In a game they had to have, all three areas of the Tiger-Cat team showed up to contribute to an epic 51-8 beat down of the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday afternoon.
It didn’t look so great in the early going for the Ticats. They gave up two sacks on their first two offensive drives, a big pass play from Kerry Joseph to Fred Stamps that set up a touchdown by Jerome Messam and when the first quarter ended it was 8-0 for the visitors. The Eskimos wouldn’t score again.
A trio of Luca Congi field goals put the Ticats up 9-8, but the play of the game, and perhaps the turning point play of the Tiger-Cats’ season occurred on the final play of the half. After a Henry Burris interception, the Eskimos set up for a field goal on the final play of the first half, but it was block by Dee Webb and scooped up by Bakari Grant, who ran the ball 58 yards for a Tiger-Cat score. The momentum swing was huge and the Ticats took a 16-8 lead into the locker room.
The momentum carried over into the second half. After forcing a two and out, Henry Burris hit Dave Stala for an 87-yard catch and run touchdown, and the Ticats led 23-8. The Eskimos, getting desperate, went for it on third and two deep in their own end, but Brock Campbell stuffed Jerome Messam behind the line of scrimmage and the Ticats took over on downs. On the very next play, Henry Burris hit Andy Fantuz for a 21-yard touchdown for a 30-8 lead and the rout was on.
Hamilton’s next drive was a beautifully orchestrated five-play drive that ended when Burris hit Chris Williams for a 25-yard touchdown and the Ticats led 37-8. But the Ticats weren’t done yet.
After stopping the Eskimos on third down, the Ticats took the ball at their own five-yard line and methodically marched 105 yards for another score, this time a 12-yard run by Avon Cobourne, who had 63 of the team’s 105 yards on the drive, and the Ticats led 44-7. The drive ate up 5:41 of the game clock and all but put to the game to bed. The final score of the game came on a Dee Webb interception that he returned 98 yards for a touchdown to make the final 51-8.
This was Hamilton’s most complete performance to date. Henry Burris, who struggled throughout much of the Ticats’ five-game losing streak, threw for 418 yards and three touchdowns and connected with eight different receivers. Avon Cobourne notched his second straight 100-yard game, picking up 121 yards on 18 carries. Chris Williams had eight catches for 125 yards and one touchdown. The offense had been good, but spotty, during the losing streak and they came out and showed everyone what they are capable of on a week-to-week basis.
But it was the performance of the defense that really opened people’s eyes. The team had five sacks and held the Eskimos to eight points, just the third time the Tiger-Cats have held a team under 30 points all season. There were times when the Eskimos drove, but when the team needed a stop, they got one. The defense has been criticized the entire season and this performance should get people off their back, at least for the next week.
The Ticats now up their record to 4-7 and will try to make it two in a row when they travel to Winnipeg, the place where they lost 32-25 in August, to take on the struggling Blue Bombers next Friday.
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