34-12 rout on Friday night.
Since being inserted into the lineup, Avon Cobourne has done nothing but produce. The fire in his belly last night was evident. You heard the TSN announcers say how angry he looked when the Cats decided to kick a field goal instead of go for it on third and one in a one-score game. Cobourne is a leader and while his numbers weren't as gaudy as the previous two weeks, he was probably the best player on the field last night.
If not for the spectacular season Chris Williams is having on returns, more people would be talking about what Luca Congi is accomplishing. Congi has missed two field goals all season and has made every kick over 40 yards. Since one of the concerns heading into the season was Congi's leg strength, it is nice to see that he is becoming reliable from longer distances. Last night, Congi was the only player to register a point for the Ti-Cats. He is a player that has gotten little press this season, but he has been the team's most consistent player all season long.
For most of three seasons, I had to listen to fans (and read comments on here) about how Kevin Glenn wasn't a winner, how he was nothing more than a .500 quarterback and a million other negative comments about him. I want to know where that same criticism of Henry Burris is? Whenever I used numbers to back up any claim I made about Glenn, the horde would just want to talk about wins. Now that Burris has managed just four wins in 12 contests, all I hear from his apologists is stuff about his numbers. Funny how that happens. While I don't think Burris has been the biggest problem with this team – probably not even in the Top 10 – his hot-and-cold play has been the reason behind a couple of losses, this one in particular. Burris was just terrible against Winnipeg. He was missing receivers and he didn't even bother to run (didn't the Cats trade for him because of his running ability?) when the opportunity occurred. To put it bluntly: he sucked. He was everything that fans complained about with Glenn. The upgrade to Burris looks like no upgrade at all and I am starting to wonder when the heat will fall on him.
The other big upgrade the team made in the off-season was ditching Marcel Bellefeuille for George Cortez. Well, George Cortez has spent most of the season making fans wish Bellefeuille was still calling the shots. I want to like Cortez, I truly do, his decision-making leaves a lot to be desired. The one that will stick out in this one was his decision to kick a field goal on third-and-one instead of go for it, which is standard in the CFL. The Cats kicked and Congi hit it, but it was the last time Hamilton would score all night. Why he didn't go for it is a mystery to me.
Penalties absolutely killed them tonight. They took 17, which if you're keeping count at home is five more than the amount of points they scored, for a total of 135 yards. Sure, some of them were specious – Rey Williams being called for "offside" because he had his arm pointing across the line of scrimmage is one of the stupidest calls I have ever seen in my life – but the fact of the matter is, the Ti-Cats once again went to Winnipeg and shot themselves in the foot.
This season is over, isn't it? They aren't winning the Grey Cup, they aren't hosting a playoff game and they probably won't even make the playoffs. This is just a bad football team. Is this the most disappointing season in Tiger-Cat history? I think it is the most disappointing one that I can remember. I know there have been seasons where the team was expected to be good, but most of those followed seasons in which they were bad. This was a team that was one game away from playing for a championship last year, so expectations were sky high and for good reason.
I know a lot of people are ready to quit this team, and I don't blame them one bit, but maybe I just enjoy the punishment because I will continue to solder on. Perhaps out of loyalty or perhaps out of pure idiotic naivety, I won't say the season is truly over until the season is actually over. Until Hamilton has been eliminated from the playoffs, I will hold out hope that they will find a way to turn it around and win the Grey Cup. Is it likely? No, but that won't stop me from believing that anything can happen.