Sunday 25 September 2011

Hamilton 55, Calgary 36

It was like a mini Grey Cup. Fans from around the country were there, and they got a glimpse of how good this Hamilton team can be when everything is clicking. This is the team that dismantled the Roughriders in July and beat the tar out of Montreal on Labour Day. The fans who traveled from far and wide got a heaping helping of what Tiger-Cat football is all about.


The only place to start is with Marcus Thigpen. He was inserted into the starting lineup as a Receiver and shredded the Stampeders' Secondary for 274 total yards and three touchdowns. Now, 118 of those yards and one of those touchdowns came on a beautiful missed field goal return, so Thigpen contributed in many ways on Sunday. But he finished the game with six catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns in his first start at Receiver. Thigpen was the man in Moncton.

When the team lets Justin Hickman and Stevie Baggs pin their ears back and go get the Quarterback, good things happen. The two combined for four tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble, and pretty much made life miserable for Henry Burris. When the two rush ends can get pressure, that makes life easier for the rest of the Defense.

With Thigpen being moved to Receiver, Terry Grant became the primary backup to Avon Cobourne, and while Cobourne's status as the starter is nowhere near in jeopardy, Grant made the most of his Tiger-Cat debut. Grant contributed in the running game with 23 yards on five carries and a touchdown; in the passing game with three receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown; and in the return game, where he had three returns for 103 yards. Grant is another weapon added to what was already a very dangerous, and some might say loaded, Tiger-Cat Offense.

When the Ti-Cats lose, the first player that gets thrown under the bus is Kevin Glenn. But when Glenn is on, he's on. Today, he was on. It wasn't a huge game for number five, but it was a very efficient one. He finished 16 for 23 with 276 yards and three touchdown passes. Glenn is probably the most underappreciated and heavily scrutinized player in the league, but when he's on his game, there are few better. Today, Glenn didn't have to beat the world, but he did play well.


When a team scores 55 points, it is very hard to find negative things to talk about. One such thing was the sickening hit that Matt Carter took. I have witnessed some hellacious hits in my years of watching and playing football, but the hit that Carter took was, in a word, scary. He laid motionless on the field for what seemed like forever, and it was very comforting to see him walk off the field. He needed help, but him just walking off was encouraging. Get well soon, Matt.

On a much less important note, the emergence of Chris Williams and now Marcus Thigpen has relegated Dave Stala and Maurice Mann to also-ran status. The two veteran Receivers have been M.I.A. the last few weeks. It's been five games since Stala scored a touchdown, and Mann hasn't done anything of note since his acrobatic catch against Montreal on Labour Day. Both are highly talented players, but it is troublesome that neither player has really contributed much over the last month.

Final Thoughts

The last time a Tiger-Cat team rolled up at least 55 points was when they beat Saskatchewan 63-17 in 1999. Remember that year?

The Cats played a great game today, but the question remains if they can do it again. This team has been maddeningly inconsistent this year, so it will be important for them to build on the momentum they gained today. If they play this well, they can beat anybody. I think that's what bothers fans so much. We know what this team is capable of when it plays its game: we get outcomes like we saw today. Keep this up and no one will care what happened in mid-September.

Up next for the Cats is a trip to Toronto to take on the Argos. The trash talk has already started for this one, as Argo Linebacker Ejiro Kuale shot his mouth off and guaranteed a victory. It is always fun when the Cats and Argos meet up. Next Saturday will be no different.

1 comment:

  1. Negative: defense gave up 36 and some plays they should be defending better (and tackling!)

    But there has been some progress there, the pass rush was great, and putting Smith and Means at the corners with Young, Hinds, and Shivers inside may just be a promising combination. Chamblin still has work to do.

    Great win though, and it's so good that Carter was able to get up after that hit. If you get a chance to see the replay, it will likely look even worse than it did live - the way his neck bent, and the twitching he was doing after getting knocked out cold, I thought he was going to be carried off on a stretcher (or worse). Hope he'll be alright.