Sunday, 28 October 2012

Hamilton 28, Winnipeg 18

And that's a wrap. In the final game that will ever be played at Ivor Wynne Stadium, the Ti-Cats went out and beat the Blue Bombers to send the fans home happy. It was a dreary day and the game was decided pretty much by halftime, but it was nice to watch the Cats win the last game at Ivor Wynne.

This game was won by the defense. All season, people have been saying that if the offense sputtered, the defense wouldn't be good enough to win a game. That proved incorrect on Saturday. Sure, it took until the 18th week of the season for the defense to put in a performance that used to be typical in these parts, but the defense stepped up when they needed to, forcing five turnovers on the afternoon. They even found a way into the end zone. On a day when the offense mostly played a C- game, the defense came through with an A+ performance.

Geoff Tisdale played maybe the best game of his entire career, picking up two interceptions and locking down receivers all afternoon. Tisdale was reacquired to be a steady presence in the secondary, but has been shuffled in and out of the lineup all season. But Tisdale came through on Saturday with a stellar performance.

Another defensive back, and one that I have had no qualms about ripping, had a great game as well: Bo Smith. Smith has been a whipping boy around these parts for some time, but after his return a couple seasons ago from the New York Jets he played like a different player. He continued that play this season before getting injured and missing a dozen or so games. Smith returned to the lineup yesterday and made fans wonder how good the secondary could have been with him healthy all season.

The offense left a lot to be desired, especially in the second half. The Ti-Cats took a 22-3 lead into the locker room and seemed to take their foot off the gas during the final 30 minutes. They allowed Winnipeg to hang around for a little too long, but the luckily the defense bailed them out with key stops.

Much like his play, I've run hot and cold on Henry Burris all season. Yesterday, while he wasn't horrible, he did throw a lot of bad balls. He was over- and under-throwing receivers all afternoon and never seemed to find a rhythm. It is typical of Burris to have a less than decent game after having a pretty good one, and the opposite is also true. If Saturday's game was a mediocre one from Burris, he should be able to light up the scoreboard next week.

Final Thoughts
So that is it; there will never be another game played on the turf at Ivor Wynne Stadium. The Argos made that official with their win over Saskatchewan just a few hours after this game. The Ti-Cats playoff hopes now rest in not just their hands, but in the hands of the Montreal Alouettes and Calgary Stampeders.

For Hamilton to make the playoffs and head to Toronto for the East Division Semi-Final, they have to take care of business themselves next week in Toronto. But they also need to see Edmonton fall to Montreal later this afternoon and to Calgary next Friday. If Edmonton can find a way to win or tie one of those two games, the season will be over for the Ti-Cats.

But more than just the season is over at Ivor Wynne. It now has a date with the wreaking ball. A day that I never truly believed would come is almost here. But at least the Ti-Cats sent the stadium out the right way: with one last win.

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