to say that this win was a total team effort. The offense racked up over 500 yards of offense, the defense forced two turnovers, picked up five sacks, scored a touchdown and held the Eskimos to eight points. The special teams even contributed with a score, and not from a Chris Williams kick return. Everything worked yesterday and everyone deserves equal share for the win. Now the players.
First guy I am going to single out is Dee Webb. Webb has played some very good football since arriving in Hamilton last October, but he had undoubtedly his best game, and made his biggest impact, against Edmonton. Webb was the guy who blocked the second quarter punt that was scooped up by Bakari Grant and returned for a touchdown. That was a game-changing, and perhaps season-changing, play. Later, Webb had his second interception in as many games, but he returned this one for a touchdown. Webb should receive consideration as the league's top defensive player this week, he was that good.
The man who picked up the blocked field goal had a bit of a redemption game himself. Grant dropped three or four catchable passes against Toronto a week ago and found himself in the fans' doghouse. Against Edmonton Grant made a handful clutch catches, including one on a tipped pass, and had the touchdown on the blocked field goal. Grant didn't do much in the second half, but he earned his stripes (no pun intended) in the first half.
Avon Cobourne was a beast out there yesterday and was the single-biggest contributor in the Ti-Cats' five-plus minute drive in the fourth quarter. Cobourne racked up 63 of the team's 105 yards on that series an capped it with his second touchdown of the season. Also, for the second game in a row, Cobourne played special teams (punt coverage) and even picked up a tackle. No matter what happens with rookie phenom Chevon Walker, Cobourne has earned his place and should never be sat again.
The Ti-Cats made a number of trades in the last week and a half to try and fix the defense, and one of those acquisitions, Brandon Peguese, sure came through in his first game in Black & Gold. Peguese wrecked havoc all afternoon and picked up his first sack as a Tiger-Cat. But he wasn't alone; Bruce Davis, Greg Peach, Jermaine McElveen and the rest of the defensive line really stepped their game up. If this is what the defensive line can do, more wins will be forthcoming.
Henry Burris hadn't played great during the losing streak, but he certainly played great on Saturday. He had his first 400-plus yard passing performance as a Tiger-Cats and threw for three touchdowns. Burris now has 27 on the year and is sure to break Kevin Glenn's single-season record. It was a very nice game from Burris, who will probably be named the league's top offensive player for his performance.
It is very hard to find anything bad when a team wins by 43 points, but turnovers were an issue once again. Chris Williams had another fumble and this seems to be the only flaw in his game. He has fumbled way too many times in his CFL career and it is something he has to work on correcting. Burris tossed another two interceptions, but one was not his fault at all. Burris expected his receiver, Williams, to do one thing and he did another. In the end, none of the turnovers made a difference, but it is still something that needs to be corrected.
Playoff hopes that were either called dead or on life support just got a giant shot in the arm. The must-win games began on last Saturday, but the Ti-Cats did claw their way to within a game of a playoff spot with this win. But one win is not enough; the Ti-Cats have to go on a run here. With an upcoming schedule that is rather favourable, the Cats could be back in the mix for the division title before the month is out.
Next up for the Tabbies are the 2-9 Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Bombers have lost their last three games by a combined score of 120-27 and have pretty much quit on the season. It has been a collapse of epic proportions and one that no one really saw coming from the team that represented the East Division in the Grey Cup just one season ago. With the Bombers on the ropes, the Ti-Cats have to deliver the knockout blow next week at CanadInns Stadium.