Saturday 30 July 2011

Hamilton 34, Montreal 26

The CFL's East Division just got a lot more interesting. Hamilton has now officially broke the Montreal jinx. For the third-straight meeting in Hamilton (two-regular season, one preseason), the Tiger-Cats send Montreal home with a loss. Last year, it was written off as meaningless because the Als had wrapped everything up. The preseason was written off because it's the preseason. The naysayers have lost their ammo, because this game was both meaningful and emphatic.


Avon Cobourne was the focal point all week, and he delivered come game time. He had 126 total yards, running with a purpose whenever he touched the ball. The Avon Cobourne that the Ti-Cats hoped they were getting when they signed him in the off-season is the Avon Cobourne we all saw tonight.

Maurice Mann and Chris Williams have both had big games, and this week it was Dave Stala's turn. Stala scored two TDs, giving him five on the season, and posted his first 100-yard receiving game of the year.

I loved what I saw from Justin Hickman. He had two sacks tonight, continuing his great play over the first month of the season. The combo of Hickman and Baggs is one of the best in the league.

Aside from a short spell in the second quarter, Kevin Glenn was in top form. His passes were crisp and on target for most of the night. This is the second game in a row that Glenn has looked impressive; it seems as if his early-season struggles are now behind him.

I said it last week and I'll say it again: the Ti-Cats Secondary has been great. Some big plays were given up, but there were a lot of times when the DBs lived in the hip pocket of the Montreal Receivers. Calvillo threw for a lot of yards (356), but it came on a lot of attempts (45). The job that Corey Chamblin has done with the Secondary shows why he is the right man to lead this Defense.

I absolutely loved the play calling. Khari Jones really seems to have settled into his role as Offensive Coordinator. My favourite play of the night might have been the Quarterback draw that was called in the fourth quarter. It was the perfect call for that situation. I was big on Jones even before he was hired, but I am especially high on him after the last couple of weeks.


There are some negatives, and one of them is the number of big plays that the Cats gave up. There were a lot of times when Hamilton had Montreal pinned with a second and 10 or more and allowed the first down. The "D" stiffened when it had to, but I wasn't impressed with the number of big plays the Defense gave up.

As much as I hate to say it, I have to ask: is Arland Bruce now irrelevant? Bruce was held without a catch, and he was rarely even looked at. I'm not one to start or perpetrate rumours, but has the emergence of Chris Williams made Arland Bruce expendable? I hope not, because I think Bruce has a lot of good football left in him; however, we could be looking at the beginning of the decline of a great player.

Final Thoughts

Does everyone remember when the Ti-Cats were 0-2 and everyone from the GM to the Head Coach to every player was being booted out of town? Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?

The Cats have now won three in a row, and they've done it in different ways. They won a blowout at home against Saskatchewan; they won a tight one on the road against BC; now they've won a slugfest at home against Montreal. The Cats have proven they can win in many ways.

For the second week in a row, the Cats took the lead and then countered everything their opponent did. The Cats never trailed after they scored their first TD to make it 7-3.

This is starting to look like a team that has taken its lumps and is now ready to win. From here on out, there is no opponent on Hamilton's schedule that can't be overcome.

Hamilton has beaten the one team that everyone said they had to beat to prove they are legit. This was a great team win.

1 comment:

  1. S.J. Green made some unbelievable grabs under great coverage - have to wonder if there was iron in the ball and magnets in his hands.

    Kudos to Medlock for kicking a great game - missed a 56 yarder, no shame in that, and punted very well.

    Ryan Hinds is probably our best DB right now. Smith has impressed me a lot, but Hinds has simply shut down his man so much that QBs don't throw his way.

    CFL officials have to get their act together. There was a lot to call out there, but they called a few head scratchers (Smith's pass interference was questionable) and missed others (long catches on a Montreal TD drive where the receiver who got the ball was clearly offside). I'm clearly using examples where Montreal benefited here and ignoring Hamilton, but the point applies universally.