Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Toronto 33, Hamilton 30

That was definitely not how I expected the final Labour Day Classic played at Ivor Wynne Stadium to turn out. I honestly believe that the Ti-Cats would destroy the Argonauts. But another second-half lead evaporates and the team is now very close to must-win territory after losing their fourth in a row, this time 33-30 to the Argos.


I should probably just call this the "Chris Williams Section" and move on. I hate to think of where this team would be without Williams. Another punt return for a touchdown, his record-breaking sixth return for a touchdown this season, made him the first player in CFL history to score on a punt return in three straight games. He is single-handedly trying to get this team into the playoffs and is by far the best player on this team.

I was very impressed with newcomer Brock Campbell. Filling in for Markeith Knowlton and Carlos Thomas at one of the toughest positions on a CFL defense, Campbell made a few plays and didn't look to make many mistakes. With both Knowlton and Thomas injured, the Cats might be alright with Campbell manning that position for the time being.

Dee Webb came to play yesterday. His biggest play was a blocked a field goal, but he was around the ball the entire game. Webb put together perhaps his best game since being traded to Hamilton last year and he is establishing himself as the key cog in the secondary.


This loss falls 100 per cent on the offense. People will look at the final score, see that the Ti-Cats scored 30 points and think that the defense once again let the team down. Don't let numbers fool you; the offense was the weak link today. When they had the wind in the third quarter all they could muster was six points on two field goals. When you have the wind you are supposed to take advantage and try to build a lead. The Ti-Cats could have really put things away if they could have scored touchdowns instead of settling for field goals once again. The offense was supposed to be the strongest unit and now it is becoming a big liability.

Staying with the offense (which is what this entire section will be about), all the fears I had back in January when Henry Burris was acquired are starting to creep back up. What happened to the player that was on pace to set league and team records? What happened to the guy who looked poised and confident at all times? Since the bye week, Burris has been extraordinarily ordinary, with his 13-for-30 passing performance being the latest example of his ordinariness. He has regressed as the season has gone on and I am starting to worry that the player that got himself benched in Calgary is starting to resurface. That player of the month award for July sure seems like a long time ago.

Finally, will someone please tell me where I can find Andy Fantuz? The guy as been invisible the last couple of games. I know teams try to take him away, but he has just four catches for 49 yards the last two weeks. The team did a lot to bring him here and you'd have to consider his first half season in Hamilton to be a failure. Yes, he had a big catch called back on a penalty, but he also tipped a pass that landed in the hands of Patrick Watkins for an interception. Fantuz has so far not been the difference maker he was brought in to be.

Final Thoughts

Entering the season I was sure about three things. One, the Ti-Cats would win on opening day; two, they'd win on Labour Day; three, they'd win the final game at Ivor Wynne Stadium. So far I am wrong on the first two and I sit here writing this and wonder if I am going to be wrong about all three. I try to stay positive as much as I can, but I say this with all sincerity: I don't know if this team will win another game this year.

Chris Williams can only do so much and if they keep asking him to carry the team on his back, like he is doing now, he is going to get burned out. The offense and the defense have to figure things out before this season gets away from them.

There just seems to be something missing from this team, but the Grey Cup expectations that were on this club did not come from the fan base, they came from the team's own front office that told us all that making changes needed to be done to make the team "more better." Well, 3-6 after Labour Day and losing to the Argos is nowhere near "more better."

The Ti-Cats have now lost four in a row and things don't get any easier. They have very little time to lick their wounds before they head down the highway to take on the Argos at Rogers Centre SkyDome on Saturday afternoon. If the Ti-Cats don't find a way to win that one, this season could be over. I'm not ready to throw the towel in just yet, but in less than a week's time my attitude could be very different.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you - the defense certainly didn't hold up when it counted, but of the 22 points (TWENTY-TWO!) the Argos scored in the 4th, 9 were handed to them by the offense. 13 is still too many to give up, but without the safety and the pick-6 the boys in blue and white would have fallen short, all else staying the same.

    The offense failed to capitalize on beauty field position courtesy of Owens. The offense failed to punch 6 from inside the 10. The offense failed to get the ball into the hands of their BEST player more than one time! Ugh, it frustrates and boggles the mind.

    Until the defense can prove it's up to the task of stopping other teams in critical situations (never mind on a regular basis in all situations), this offense needs to get going again. Burris isn't playing well, but he's hardly the only one guilty of under-performing and making key mistakes.