HAMILTON TIGER-CATS GAME REPORT – WEEK 7: Ticats Defence Stifles Perfect Bombers Despite Losing Masoli
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Friday, July 26, 2019
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS 23 – WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS 15
HAMILTON, ON – Defence and Special Teams held fast for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as they handed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers their first loss of the season Friday night.
Hamilton forced three fumbles and caught three interceptions for a total of six forced turnovers in the win. Jumal Rolle caught 2 of the Matt Nichols interceptions, the first of which was just over 5 minutes in and resulted in Hamilton’s second touchdown of the 1st quarter.
Nick Shorthill and Justin Tuggle led the way on defence with nine and six tackles respectively and the third interception of the night was caught by Tunde Adeleke.
DL Adrian Tracy was credited with the Ticats’ lone quarterback sack that shut down Winnipeg’s late-game comeback hopes.
On special teams, Mike Daley stood out with 4 tackles and a fumble recovery, while K/P Lirim Hajrullahu was stellar. He hit all 3 field goals, including a 42 yarder and punted a total of 432 yards, the longest of which was a 62-yard boot.
The Tiger-Cat offence came out to a flying start under Jeramiah Masoli, scoring a touchdown on their first drive and quickly taking advantage of the early Bomber turnover. These 14 points were the most Hamilton has scored in a 1st quarter this season and it seemed like they had fixed their issues with starting on time. Soon afterward however, their momentum turned on a dime.
Masoli scrambled back deep in his own zone and tumbled in a heap with just over 5 minutes left in the 1st quarter. It looked like Masoli turned his ankle but, after some time on the field, he was up and walking back to the sideline.
Masoli was trending towards a strong game and was 6 for 7 and 59 yards on just two drives, despite throwing an interception on their first attempt at 2-point convert.
Backup QB Dane Evans stepped in and threw a weaker game than fans are used to seeing. Just 13 for 25 and 94 yards with an interception early in the 2nd quarter that resulted in Winnipeg’s first score of the game.
It wasn’t all on Evans though. Veteran receivers like Brandon Banks and Luke Tasker were dropping catchable throws and no receiver broke the 50-yard mark, which is unheard of for a winning team. The Defence and Special Teams bailed out the offence multiple times.
Winnipeg’s star kick returner Lucky Whitehead was complete silenced, posting a combined 129 returning yards and no touchdowns.
Despite being without star DB Simoni Lawrence, Hamilton proved their defence is the deepest secondary in the league and will stop at nothing to carry whatever offence they have.
Both teams now hold a 5-1 record and are tied for the top of the CFL standings. Hamilton is the first team of the 2019 season to crack 200 points on offence and remains a team with the fewest points allowed.
Hamilton heads out to Saskatchewan for Week 8 while Winnipeg takes a drive down the QEW to play the Toronto Argonauts.