Ticats take down Bombers, make push for playoffs

No kicker, no problem.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats overcame the loss of kicker Sergio Castillo in the second quarter to post a hugely important 30-13 road win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday night.

Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli threw for 337 yards on 27 for 33 passing with two touchdowns while a revamped secondary held the Bombers to their second-lowest point total on the season. Injuries aside – and we’ll get to Castillo shortly – this was easily Hamilton’s most complete game of the season: in addition to Masoli’s heroics, the Ticats ran the ball nearly 30 times.

Things started more or less perfectly for the Ticats. After winning the toss and electing to receive, Masoli hit Brandon Banks with a 60-yard touchdown pass on the third play from scrimmage and a quick 7-0 lead. The Winnipeg made that ‘oooooohhhhh’ sound as Banks crossed the line and promptly put his finger to his lips.

Hamilton was in scoring range on their second possession as well but got cute on second-and-short, throwing a screen to Jalen Saunders instead of just picking up the inch-and-a-half they needed. He lost yardage and the Ticats settled for a field goal.

The Ticats kept coming. Abdul Kanneh forced a fumble on sack of Winnipeg quarterback Matt Nichols, who injured his hand on the play but stayed in the game. It led to another Sergio Castillo field goal, this one from 50-yards out, and a 13-0 lead.

The Bombers tried some trickery of their own on shortage yardage, snapping the ball through the legs of quarterback Dan LeFevour to receiver Darvin Adams, who promptly tossed to wide open Andrew Harris. It set up the Bombers first touchdown.

After the teams exchanged field goals, the Ticats marched into Bomber territory with under two minutes to go but took a time-count violation when Saunders had trouble fixing a busted helmet and didn’t take a knee to stop the clock. It resulted in a loss of down and forced Hamilton to attempt to field goal.

Castillo, however, missed wide right from 38 yards out and his leg crumpling beneath him as he went to try and make the tackle on the Bomber returner. He stayed down on the turf for several minutes before being carried from the field.

He did not return and rookie Felix Flaubert-Lussier, who was the emergency kicker at Laval, filled in for the remainder of the game. He punted three times for a very respectable 42 yard average – including a beauty inside the 10 – but did not attempt a field goal.

The Ticats weren’t the only ones with injury trouble: Nichols didn’t start the second half, giving way to back up Dominique Davis.

Without their regular kicker, the Ticats executed a perfect onside punt on the opening drive of the third, Masoli booting it 42 yards down the field and Banks falling on it at the Bomber 16. Three plays later, Hamilton punched it in from the one-yard line and led by 12.

Another Medlock field goal trimmed the margin to nine, Masoli orchestrated their second long drive of the second half, running 15 plays over 100 yards and taking 8:35  off the clock. Luke Tasker caught a touchdown pass from four yards and hauled in the two-point conversion to make the score 30-13.

With the win, the Ticats improve to 4-10 – and 4-2 under head coach June Jones – and now trail Ottawa by just three points for the final playoff spot in the East Division with two games in hand. The Redblacks are in Vancouver to face the Lions on Saturday night and face the Ticats on Oct. 27 in a game that may very well be win-and-get-in for both teams.

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.
Drew Edwards
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1162 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.

47 Comments on Ticats take down Bombers, make push for playoffs

  1. justforkicks // October 6, 2017 at 11:31 pm //

    Nice win Cats!! No issues with QB’s here!

  2. Great dominating performance for the second week in a row. Feel bad about Castillo as he was playing extremely well but would appear that Swayze Waters will be here before the end of the day Wednesday.

  3. Paul Bomber // October 6, 2017 at 11:37 pm //

    Bomber D just had no ANSWERS.BUT standing next to the cool ladies from the jumbotron on the bus, so there’s that.

  4. Banks and Green are certainly money.

  5. Dundas dude // October 6, 2017 at 11:39 pm //

    Way to go men! You made my weekend! Go Cats!

  6. Don’t like Winnipeg chances if Nichols is not ready to go next game, and what about the play calling, expected the run game to be more prominent

  7. Blue Rules // October 6, 2017 at 11:43 pm //

    Great game, well called and executed congratulations good win, Hamilton is looking good.

  8. At least now we won’t hear anymore whining about Zach not starting.

    • There is no whining. You need to have both ready to go. If Masoli goes down you don’t want a guy coming in with no playing time. Play both. Have schemes for both QB’s. Masoli still has issue with short passes. This is also the first time he has played a full game without collapse.

      • Marc Antony // October 7, 2017 at 1:23 pm //

        Excellent comment Garney. You’re talking intelligent football. Mobile quarterbacks like Masoli are fun to watch and provide an extra offensive threat, but they’re also much more vulnerable to injury than stay-at-home guys. Also, a lot people here seem to forget just how well Collaros can scramble and I think he could be great with the run-and-shoot offense we’re seeing from Jones and Morrison. We all know that anything can happen in a football game. No one ever regrets being well prepared.

  9. The Cats’ tenacious defense nailed Nichols making him look like small change tonight.Who said we needed those old-timer Cats to be tough!Just a myth?

  10. Let’s hear from all the Masoli haters lol pretty quiet tonight . Every game he gets a little better. Great game for 60 minutes by the whole team . come on June put a game plan together to take down the stamps .

    • Exactly. I’d say 4-2 is a lot more attractive than 0-12. I’d also say that 7-1 in your last 8 road games as a starting QB is pretty damn impressive as well. As for the Stumps, they’re overdue to have someone knock their cocky block off…perhaps next Friday will be that game.

  11. Jeremiah Masoli has a little Bernie Faloney in him.

  12. Rewind back to when the Bombers had no QB, all of a sudden O Shea doesn’t look so good anymore.

  13. Masoli proved once again how good he is under pressure, especially the 4th qtr drive to seal the win.
    Great coaching and execution – especially nice to see creativity in the onside Masoli kick recovered by Banks.
    We can’t count on Ottawa to roll over and lose their remaining games at BC and at Sask, but hopefully they will so that our win against them clinches a spot and we don’t need the win over Montreal on the last week (Ottawa has the final week as a bye).
    Bring on the Stamps!

    • Masoli did a good job tonight but where was that same QB last week in the fourth quarter collapse? I like Masoli and he definitely played a good game tonight (along with the rest of the team) but he’s inconsistent.
      I gave the Ticats only a slight chance to win tonight and didn’t get too excited after they jumped out to an early lead as I fully expected them to make the kind of mistakes like they did last week and for Winnipeg to come storming back in the second half. I’m very happy to admit that I was wrong. That had to be their most complete game to date and an impressive win but we do have to remember that it might have been tougher if Nichols had played the whole game. Still, kudos to the offense especially for that impressive long TD drive in the fourth and to the defense for not letting up. Thought that Faubert-Lussier did a good job in relief of Castillo and the cover teams kept gains to a minimum. GREAT overall team effort for the victory tonight!

    • You nailed it…”how good he is under pressure”. That rubs off on other players and makes the team better as a whole. And that’s the key ingredient missing from the other guy.

      • It’s hard to be good under pressure when you’re under pressure for 90% of your plays as Collaros often was earlier in the season with no run game and a less established OL and receiving corps. You think he wouldn’t be lighting it up under the same conditions that Masoli has been playing with? Of course he could and would if given a chance.

        • Give Austin and his offensive scheme full credit for destroying Zach’s career with Hamilton. The team wasn’t playing for Austin, which is why Zach was running for his life.

          That said, I do like how Jeremiah has developed, for a lot less $$ (Zach was never worth $500k), and he is more versatile than Zach was, and seems to have the guys believing.
          I thought we might see Zach again this season, but he could be traded, if there are any takers, this week.

          DREW: What’s the status of Zach and Jeremiah’s contracts? Sutor on TSN was talking about Ticats trading him before the deadline to get something in return – I thought Zach was signed through 2018 (?).

          • Those giant new guys on the offensive line they certainly have had no influence on the teams sudden success but they sure look pretty ornate out there.I just enjoyed remarking on their giant size – who cares how they played.The offensive line never gets respect.

        • Marc Antony // October 7, 2017 at 1:56 pm //

          Absolutely TFMCB. Collaros with Kent Austin’s roster and playbook consistently had more ‘pressures’ than any other quarterback in the CFL. He had no chance of success with that roster and playbook, and neither did Gable for that matter. Even a semblance of a ground game would have helped tremendously… but remember Duane Forde’s comment during that time… “Running the football in Hamilton is like an afterthought”.

    • That kick/recovery was the game changer in my opinion

  14. However, very worried about not having Castillo for the rest of the season (that certainly looked like a season ending injury to me).

  15. Dundas dude // October 7, 2017 at 12:24 am //

    These guys are getting stronger every week. Playoffs have gone from needing a miracle to “simply” a long shot. Who knows, it’s possible the 3rd place team in the east could qualify if any two of Edmonton, Saskatchewan or BC collapse down the stretch. Unlikely that will happen, but lots of possible combinations for success. To keep it simple, the Cats need to keep winning! Thanks men for making it interesting and happy thanksgiving!

  16. Is Milo still “scouting” in Edmonton or is he available to hit a few more uprights?

  17. June Jones is genius

  18. Even at 0 and 8 I told you, 2017: The Year of The Cats!

    Ma Banks, you gotta be just sooo sooo proud!

    What a success story. We are so lucky! Classy move, putting the praise on Quinn to welcome him!

  19. Lancaster/Reed // October 7, 2017 at 12:32 am //

    Impressive win by the ticats. And in Winnipeg no less. Congats on a well played game. The east is starting to get interesting.

  20. Cat Lover // October 7, 2017 at 12:36 am //

    At last…Cats firing on all cylinders plus now we have our own JJ. And his name is June Jones! Excellent play calling. Excellent execution. Excellent outcome. Love watching the Ticats playing so well. Is it really possible this team can make the playoffs? GO CATS GO!!!

  21. Now we can all believe. that this ‘new’ team deserves to be in the playoffs and maybe win the Grey Cup. The best thing that Austin this year was bring in Jones

  22. Is Chris Milo still with the Eskimos, or a free agent available to the Ticats?

  23. Cat Lover // October 7, 2017 at 1:02 am //

    So sorry to see Sergio injured. Was having a great season and is an integral part of the team. Good luck and hope you’re able to return soon.

  24. Great to see the Ti Cats winning again! But enough with making the playoffs, a sub 500 team getting in is an embarrassment to the league. Time to consider 1 division or get a 10th team. Argo fan!

    • I agree that normally you would not want to see a sub 500 tem in the playoffs. this team could finish 10-8 and the ‘renewed’ team is better than a lot of the other teams. As for a 10th team, they should do that anyway.

  25. June Jones has made a big difference.

  26. If Richie Leone wants back into the CFL, first call I make!

  27. I’m not quite sure what the heck the TSN’s commentators are talking about when they mentioned ‘the Great contribution that Fantuz brought to the game’ HUH ! , CFL bring ESPN please – need professionals for broadcasts of CFL games

    Nice win – Hamilton

  28. Good win. The best ticats can do is 8 wins, and I don’t think that will be enough, unless RB’s fail badly and they get second spot. Looks like cross over again this year.

  29. Ticats played Redblacks and knocked Harris out if game…

    Then they played Argos and harassed Ray all game…

    Then comes Bombers and they knock Nichols out too…

    Any team playing the Ticats now has to worry if they’re going to injure their starting QB and seriously derail the team’s playoff hopes…

    I would say tough, hard nosed defence is coming back to the Ticats…

    Now if only they could all learn to tackle better and wrap up the ball carrier the wins will be even more dominant…

    Kudos to Chambers… great pick up of a National receiver…

    Amazing how much better the OL is playiing… did Ryker Mathews make that much difference??? Or is it June Jones’ coaching… Masoli at QB… Green at RB… Banks at WR and Fantuz at SB that are executing better and therefore making the OL seem improved???

  30. What is Chris Milo’s status. Available to Cats to replace Sergio?

  31. Rick cowan // October 7, 2017 at 1:44 pm //

    I think you will see the ticats make a trade with the Riders for Quinn van guilsyk and St John for maybe Laurent

  32. Hammerhead // October 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm //

    Ticats played great in every aspect except the time count violations. So where are all the Masoli haters?! Collaros is done watched him play a lot he is scared and not the same..But he is a good 2nd till the end of the season. Watch out Stamps they haven’t forgotten that thrashing! Pay back time!! As for the Argo fan dissing the division set ups I totally disagree. CFL tradition is any team can come back even after a first half season collapse. It keeps fans interested in Hamilton, Ottawa who otherwise would be out and that’s a loss. ? Let’s not forget the advantage western teams get with the time change when east go to west. Ticats playing at 7pm-8pm in BC is tough since there bodies feel like it’s 11pm-12pm. Maybe your scared the Hammer will invade BMO field like we did at Rogers? Cats will make history and make playoffs!

  33. If the Lions can do Ticats a favour and beat RBs tonight Hamilton chances look good! Redblacks back in action next weekend in Mosaic and that will be another tough game for them….

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