43-40 loss to the Argos ends the season for the Ti-Cats. It's a disappointing end to a very disappointing season, but if we're being honest, this team really deserve to make the playoffs. I would have cheered them if they did, but being eliminated now let's us all reflect and admit that this team, this 6-12 team, just wasn't good enough. Wherever you want to place the blame – be it on the defense, Burris' turnovers, Cortez's decision-making, all three or something else entirely – the team as a whole just wasn't the team we thought it would be when the season started.
It's hard to look at positives in a game that ended the season. No matter what the team did tonight, they didn't win and that was the only goal for this evening. That said, two players who can walk with their heads held high are Chris Williams and Avon Cobourne. Both guys played their hearts out. Williams had over 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns, including his Tiger-Cat record 16th and 17th touchdowns of the season. Cobourne had 98 yards receiving and one touchdown. The running game wasn't working for the Cats, and it pretty much had to be abandoned the entire second half, but Cobourne found a way to contribute.
There are also a lot of people to kick square in the behind as well, and the list is a familiar one in Tiger-Cat losses: Burris, Cortez and the defense. It's hard to kill a guy who puts up nearly 500 passing yards and tosses four touchdowns, but Burris threw another pick six, his third against the Argos this year and fourth overall, and had another fumble turn into points for the opposition. Those 14 points ended up being a big difference in the game. Like most games this season, when Bad Hank reared his head, the team lost.
Cortez also deserves to be raked over the coals as well. His decision to let the clock run down to two seconds before icing the kicker – a lot of good that did – was the cheery on top of his inedible sundae. It was the latest, and final, rookie mistake he made as a head coach. The team lost more than its fair share of games because of coaching mistakes Cortez made, so it is fitting that the final one would literally end their season.
And of course, we end with the defense. I like to consider myself a patient man, and I even like to consider myself a reasonable man even if I let my fandom take over me on more occasions than I'd like to admit, but this final display from a defense that allowed an astounding 576 points was the straw that broke this camels back. To put that number in perspective, it is the most points given up by a team since the Argos gave up a whopping 627 points in 2008 (the Ti-Cats gave up 598 points that season as well). Nothing about the defense worked this season. Nothing. Aside from a couple of decent outings, they simply could not be relied upon. But the worst part of all is that they gave up 36 points (43 total, but seven came off a Burris interception) to the Argos B, C, and D teams. But based on how the unit played all season, it was unreasonable to expect a repeat performance of last week.
So it is fitting that the three culprits behind most of the Tiger-Cat losses this season – untimely and costly Burris turnovers, baffling decisions by Cortez and a horrendous defense – would be the three main reasons behind this final loss.
So now we go into an off-season without a championship celebration in Hamilton. We head into the off-season trying to figure out where it all went wrong. But that is for later; for now, we simply close the book on the 2012 Tiger-Cat season.