In a TSN interview following the first game of tonight’s Wendy’s Friday Night Football on TSN, Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris had a sly way of avoiding the question.
Interview ( I believe was Dave Randorph of TSN): Henry was it safe to say that tonight’s game was must-win for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats?
Henry Burris: “There was definitely a sense of urgency, We had an intense week of practice. We play good in spurts here and there. We embarrassed ourselves last week (a 35-11 loss to Calgary Stampeders).
Tonight was a much different story, in every way, shape and form.
Henry Burris played like Henry Burris, and for once his receivers helped him out. Hamilton took an early lead and never looked back. Hamilton knocked off the league’s second-best team. When all the dust had settled, Hamilton 33, Toronto 19.
Take that, Argos.
Burris threw two touchdown passes, the second one was a great catch to Bakari Grant, but was an even better throw by Burris, who otherwise would have been chased out of bounds by Toronto linebackers. That strike effectively countered a Toronto comeback attempt. And from there it was more 2-and-outs for Toronto.
For the first time this season, Hamilton went into victory formation (at least I think it was). I don’t recall the last time the ‘Cats won by more than one possession.
It was anything but a happy homecoming for the Toronto Boatmen. If the Maple Leafs are the blue and white, that makes the Argos the ‘other team in blue’. There was nothing to be happy about for the home side, returning to the place sadly named the Rogers Centre, they should re-name it the ArgoDome or something. Toronto returned home riding a 4-game win streak. This team was hot. This team was doing everything right. Then they ran into Hamilton, who put them down 22-6 by the half.
Toronto showed resiliency, pulling to within three points in the fourth quarter.
Then Burris closed the deal in the fourth with a beautiful TD pass to Grant.
“In the second half,-these guys are the defending Grey Cup Champs,” explained the pivot in that same interview. “They had to come out in the 3rd quarter and assert themselves.”
We just had to maintain our composure. It felt good to get the big TD, we were able to seal the deal,” closed Burris.
That TD finished off one of the Ti-Cats longest drives of the entire game and more importantly, cut over three minutes off the clock, too. It was an eight-play, 75-yard drive, in front of 28,467 spectators, including a healthy number of Tabbie supporters.
According to TSN, it was the second-largest gathering at the ArgoDome this season.
“We embarrassed ourselves last week,” Burris reinterated. “Our number 1 focus is focus and not losing perspective.”
Sometimes Mr. Burris sounds a bit like a philosopher, who’s got it all planned out!
“Toronto is where we want to be (not literally of course), maintaining our focus.”
IN the CFL East, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have just inched a little bit closer to Toronto in the standings. With both teams obviously now finished for Week 15, Hamilton is now two wins away from tying Toronto for top spot; and it gets even better as the two teams hook up for another meeting next weekend at Alumni Stadium out in Guelph.
Also tonight, Ticats LB Brandon Isaac made his first appearance in the ArgoDome after being released by the Boatmen earlier this season.
Needless to say, Isaac was more than a little pumped up for this one. He was all over the place.
He had two QB sacks of Toronto’s Zach Collaros and five more tackles. This turned out to be one of Hamilton’s finest defensive efforts all season long. It looks like DC Orlondo Steinauer is finally started to get things right. The defense resembled Swiss cheese last week.
Collaros, who dropped to 4-2 as Toronto’s starter since Ray’s injury, said Hamilton’s defence featured many different wrinkles the Argos weren’t expecting.
“They showed a lot of things we didn’t see on film . . . they did a good job of mixing up coverages and looks,” Collaros said. “You can’t win with field goals, especially against a good team like Hamilton.”
In case there are actually any fans out there already thinking about the re-match, Toronto Head Coach Milanovich does not appear to be among those people.
STATUS OF RICKY RAY
Milanovich was non-commital when asked if Ray would play in the rematch.
“It’s still to be determined,” he said. “I’d like to see him get a little bit better.
An emotional and vocal player on the field, Isaac said Thursday he was looking forward to talking smack with his former teammates but resisted that temptation on the field.
“I thought about it and I didn’t want to be a butt hole,” he said. “I just wanted to show my professionalism that it’s bigger than me.
“They made a decision, they’ve got to live with that decision as well as I did. It was a tough pill to swallow however with this win I’m over it. I can move forward and move in a direction with this organization.
However, it was also apparent the pain of being released still lingers within Isaac.
“I felt kind of betrayed, I felt really let down,” Isaac said. “I felt like if they had a problem with me they could’ve come and addressed me and I would’ve done my best to do better but I wasn’t given that opportunity.I was let go to the wolves and Hamilton took me in and we were able to come in and win a big game. I was given an opportunity that allowed me to do what I do. I’m a blitzing linebacker . . . I know how to do that and I was able to make plays for this team.”
The two teams are now 1-1 against each other in 2013. Hamilton was an Andy Fantuz-catch away from winning way back in week 1 however Toronto prevailed in a close game, also at the ArgoDome.
Burris says he planned to savour the victory but said it really won’t mean much if the Ticats can’t sweep the home-and-home set in Guelph.
“We haven’t won back-to-back games this season and if there’s any time we need to do that it’s right now,” he said. “This is a great test for us at the right time and if we really want it, here’s our opportunity.”
Luke Tasker, C.J Gable and Dan LeFevour had Hamilton’s touchdowns. Lauther booted the converts, a field goal and single while Bartel also had a single.
Waters kicked four field goals and a convert for the Argos.@Game7overtime