BY: Jeff Schneberk
The Tiger-Cats are guilty of fucking around with each one of their fans.
After an absolutely pathetic showing last weekend against the exact same team, the Ti-Cats came back to trounce the Alouettes and lay claim to second spot in the CFL east heading into the post season.
They also guaranteed themselves a playoff game at home (in Guelph, which is not Hamilton lol).
After playing mediocre football at best over the past 3 months, Hamilton has finally managed to do what so many doubted they could ever do, and that’s making the playoffs, with a game at Guelph Stadium.
There are going to be a shitload of people around Steeltown that will be too fucking nervous to watch any of that game, myself being one of them. Behind the Leafs and the Irish, Hamilton football falls about 3/4s of the way down my list of important sports.
All of these afternoon games are just nuts too. Who has time on a Saturday at 1pm to watch CFL???!
Brandon Banks ran 107 yards into the Montreal end zone, which secured a playoff berth for his Ti-Cats, as well as a game at home.
“All I had to do was catch the ball and run down the sideline,” said Banks, who only signed with the Hamilton CFL club about 3 weeks ago; that came after 3 seasons of playing NFL ball with the Washington Redskins. If all that isn’t irony, I don’t what is.
He is modest, too:
“It was the other 11 guys working their asses off getting me great blocks.”
When Montreal kicker Sean Whyte missed a 42-yard FG attempt with a little more than 4 minutes remaining in regulation, Banks caught the missed attempt and ran it all the way down the sidelines doing something we hadn’t seen in Hamilton since Chris Williams. That upped to score to 27-23 Hamilton advantage; the crazy part is it was Hamilton’s first lead of the game.
Montreal ‘replacement’ QB Troy Smith had the ‘Cats in a very familiar situation –trailing.
Smith, making his second start of the season, threw two TD passes and two interceptions.
His impressive play had the ‘Cats down 23-10 early in the fourth and the Alouettes were driving when Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence intercepted Smith at the Montreal 51 and ran it to the 45. On the next play, Banks took the hand-off and turned upfield for a 45-yard TD run and the Ticats found themselves down just 23-17 with almost 12 minutes left in the game.
Then Hamilton kicker Luca Congi brought them to within three when he kicked a 25-yard FG.
When Whyte missed his 42-yard field goal attempt short due to a high snap, the ball was caught by Banks and run up the left sideline 107 yards for the TD and a 27-23 Hamilton lead.
Whyte said after the game that the ball wasn’t on the tee properly when he kicked it. He said he didn’t see Banks return the kick. He could only hear the crowd’s reaction.
Whyte later missed his second field-goal attempt for a single and the lead was cut to 27-24 with a little more than two minutes left.
When Austin was told of Whyte’s comments, he responded that he also had issues: “We can sit here ’til midnight if you want to play that game.”
The Alouettes got the ball back on their own 17 with 18 seconds left in the game, but they couldn’t make anything of it.
Smith and Montreal struck first, midway through the first quarter when he hit Green for a 55-yard gain to set up the Als at the Hamilton 14-yard line.
Two plays later, Smith again hit Green, who turned and stretched his arms out for the TD and a 7-0 lead.
A couple series later, after it looked like the Ticats were moving the ball, a Burris throw landed in the hands of Montreal’s Tisdale after intended receiver Brandon Banks missed a route. Tisdale returned it 64 yards for the score and a 14-0 lead.
It could have been worse, if not for two Alouettes turnovers deep in Ticat territory. It looked like they were going to open up a huge lead when they opened the second quarter with a 51-yard drive that ate up 5:27 on the clock and had the ball at the Hamilton 25. But it came to a halt when Duron Carter batted the ball up in the air and it was intercepted by Hamilton defensive back Rico Murray at the Hamilton 15.
Still, that play failed to change the momentum as the Ticats went two-and-out and the snap went over punter Josh Bartel’s head and into the end zone, forcing him to kick it out and concede the safety.
Montreal threatened again, moving the ball to the Hamilton 21 before Bo Bowling fumbled the ball at the 11 and Hamilton’s Brandon Isaac recovered.
The Ticats finally got on the board with 1:05 left in the half when a 71-yard drive stalled and ended with a 22-yard field goal. It was the sixth straight quarter, going back to last week’s Montreal win, in which the Als had kept Hamilton out of the end zone.
That changed with the Ticats’ first possession of the third. Hamilton drove 72 yards in seven plays using the quarterback tandem of Burris and Masoli. It was Masoli who lofted the ball to Gable for the 12-yard TD midway through the quarter as the Ticats pulled to 16-10.
Smith and the Als answered immediately with a 79-yard drive culminating with a 63-yard catch-and-run TD from Smith to Carter and a 23-10 lead.
The win puts Hamilton one game above the .500 mark for the first time this season, and they will have one shot to go 2 games over when they head to Investor’s Group Field in Winnipeg next Saturday for what will hopefully be their final afternoon start of the season (2pm).