The best Hank: Burris throws six TDs as Ticats lose 44-28 to Redblacks

So the Semi it is.

Ottawa quarterback – and former Ticat – Henry Burris – threw six touchdown passes and set a CFL single season record for completions as Redblacks beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 44-28 on Saturday.

The win means the Redblacks, now 12-6, clinch the East Division and earn a first-round bye. The Ticats finish the season 10-8 and will host the semi-final against the Toronto Argonauts next Sunday at Tim Hortons Field. Hamilton finishes the year by losing three straight and five of seven since starting quarterback Zach Collaros was injured.

With Jeff Mathews also out due to injury, Jacory Harris got the start behind centre for Hamilton but Jeremiah Masoli took over early in the second quarter and went the rest of the way. He provided a much-needed spark – he finished with 148 yards on 11 of 21 passing and a touchdown but he also committed two of the Ticats three turnovers on the night, including a key fourth quarter fumble.

“We lost two receivers early so we needed to have some other options with Jeremiah’s ability to run the football, try and manufacturer some offence,” said Hamilton head coach Kent Austin. “I thought considering the guy hasn’t played very much, he did really well.”

The first quarter was an unmitigated disaster for the Ticats. They gave up 17 points while generating just 13 yards of total offence. A fumble by return man Brandon Banks led to one of two Ottawa touchdowns.

“We got in a hole big early then we battled back and got back into the game but they did a great job converting off our turnovers,” Austin said.

The second half, however, was infinitely – and improbably – better. After a Justin Medlock got the Ticats on the board with a field, Eric Norwood intercepted Ottawa quarterback Henry Burris and returned the ball to the Redblacks’ one yard-line. Masoli punched it in from there.

The Ticats look set to extend their lead with Tiquan Underwood hauled in a long pass from Masoli and stepped out-of-bounds at the Ottawa five, but the play was called back for offensive pass interference. Replays showed little contact and, after losing a touchdown to officiating mistakes last week, the Ticats were on the wrong side of call yet again.

“When the league gets to the point when they’ve had enough and it hits critical mass with the owners and the others in the league and the league has courage to implement things to make the game better and to help our guys on the football field, then they’ll make change,” Austin said. “Otherwise they are going to kept putting up with it. It’s not good for the game.”

But Hamilton then scored 10 points in the final 69 seconds of the half off another Medlock field goal and an Andy Fantuz touchdown catch set up by a long punt return from Terrell Sinkfield. It gave the visitors 20-17 lead heading into the break.

Ottawa responded by ripping off 14 straight points to start the third quarter courtesy of two Henry Burris touchdown passes, the second set up by Masoli fumble, and took a 31-20 lead

With the game slipping away, the Ticats pulled off an onside punt, Rico Murray lining up behind Medlock as he kicked it, then scooping up the loose ball as it bounced on the turf. Murray sprinted into the end zone for a touchdown and the Cats were back within six after a failed two-point convert.

The teams then traded turnovers on back-to-back plays. Simoni Lawrence scooped a fumble and returned it to the Ottawa 19 yard line but Masoli was stripped and Redblacks recovered. Nine plays later, Burris threw his fifth touchdown of the game.

But the Redblacks missed the convert and Banks, back from injury, returned all the way back the other way, giving Hamilton two points. Early in the fourth, Hamilton trailed by nine.

Not for long. Burris ran a flea flicker from their own ten yard line, then finished his 100 yard march with a 32 yard strike to yet another former Ticat in Chris Williams for the touchdown. That made it 44-28 and punched Ottawa’s ticket to the East Final.

Burris finished with 368 yards on 28 of 37 passing and three of his six touchdowns were caught by former Ticat Greg Ellingson, who also became the fourth Ottawa receiver to go over 1,000 yards on the season. Burris’ 481 completion sets on a new CFL single season record and makes him the odds-on favourite to be the league’s Most Outstanding Player.

Meanwhile, Austin declined to name a starting quarterback for next Sunday’s win-or-go-home tilt.

“I need to talk to the staff about it. Some of it is going to do depend on the game plan,” Austin. “We’ll probably get two guys ready.”

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1190 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

85 Comments on The best Hank: Burris throws six TDs as Ticats lose 44-28 to Redblacks

  1. Keep Masoli in for toronto at least we have a chance

    • Are you kidding me? I would have pulled him after that fumble. He just doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket. The play calling was atrocious when he came in. Harris just wasn’t given much of a chance…too short a leash.

  2. Entertaining but disappointing. The road to the Grey Cup is like climbing a cliff now. But …. it can be done.

  3. Where to start, Defence forced turnovers, but then the offence(Masoli) turned it back over to Ottawa. That option play clearly didnt work and they kept using it, resulting in 3,4 fumbles? The Defence as a whole apart from the 2nd quarter couldnt stop that offence all game long, 6 TD passes and 350 yards??. I dunno what happened to our pass rush but norwood laurent hickman cant get pressure alone. The coaching staff and their decisions I was not happy with. PPL need to stop blaming the refs. The Redblacks kicked our asses, fair and square. Maybe if we had an offence that could protect the football (masoli, Matthews) We wouldnt be in the position that were in. What a fkn joke. Unless they clean up their turnovers and stupid penalties(Grant) we aint getting past Toronto. WAKE UP!

    • Agree with you re the turnovers. You know a rookie QB is going to commit them but what Hamilton’s back up QB’s have done, even going back to last year, is disturbing to say the least. I have seen teams, specifically the Lions, play back up QB’s and it’s not even close, ESPECIALLY at critical times in a game. It just sucks the wind out of a team. Funny thing (or should I say sad thing) is it seems like the opposite when the TC’s play a backup QB they make them shine (ie. Marsh, Jennings etc.). Go figure.

    • Turnovers will kill … but then again, from what I recall being at the game – the option play was one turnover of four.

      Banks started the parade off, then the option play, then Sinkefield on a running play and finally the blind side blitz.

  4. Tito Santana // November 7, 2015 at 7:48 pm //

    It’s a shame that ever since Collaros went down, this team went into the shitter. Injuries certainly were the team’s undoing. Austin would be wise to acquire a real CFL quaterback with experience, to serve as the back-up. The TigerCats should also bid goodbye to Fantuz & Butler as their play certainly do not justify their hefty contracts. The O-Line should also be fortified, either through free agency of trade. And please get rid of Brandon Banks, I tire of seeing his petulance anytime something doesn’t go his way . . . Arrabi !!!

  5. Tito Santana // November 7, 2015 at 7:54 pm //

    Is Brian Buckle still under contract ??? Are Ted Laurent & Brian Hall soon to be free agents ??? Excited to see what Lyndon Gaydosh will do next year. Hope Norwood is back, but see you later Hickman … Arrabi !!!

  6. Tito Santana // November 7, 2015 at 7:54 pm //

    Where, in the blue hell, was Johny Sears ??? Arrabi !!!

  7. Tito Santana // November 7, 2015 at 7:56 pm //

    Does anyone think The Caretaker will clean house after this debacle of a season ??? Arrabi !!!

    • Marc Antony // November 7, 2015 at 10:33 pm //

      Clean house??? LOL !!! Seriously man, try and stay in the real world. This team was 8-1 when Zach was injured. If September 19th hadn’t happened, the Grey Cup would be sitting in Hamilton this year and Zach Collaros would have been the league’s MOP. It’s as simple as that.

    • You really want to go back to building from scratch when the current crew has had two GC visits and were on track for a third?

      I know it is frustrating but get a grip.

      There was a house cleaning when the Cats signed Cortez and then resulted in missing the playoffs.

      This is far easier to fix without a house cleaning.

  8. Sinkfield for return man is a must fi#$ banks at least we know know no one is gonna want our dc for hc since he can’t stop ottawa the officiating in this league is terrible we have to challenge to get clear calls reversed against us .

  9. moncton ticats fan // November 7, 2015 at 8:02 pm //

    Clearly the Cats were not going to beat the RBs. Offence gives the ball away and runs hot and cold with two very inexperienced QBs, but Hank breaks records and his receivers pile up big yardages, by always appearing to be open with blockers in front. Where is our pass rush and ball hawking D backs? We’re limping into the playoffs ever since Zack went down, and the cursed penalties are killing any momentum they try to generate. Wonder how Ottawa would do against the Cats if they were using their 4th. string QB?? Likely no better than the Cats. I suppose I should now congratulate the RBs for a strong game and for winning first!!

    • The Ottawa offense is a well oiled machine. They have been very fortunate to have kept most of those guys together all season (unless I am mistaken their injury issues were at running back). Combine that with a very good defense and they are now tough to beat.

      If we had not given back momentum after the Lawrence fumble recovery it may have been an interesting game with the teams trading punches. But it was not our night after that.

    • I was surprised the Cats kept fighting back.

      Don’t forget – Ottawa started drives on the Cat 19 yard line, the 38 yard line, Ottawa 55

      As for defense, if the returners/offense took care of the ball – they did have two INTs where the Cat defender was downed at the Ottawa one yard line and nineteen yard line. Never mind that it was the second of a back to back series.

  10. Hey Randy, we still have McDuffy. All is not lost. Tito: What the hell does Arrabi mean?

  11. Well…The first episode of David vs Goliath is over. We all knew it would be tough for a 4th string QB to go up against the CFL’s top passer in the league. What an exciting football game, and we almost pulled it off. I am very proud of boys for battling hard. And still making the play-offs with our starting QB out for the season. Look at the rest of the teams that lost their starters. Done. Plain and simple…our defence was just on the field too long. We got off to a slow start. 17-0 after the first quarter, but then…we bounced back with 20 unanswered points of our own. For sure it was our fumbles that cost us the game…the momentum…and most importantly, …put our hard working deffence back on the field. So…lucky for us…we will now get an extra play-off game…lol. Really tough decision for Mr. Austin to make if Mathews is good to go next week….who do you pick?. Personally I like Masoli…as he does have a good strong arm,a good touch,but…he can run, and Mathews just takes the sack….but man, he needs to work on handing the ball off to Gable. With another week of first team reps. I think he is our guy. As for the refs. I really don’t even want to go there but…offensive pass interference …really. Did you see the push off Elliston got on the end zone pass?. Think the command centre gave us one back on the Ottawa fumble for being so horrible the last couple of games. The road to the Grey Cup just got a little harder. Maybe it’s a good thing though, as our offence needs to tune up so we can be competitive in the Grey Cup? I’m still a believer…..GO CATS GO….

    • Tito Santana // November 7, 2015 at 8:37 pm //

      Boy, you’re a moron … Arrabi !!!

    • Not sure how a great post like that makes one a moron… but I disagree, as it was a great post.

      The RedBlacks will be tough to beat in the final, no matter whether the Cats or that other team play them.

    • Anthony Kaduck // November 10, 2015 at 7:46 am //

      I agree entirely. Let’s keep some perspective and not pile onto the team. Defence and special teams were very solid until the D got tired from having spent too much time on the field.

  12. Ticat Mike // November 7, 2015 at 8:28 pm //

    Difficult to win with your 4th string QB. All the same, Masoli is the guy you go forward with this year. Condell — PLEASE, give this guy a package, quick releases, a run game, some intelligent schemes & somehow, the O line has to pick it up. ON defense — clearly, we are quite content on giving up any pass under 7 yards which many teams exploit by having several blockers leading a receiver who gets an easy reception. This is something our own offense does not know how to executer. Also — I have had enough with Stewart — he was good years ago, but is getting beat often. Hate to say it, buy Butler left his all-star game in Saskatchewan and is mostly ineffective as safety. The CAt defense is second last in QB sacks — we were’nt good the last few years either. We really need a killer rush end. PUnting and kick off kicking are horrible and need improvement.
    I was always a big fan of Ellingson and he’s proving what a great receiver he is.
    Despite the noted deficiencies on this team — there is only one overriding reason the team is not winning, and playing inconsistently — the loss of Zach Collaros. He’s that good, and the drop off to our back up QBs is like the Grand Canyon.
    Hoping the team can drum up intensity and play with a huge chip on their shoulders going forward. Hoping Masoli or whoever the QB is — plays well, executes a sound game plan, and most of all, protects the football (no turnovers).
    The officiating — OMG — it seemed like every time the Cats made a big play, it got called back – sometimes for good cause, other times, not so certain. Not sure what is going on. Frustrated.

  13. Way too many penalties that killed drives but I really do question the OPI call on Underwood which was weak at best. However there were far more problems with receivers not able to hang on to passes (lack of familiarity?) while Ottawa receivers often seemed to be wide open much of the time. Turnovers of course were again a problem, and combined with the penalties, made winning pretty much impossible. Still Masoli showed he has improved and did a decent job much to my surprise. There were some great plays on STS and defense – just not nearly enough – or they were negated by penalties. Time to move on and get ready for Toronto next week.

  14. Tito Santana // November 7, 2015 at 8:35 pm //

    Look why blame the officiating ??? I agree that CFL officials are suspect at best & somtines threaten the intergtity of the league, but calls go both ways. Stop being blind Homers & understand that this team is riddled with injuries, flawed and simply has lost the mojo it displayed at the beginning of the season. I’m not suggesting that whole sale changes are needed because I do believe that a healthy TiCat squad can compete for the Grey Cup, but Austin should forth this team: especially OL, DB & back-up QB in the offseason … Arrabi !!!

    • Earlier you asked about whether the Caretaker would “clean house”. Usually that results in wholesale changes … if it’s now what you want, why be misunderstood by using the term?

      Getting back to what should be done … fixing the OL and/or establishing a better run game would help for a lot of this year’s losses.

  15. I don’t blame Masoli – think he tried his best under the circumstances and wasn’t the reason TC’s lost the game. The defence? That’s another story…what the %#^& has happened to it? At one point in the season they were near the top with QB sacks, picks, forced fumbles and generally terrorized opposing offences. 2 weeks ago they gave up 40 points to a rookie QB on a mediocre team, granted they were on 4 days rest in a different time zone. Today? They give up 44 points to basically an old man with a bum knee. Was Harris, Reed and Butler even playing? Sure didn’t notice them. And while Greg Ellingson is a decent receiver they made him look like the next Tony Gabriel out there. While I hold to the popular theory that one player doesn’t make a team, in this case I have my doubts. When Collaros went down so did the TC season contrary to what most of us want to believe. Sorry but that’s the hard truth folks.

    • Tito Santana // November 7, 2015 at 8:50 pm //

      I agree with The Philski … it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure the downward spiral this team is currently in coincides with Collaros’ injury. Stop coming up with goofy theories, excuses or conspiracy theories. When Collaros season ended so this the team’s for all intensive purposes … the offseason purge should include Fantuz & his goofy brace, Butler, Hickman, Grant, Banks & Mathews … Arrabi !!!

    • Ticat Mike // November 7, 2015 at 9:30 pm //

      yea and we didn’t keep Gabriel either — sent him to Ottawa –LOL….I agree — and I said above, despite this team’s deficiencies, the biggest factor for our dysfunctional play is the loss of Collaros. The D is a shadow of its former self for sure.. Good points made Philski.

    • I don’t blame Masoli but I do blame the OC and ST.

      It’s pretty hard to stop the Ottawa offense (as Calgary learned) at the best of times. Givng their offense the ball with a short field is a recipe for disaster.

      Who used to run up the score by giving their efficient offense the ball on a short field? Sounds to me like the Cats before Collaros went down.

      Ellingson is “decent”?

      I guess Tasker is “decent” too as Elligson has five more yards (1,071) on the year than Tasker. It makes it tough to defend when Burris can throw to a spot low & away on a timing route (just like Collaros and Tasker were doing).

      I think you are underestimating both of them.

  16. I love Austin calls it how it is. CFL officiating is a joke.

  17. On another note, TSN should have changed their name today to “TRBN”, or “The RedBlack Network”. Gee TSN people, please tell me the last time Ottawa hosted a CFL playoff game. No seriously…did I miss it? No please really I want to know…when was the last time? I mean really, I want to know when was the last time that an Ottawa franchise hosted a playoff game? Oh darn, did I miss it again? No really, truly, I want to know…when was the last time…

  18. skinpiglet // November 7, 2015 at 9:34 pm //

    Hats off to Coach Reinbold’s special teams unit – another onside punt recovered & returned for a TD, a punt return to the goal line, and a missed convert returned for 2 points. Ottawa really struggles with coverage because they dress so many D linemen at the expense of LBs.

  19. Saynotoapathy // November 7, 2015 at 9:36 pm //

    Stick a fork in it the Cat season is already over. The defense has disappeared.
    And again I say RBs 2-16 last season and now first in the East – and first in team sacks -I still don’t buy it,
    But holly gee maybe the RBs. can play the SuperBowl champs next January .

  20. Turning over the ball on the 19 yard line ON THE NEXT PLAY after the defense got the ball back. That was the turning point. You could see it in the way the defense played after that. That falls squarely on Masoli’s shoulders (protect the ball, it’s rookie stuff) and it’s a back breaker for sure. That being said, he’s the only option going forward because it sure ain’t Mathews or Harris.

    • It seemed more the flea flicker to me as to when the defense gave up.

      I was also wondering why there was nothing that I saw to try to trick the Ottawa defense.

    • If Masoli starts, we ain’t going anywhere. I would take Mathews in a hearbeat. And why did Austin give up on Harris so quickly? Whoever starts next game, we need a better, less predictable game plan.

      • Austin is quoted as saying the Cats lost two receivers. I presume this means he thought Masoli’s scrambling helped make up for this.

  21. Disappointing but difficult to win when you are down to your third and fourth QB. The offensive turnovers plus the lack of a consistent attack is the undoing of this team. Too bad. There is hope but maybe not this year.

  22. I think I can rest my case that we made a mistake in not keeping Ellingson. Courtney Stephen may have had one of his worst games on the corner – tight coverage but he could actually put up his hands and try to play the ball. On the plus side, I thought the offensive line gave the quarterbacks a little more protection today. We are all screaming for a running game and then with 5 minutes to go and needing 3 touchdowns to cover, they run the ball??? The last couple of runs by Gable probably inflated his stats a bit – he has really not been that effective – he was only able to run against Saskatchewan and apparently that is nothing to brag about.

    • Very poor game plan. Totally predictable. I would like to see Ford back in at RB

    • As much as I’d like to have kept Ellingson – the receivers (except on blitz situations) don’t seem to be as much of a problem as the accuracy/timing of the guy throwing to them.

      I’m not following the running play comment. First play for Hamilton was a run then incomplete pass. Ottawa goes up by FG then TD. Second series first play – run again, similar results.

      It’s been the pattern all year when falling behind that the running game gets shelved.

  23. Hey Tito…back at yah Moron…

  24. Gotta look at deciding who is your quarterback early the in the week and commit to giving him the reps, the idea of a competition so to speak again makes it tougher on your eventual starter, go all in right from the get go because this team is a long shot now from getting to the Grey Cup anyways…. Masoli gave Hamilton the most spark today so based on that he would be my choice, …our defence still makes big plays from time to time but has lost the consistently to halt drives which they did earlier in the year… do they miss Collaros , is the Pope Catholic ?… but get over that one and prepare whomever is your guy right from the first day of practice this week !

  25. We’ll beat them next time when Bad Henry shows up; he always does.

    • Tito Santana // November 8, 2015 at 6:19 am //

      Stupid Jon, are you referring to this season or next ??? Hamilton won’t be playing Ottawa this season and will Henry Burris play next season, especially if the RedBlacks win the Grey Cup. Oh, why do all you fat, out of shape losers, with bum jobs too lazy to type RedBlacks and settle for some goofy RB acronym instead . . . . Arrabi !!!

      • What makes you so sure that Hamilton won’t be in the EF?

        Even if that Ottawa team does make it to the Cup, the west is stronger and are NOT

        • Mistake…here’s the rest of it…

          What makes you so sure that Hamilton won’t be in the EF?

          Even if that Ottawa team does make it to the Cup, the west is stronger and the leaders in that division are NOT using backup quarterbacks. So much for your hopes.

          Winning in a weak eastern division won’t guarantee you anything…

      • Thanks Tito for your insightful and revealing rebuke. Southsider I presume; can’t hide class.

    • Totally agree the starter should get all the first team reps, but I don’t think Masoli is the guy. Harris was pulled far too early. I don’t mind bringing him in for a series. Do you think Ottawa thought he might run the ball? Duh. Masoli had far more opportunity to succeed. You don’t pull your starter(Harris) after only 3 series unless he is turning the ball over. If Masoli had started, he probably would have been pulled. Sure hope Mathews can start…with good protection, he is our best bet.

      • I don’t know that with Masoli’s running ability if the Cats get 9 yards over two series.

        It will be interesting to see what happens given that the statement is that Masoli came in because the Cats were short on receivers.

        I’d expect Masoli to do better just based on having the experience from last year as a fill-in plus starter.

  26. It’s really simple; we are the best team in the east. But injuries caught up to us.
    Looks like 16 years and counting without a Grey Cup.

  27. Well on the plus side we get to chant “Argos Suck” at the ESF next weekend… That somehow always cheers me up…

    Cheers… Snake

    • Tito Santana // November 8, 2015 at 6:20 am //

      Yes, we can chant, but it will all be in vain as Rick Ray will dissect the defence and the offence is too inept to pick up the slack . . . Arrabi !!!

  28. TicatMike // November 8, 2015 at 8:19 am //

    14 Ticat penalties fro 120 yds compared to 5 Redblack penalties for 30 yds. I cannot believe the officials have it in for the Cats, but perhaps at some subconcious level ??? If it looks like a duck , walks like a duck…….
    I saw plenty of non-calls (holding, clipping, rough play) that was not called….. Just seemed a little one-sided unless this team is that undisciplined and the Ottawans are playing pristine football.

  29. With a third string quarterback implemented only a few days before this game (resulting from a dirty Ottawa hit in the previous one and made late in the game so any penalty against would not hurt them), I pretty much knew the result of this game by early this past week.

    I knew there would be fumbles and the like, and again a bad call that, if not taken, could have brought about a different result, as in the game last Sunday.

    It’s pretty easy to beat a team forced to play their 3rd string quarterback.

    Much like making Burris the MOP, now that Zach is out for the season.

    I give my Tiger Cats full marks for a valiant effort playing against incompetent officiating for a second straight game.

    Ottawa is there purely by the early advantages it got when it became an expansion team.

    Every other team in the east has been playing with backup quarterbacks. Ottawa won in a weakened eastern division.

    Winning by default.

  30. So, will Scott Mitchell come out with another STUPID statement, like he did after last Sunday’s game, that the officiating in this one was “very good”?

    He will.

  31. A lot of comments about the defense being a shell of its former self, I think not. The D is the only reason they are in games. With no collaros, there is no offensive ball control this the defense is on the field much longer. They can’t stop everything. Austin should have grabbed Tate or Glenn, our stable of QBs are terrible except for Zach.

    • I don’t believe Huff would have let Tate go and I doubt Tate wants to go.

      Glenn, had Austin talked to the Riders *might* have been available. With the way the plays are called – I’m doubting the offense would have been tweaked enough for Glenn to be effective.

  32. Brockleigh // November 8, 2015 at 10:03 am //

    TicatMike, I disagree to a point. The defense isn’t a shell of it former self, you’re right, but they didn’t play their best game tonight. They let Powell looked like Pinball out there, they allowed way too many extra yards trying to tackle the football instead of the ballcarrier, and did not adjust to the underneath routes. The RedBlacks didn’t do anything differently this week than last week. After shutting down Burris & Co. last week, this week the Tabbies just let them do their thing for the most part.

    Jeremiah Masoli is the back-up for this team next year. He still did some of the “Jeremiah” things that got him benched last year, but he played solidly last night. Harris was undistinguished, but he didn’t do a bad job either. Matthews is a wreck and shouldn’t be brought back next year.

    Tommy Condell, for the love of Mike, simplify your passing attack. Ottawa shredded the defense with slants and drag routes underneath. Why aren’t we doing the same? Why is every pass route a long-developing in, wheel or fade? Why do we have to have a vertical passing attack on every down? This is Zach Collaros’ offense. You cannot force a back-up quarterback to be successful running a system tailored to a another quarterback.

    Good to see the running attack working. We didn’t go to it as much as I’d have liked, but there were holes for C.J. Gable to run through and he had some productive carries.

    If the defense tightens up, if Masoli corrects the careless mistakes, and if the offensive play-calling is adapted to allow a less experienced quarterback the opportunity to succeed, there’s every chance the Tiger-Cats can overcome the injuries that threatened to derail this season.

    • Good post.

      I think Masoli had problems with a few handoffs because he has not had the reps. Given his skill set, and better experience than Harris (I think Mathews has a future but even if healthy throwing him into the pressure cooker next week is not wise) he should play in the semi.

    • Harris “didn’t do a bad job”? He was 3 for 6 for 41 yards.

      I’m also not sure what careless things he did beyond the botched option play. From what I saw, he was looking one way and the Ottawa blitz was from the blind side. I wondered why they weren’t trying to catch the Ottawa D napping by calling a QB draw.

      Agree on tweaking the offense plays but I’m not holding my breath. I think it’s more likely that they put in some trick plays.

  33. I’ve been cheering on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats since 1967 and have had season’s tickets since 1978. I’ve seen a lot of coaches and owners parade through this organization over those years. Before we collectively “throw the baby out with the bath water” here in social media, let’s not forget that we have the best coaching staff, led by the best field general in the Canadian game — Kent Austin — and the best owner — Bob Young — in the Canadian Football League, for which all of us should be very thankful. We have the best special teams and the best defensive group of players in the league — when healthy. We have the best offensive team led by the best quarterback in the league — again, when healthy. However, for the third year in a row, we have been decimated by some key injuries, most critically at quarterback. Without a healthy quarterback, too much has been expected of the o-line and receivers and far too much has been expected of the O, D and special teams. We have started every game since late September requiring a TD from special teams and our D to be game-competitive. That simply isn’t realistic. It is also unrealistic to expect any back-up, third or fourth string quarterback to step in, command an offense and win week-in and week-out. They do things — or don’t do things — that compromise all the players around them because of their inexperience, as we’ve seen. There’s a reason why they sit where they sit on the depth chart. None of the players I’ve seen listed in this thread as being expendable in the off-season should be gone because of their play since September. However, here are some observations for your consideration and the organization’s consideration. When the owner disagrees with his field boss about something he’s said to a reporter in a post-game scrum, deal with it privately rather than on social media. That’s just good personnel management — and Kent Austin deserves that level of respect. Coach Austin and Coach Condell need to get all of their quarterbacks into each of the games they play in 2016 by using them in second-and-one situations or designed play situations or when the game is clearly out or reach — either way. We did this three seasons ago with reasonable success. All of the coaches need to reflect on how healthy the players are coming into camp and how healthy they remain during the season. The conditioning regimen clearly has to change because there are too many injuries. Yes, it has been said the Cats have the best collection of pure athletes in the league but they are getting seriously injured too easily. All CFL teams have injuries but the Cats have more than their fair share. The league needs to upgrade its training for its officials and look at additional ways to review key plays. I don’t blame the officials as much as I blame the league. It’s a fast game. Give the officials all the tools they need to allow the play to dictate the result, not the officiating. Anyone who expected the result since September to be any different on the field than it is today is as naive as I was in 1967. The O line can only hold back the opposing D so long before they are penalized or beaten. The receivers can only run so far before they are out of the QBs line of sight. The D can only be on the field so long before it tires or the opposing O figures out its schemes. No special teams group can execute to perfection every time. It’s a team game but the CFL is a QB-driven league. I’ll cheer them on this Sunday but the Cats will only go so far this November because of their injuries. I will be optimistic about their chances, but I’ll also be realistic. Age, experience and knowledge tends to do that to you. I’m already looking forward to 2016 and, other than what I’ve noted, I wouldn’t change very much about this team other than looking at strengthening back-up roles at QB, running back and DB. A healthy Cats team next year led by all of its starters will easily win the 2016 Grey Cup…

    • Marc Antony // November 9, 2015 at 9:54 am //

      I’ve been cheering on the Tiger-Cats since 1962 and yours is one of the most insightful posts I’ve ever read here. I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for taking the time.

      Oskee Wee Wee !!!

    • Anthony Kaduck // November 10, 2015 at 7:57 am //

      Well said John. Thanks for an excellent post.

  34. The Defence was terrible. Couldn’t stop the run as Powell ran wild. Not enough pressure on Burris. Courtney Stephen had a brutal game and Burris picked on him constantly.
    The Offence put up zero points in the 2nd half.

    Ottawa can be beaten in the East Final.

  35. Tito Santana // November 8, 2015 at 11:52 am //

    Arrabi !!!!

  36. Tito Santana // November 8, 2015 at 11:52 am //

    Arrabi to all my homies out there … Long Libe Taco Tito … Arrab !!!

  37. After having some time to reflect on Saturday’s game…”overnight”.
    I commend Ottawa for locking up 1st place in the East.
    As a Cat Fan..I was hoping we would see the return of “bad Hank”.
    That did not happen, as he had a great game, and Ottawa deserves full marks, for the win, and the 1st place position.
    In this upcoming offseason I trust the Board of Governors for the CFL will sit down and get this Officiating problem worked out..
    What we continue to see in this league, is not working..period.
    Blown calls and fanthom calls have been a part of every game this past season, regardless of whom is playing.
    Not only at times has it directed the outcome of games..it has taken the “game experience” away from the fan base.
    This MUST NOT be allowed to continue into the 2016 season.
    Full-time Officials that continue to “learn” in the offseason, is the correct answer for the problem that exists in the CFL.
    Anything else would just be a Band-Aid solution.
    All other pro sports at the level of the CFL have “fulltime” Officials.
    And it is dam well time the CFL came out of the “dark-ages” in this matter.
    Plain and Simple…

  38. Tito Santana // November 8, 2015 at 7:33 pm //

    What is the status of Austin’s contract ??? Wondering if anyone feels he’ll try to jump ship to Saskatchewan since there will be an opening there … Arrabi !!!

  39. He turned everyone down in 2011 and preferred Hamilton in 2012 to be close to his daughter.

    I also think he wants to win a GC with Hamilton.

    I haven’t found any references for his contract but I’m doubting he wants to move.

  40. Tito Santana // November 9, 2015 at 6:50 pm //

    That’s a lot of facts . . . well done . . . Arrabi !!!

  41. moncton ticats fan // November 9, 2015 at 8:25 pm //

    And a “touche” to GoCats!!

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