MILTON: Ticats can’t find killer instinct against Riders

When you lose by a little, it’s often the little things that make you lose.

Since June Jones took over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in time for last year’s Labour Day Classic, the team has won eight games and lost only…well, now it’s six, after they succumbed 18-13 to the  Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina Thursday night

It was the fifth of those six losses to be decided by eight points or fewer, and in the other — at Calgary on Opening Night — the Ticats had the game in their hands before throwing a late interception.

Thursday, it was in their hands basically the whole game, but when it was really nestled in their mitts they didn’t squeeze  hard enough. So, when former Ticat Marcus Thigpen scored the game’s only offensive touchdown with under two minutes remaining it wriggled out of their grasp and smashed on the ground.

Now, the Ticats head into a bye week with middling satisfaction, wondering a bit about what might have been.

They’ll take the acceptable 2-2 record through what was anticipated to be the roughest four-game stretch of their schedule, and return for a Thursday, July 19 rematch with Saskatchewan at Tim Hortons Field. They’ll take the rapid improvement arc of their defence and they’ll take Jeremiah Masoli’s helmsmanship  and the bushels of yardage.

But this woulda, coulda, shoulda been 3-1, and the seemingly toothless ones that slip away can come back later to bite you right in the standings.

The offence, once again, was never given a chance to start a drive on the better side of centre field, the defence created only one turnover—although it was huge at the time, negating an apparent Rider touchdown—and the Jones vs. Jones think-a-thon went to Saskatchewan’s Chris on defence over Hamilton’s June on offence. The Ticat offence failed to score a touchdown while the Rider defence scored one itself (34-year-old end Charleston Hughes on a forced-fumble-and-run).

Meanwhile, the Riders were like obnoxious house guests: if you don’t get rid of them early enough, they’re going to hang around and ruin your party at the end.

And that’s exactly what happened.  Massoli’s party — he passed for 300-plus yards for the ninth straight game, tying the CFL record — was ruined by the Riders’ winning touchdown with less than 90 seconds on the clock.

But the seeds of that ruin were planted earlier.

Hamilton has to fix its overall return game, which is creating increasingly precarious starting positions for the offence.

Eight times Masoli and his crew started from their own 25-yard-line or deeper, five times from the 15-and-in. That puts undue pressure on any offence, even one which can crank out 418 yards as it did Thursday.

And a running attack that harvested 85 yards in the first quarter, including carries by four different players on the first five runs, netted virtually nothing the rest of the way. And while Masoli threw for 333 yards, he went just 23 for 43 overall, and was unable to convert any of the Ticats’ final five second-down situations, which included an interception.

Yes, the Saskatchewan defence is good but the Ticats could not capitalize on it being forced to spend so much time on the field.

For most of the game the Rider offence  was a joke without a punchline, or any punch, rotating quarterbacks Brandon Bridge and David Watford like they were playing pin the tail on the donkey. But they bought some time with quarterback runs, then got hot for about a minute.

Bridge completed three straight passes, including a critical, and acrobatic, Joshua Stanford 29-yarder. Then Thigpen scooted 34 unharrassed yards for the touchdown that allowed an entire province to finally exhale.

All that damage occurred late in the game, but it was set up before that, mostly by a killer instinct gone AWOL.

The Ticats owned the first half, particularly the first half of that first half, but allowed two potential touchdown drives to dissolve into field goal attempts. Lirim Hajrullahu missed one of them, so four points came out of a potential 14. Remind us again of the margin of difference?

Hamilton had the ball for a stunning 10 minutes and 37 seconds in the first quarter which, like all quarters, was only 15 minutes long. And they distilled just those  four points from 154 yards of offence.

That’s not Hajrullahu’s fault:  He’s 11 for 12  this season, and he punted well Thursday. Five field goal attempts in lieu of any touchdowns is the fault of whatever the opposite of Carpe Diem is. Don’t seize the day, and it will seize you.

It’s becoming evident that this Tiger-Cat team is capable of accomplishing something big. But to go big, they’ll need to turn more of those little-difference losses into little-difference wins.

Steve Milton

Steve Milton

Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.
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Steve Milton
About Steve Milton (231 Articles)
Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.

116 Comments on MILTON: Ticats can’t find killer instinct against Riders

  1. I do not pin the loss on Masoli but I am beginning to wonder if he is the new Kevin Glenn – just good enough to break your heart – will have the stats and the other players love him but the really great franchise quarterbacks will seize an opportunity with a little over a minute to go to take their team down the field for a touchdown for the win.

    • Marc Antony // July 7, 2018 at 9:27 am //

      I think that’s a very realistic observation. I have accepted Masoli as the #1 QB, but I have always felt that he carries that “break your heart in the end” tendency with him. It was a 6-point-game going into the 4th quarter in Calgary, and he did the same thing. He giveth and he taketh away. We’ll see how it goes. I would like to see Johnny Football start getting some reps in upcoming games, just to see how he’s coming along.

  2. Time to slow the Cats hype train down a bit now. That was an awful loss last night. Full marks for the EDM and WPG victories but they lost 28-14 on opening week to a team where their QB played the worst game of his pro career and then completely $#!+ the bed yesterday. Expectations deflating.

    • yes and also some luck that they played against the Bomber backup QB. Next time they play the Bombers they will probably be facing Nichols.
      They lost to the Riders who had their 2nd and 3rd stringers out there.

  3. What's it to you... // July 6, 2018 at 9:58 am //

    Your articles are the joke Steve, Riders were the better team and won the game but hey if you want to talk about all the great things the pussies are capable of accomplishing then go ahead and talk all night because talk cheap.

    • The Riders were a peewee football team last night that had less than 10 first downs going into the 4th quarter and less that 150 passing yards in the game. The Riders were piss poor, the Cats were by far the better team from start to finish and still managed to NOT come up with the plays needed to put points on the board.

      • What's it to you... // July 6, 2018 at 10:17 am //

        LMAO the pussies were piss poor, that is why they lost….

      • MR. Green // July 6, 2018 at 10:38 am //

        Riders won 2 of 3 phases, Defence and special teams. They were the better team last night. Lucky for Hamilton the offence was anemic.
        A loss like this may be good for Hamilton. They feel they let it slip away. Plenty to take away and learn from. We’re also fortunate Hughes made a great play. We needed him to score or it’s a different outcome.

      • The team that is “piss poor” usually does come out on top. How about some props to the Rider D? Am I mistaken? or was the “high power” Ti-Cat D held to 0 majors?

      • LOL – it doesn’t matter if the Ticats racked up over 400 yards in offense or that he tied a CFL record, it’s all about the win – the 2 points.
        The Ticats moved the ball but couldn’t score, all their points came from their kicker not their receivers or running back.
        The Ticats defense couldn’t get the job done and shut down Pigpen in the final minute

    • What game were you watching?

      The Riders made, what, four plays all game? The fumble return for a TD, two acrobatic catches on 50-50 balls and the Thigpen run.

      They had no right even being in that game.

      Watch what happens to the Riders in two weeks.

    • Evil Doctor // July 6, 2018 at 11:43 am //

      If Brandon Bank’s toe was just two inches lower, you wouldn’t be saying that…

  4. Best CFL Fan // July 6, 2018 at 9:59 am //

    That was a very exciting game and for the most part well coached. Hamilton played great and altho Cats fans may be disappointed by the loss they were treated to an exciting game that showed Hamilton to be a great team with imaginative coaching.

    Now even when the Alouettes won last week, they showed nothing whatsoever and really didn’t inspire any hopes for their fans. So dear Cats fans, keep smiling

    • Well coached?! Sorry, not an effective offensive game plan. Run game and deep throws poorly timed, no real adjustments to Riders D. Who’s doing the play-calling?

    • A very exciting game? what were you watching?
      It was a messy, horrible, penalty filled game.
      I think CFL fans are so used to penalties that it’s become routine.
      If you are a Rider fan then the last minute was exciting but the rest of the game was sloppy and boring. I don’t think Riders fans were happy with Bridge only putting up 100 yards passing

  5. What's it to you... // July 6, 2018 at 9:59 am //

    “talk is cheap”

  6. waveman // July 6, 2018 at 10:04 am //

    ya a couple phantom calls but I really like that head ref, best in the league, quick and in command. in a defensive game like that a lollygagging ref like foxcroft can ruin it. the rest of the refs should take note, its not about you, make the call and get out of the way, you don’t need to have a big discussion over an obvious offside or procedure. as for the game, at least it was in the balance till the end, so that was good. a strange stat, a team that goes down the field on its 1st 2 possessions and doesn’t score a td almost always loses, weird!

    • I’ve seen Calgary move the ball on the 1st 2 possessions and not score a TD many times, yet we pretty much always win

      • Ridersrule // July 6, 2018 at 10:53 am //

        Yes you do until it really counts . The stampeders certainly are regular season darlings .

  7. Stampeding // July 6, 2018 at 10:04 am //

    Ti-Cats had a coupe bad calls against them. That said, a loss is a loss. They will learn some humility losing to the riders. Masoli may very well be the MOP this year

    • Stampeding // July 6, 2018 at 10:09 am //

      Riders were lucky,like they always are when they win but the Ti-Cats will humiliate them at home.

      • Green Apples // July 7, 2018 at 1:42 pm //

        No one cares about your predictions. You haven’t manned up at all after your on going predictions last week. You’re not credible at all and everyone knows it. LOL.

    • Better CFL Fan // July 6, 2018 at 10:14 am //

      Both teams had bad calls against them, your hate for the Riders is obvious but that just means you have no credibility. Why would anyone care what you say, just wondering? You bring nothing to the table that we haven’t heard on every story on this site that you post on using many different handles, sorry buddy but calling it like I read it….

    • Unless he can finish off scoring drives he won’t win the MOP.

  8. Johnny Manziel needs to be getting game reps to be ready to go in for longer periods. He has to get more practise reps with the starters. The issue I believe is should Jones out Manziel in and he moves the ball the way he can and score touchdown will have so much media hype and interest generated tin Canada and USA that Masoli becomes sidrlin d from media and total cfl perspective.

    • They should put Manziel in the game when the Ticats get in the red zone.

      • Now that is a good idea. Always said they should have a package for him and maybe, when he is ready they will.

      • Marc Antony // July 7, 2018 at 9:42 am //

        Absolutely! And if he happens to shine, he elevates the team energy and confidence to another level.

  9. Somewhat strange that Sean Thomas-Erlington didn’t even touch the ball last night considering how good he looked last week. I’m still wondering why June Jones abandoned the run game after the first quarter.

    • They were already using Whitlock, Timmis and White a bit along with some scampers from Masoli so probably didn’t really need to use him although changing up the RBs and sticking to the run game more in spite of the Riders strong run D might have helped. The two games that the team has lost this season were ones where they didn’t stay committed to the run and there was really no reason to go away from it because the score was always close.

      • Teams have figured out Timmins, but I like the way that they will bring in Whitlock, White and Erlington.

    • The run game was the Cat coache’s error;Steve Milton clearly stated that it was Chris Williams a fast receiver, that beat the Riders ,they couldn’t handle him. Yet, Hamilton kept running the ball, so Chris Jones, gained the upper hand, and ran the ball tirelessly against the Cats, knowing well that June Jones had erred in not making full use of his speedy receivers.

      By the time, June Junes realized that Jones was beating him at the running game it was too late,Chris Jones strategy had succeeded in that Hamilton would find it harder to win the game with the speedy receivers, as time ran out, and Chris Jones increased his pass attack and kept Masoli on the run.Game won by Chris Jones:simple but effective strategy.

      • When the Riders played Ottawa it was Dionte Spencer that was beating the Riders with his speed.

  10. Lots of season left cant win them all ..cats will be fine

    • Cats will be fine. It was a close game. Cats are gonna duke it out with the RB’s for the eastern crown. Very excited the East has a couple of solid teams. See what happens w Argos down the stretch. Trestman too good to wright off, but I dont hold much hope for the Als. Sherman needs a full year to figure the CFL out. Congrats on your Ti-Cats exciting start!

  11. Sask’s switch to 7-8 guys in the box was the difference with the Cats’s offence unable to consistently beat the run and pass blitz. I figure the June will have a package to deal with it in the next game. Milty is right to point at the return game. Improvement there will only make things better.
    I kept thinking in the first half that a touchdown and not a field goal would have made a big difference in the tone of the game and in hind sight, probably the result. A work in progress with some very promising results.

    • MR. Green // July 6, 2018 at 10:48 am //

      Hamilton’s offence took the Riders by surprise the first 2 drives. They seem to run on traditional passing downs and throw on running downs. I was surprised that first drive, they basically did mostly run plays, got inside the 5 and threw on 2nd and 2 then settled for a field goal. Not sure why they didn’t run there?

    • Agree with your second paragraph Schmitty. At first I wasn’t too concerned that they came away with FGs instead of TDs since it was early in the game and I knew that the Riders O was not going to do much. Turns out I was wrong – they really needed to grab the points and take the crowd out by the end of the first quarter. As long as they learn from the mistakes and make the necessary adjustments for the repeat game, then all isn’t lost – aside from the game. 🙁

    • Including a Johnny Manziel package of plays

      • Since Masoli can’t move the ball in the red zone, then it might be a good idea to bring in Manziel when they get the ball down there

  12. Mark.. A QB is evaluated similar to a starting pitcher because every play starts with the QB/pitcher having the ball. People jeep saying Masoli has a winning record. So why wouldn’t you pin the loss on him?

    • I would not pin the loss on him because the game was still easily winnable if some other things happened differently – even a better defensive stand in the 4th quarter would have won the game. The missed field goal could have been the difference etc.

    • Disagree, last week Ottawa lost to the Stamps, was it the fault of Trevor Harris or was it the Stamps shutting them down? that was an impressive goal line stand that changed the game.
      Sinopoli coughed the ball up at a crucial time after making a first down – it was a hit by the defender and then the Stamps offense put the game away.
      Was it the fault of the Ottawa QB?

  13. Riders lose to Montreal and are rated ninth in the power ratings Hamilton loses to Riders where will the power raters place them

  14. Killer instinct? The knock on Manziel at Browns is he was always looking for the big play and not taking the low hanging fruit. But eventually he learned that burning Pitt for 300 plus yards at Heinz field. So take that and add that big play natural tendency and……

    • But he calls the plays that are given to him into his ear piece, he wouldn’t be calling his own plays for the Ticats.

  15. Ari Katz // July 6, 2018 at 11:01 am //

    Steve, I am a little confused by the coverage to date this year. I use to know a half hour before each game , who the two players are that did not make it into the game day lineup and this use to be released through a tweet from Drew Edwards. Out of the 4 games so far this year, I have only heard this information prior to the game against Winnipeg and only because I was listening to TSN 1150 on my way to the game. Then after last night’s game, which I realize was very late, there are no post game interviews that are posted. I think many Ticat fans like myself would enjoy clarification here as to what is going on.

    In terms of last night’s game, the Ticats deserved to lose as Chris Jones outcoached June Jones. It was decision on June Jones part not to breathe some life into the game, give his player’s some increased intensity and energy and bring Johnny Manziel into this game at the start of the 4rth quarter. Masoli got banged up against Winnipeg and was sore going into this game and is even sorer now. Masoli was down at a point in the game. Change the tempo and we would have won a game that we should not have lost. June Jones caused this loss and he is responsible for it.

    • I agree, with Jerry very slow to get up after the hit-fumble, it seemed Masoli was a bit dazed for a while and Johnny should have given Jerry a breather.

    • Ari Katz. Agree with you 100%. You are not saying Manziel should start just change up when hami,ton cou,led not score a touchdown.

    • IF you want to know who is starting why don’t you just go to the depth chart which comes out 24 hours before the game?

      How do you know that Masoli was sore???? every QB gets hit

  16. All field goals is unacceptable and yes you can pin the loss on the QB because every play starts with ball in his hands and June,s offence gives freedom to change play on the fly.

  17. Noodles Romanoff // July 6, 2018 at 11:10 am //

    @ Breeze. I agree with you on the lack of running game later in the game. But more specifically that what little running game there they displayed was only Timmis. Why not put White in for a running play or like Breeze pointed out, Erlington. There running styles are different.

    • Cat Fan // July 9, 2018 at 3:14 pm //

      ??? … if you wanted White for a running play – the stats say he had two.

      Or perhaps you mean more of a balance between the different Rbs and their styles?

  18. fannotacoach // July 6, 2018 at 11:12 am //

    QB rating for Riders was decent considering the lack of time to throw and for targets to get open. BB long throw was not luck, he has made those before. I still think given proper nurturing he can get it done. All in all JM can have his 300+ and I’ll take the 2.
    Defence and special teams were on the money. It’s going to get better. Cats say they will be prepared for what the Riders bring next game. Maybe the riders will also be doing some preparation!

  19. Ari of course June is the captain of the ship and responsible for the ship going down. Not sure if Masoli,s problem is physical but rather lacks that killer instinct Steve put in the headline.

    • Masoli does have an extended play mobility and Manziel excels in it. They were blitzing a lot. Not saying Manziel woukd not be hit but rather he has this sixth sense to get out of trouble. He has this inherent natural ability. Plus he quicker than Masoli.

  20. That pretty, feel-good stat of 9 consecutive 300+ yard passing games means less than squat if a QB cannot put the ball into the end zone. I’m sorry (not sorry) to say it, but that is what we get with Masoli. He is simply too inconsistent.

    I have to give the Riders defence props for playing a very good game. That being said, what’s with the decision on 2nd-and-2 from the Sask 4-yd-line to pass the ball? All three of Whitlock, White, and Timmis could gain AT LEAST a yard with a running play – that leaves a 3rd-down attempt to get it to the two for a first down. Then we would have had 3 cracks at a TD. This same insanity is what infuriated me last year with play-calling.

    • Evil Doctor // July 6, 2018 at 11:50 am //

      If you pass for 300+ yards for 9 consecutive games, you’re the epitome of consistency. Being consistent doesn’t mean you win every game. Kent Austin was 4-5 during his run, and Sam Etcheverry was 7-2.

  21. Noodles … solve the problem by having 2 backs out there and keep them guessing. On pass one blocks the other a short safety valve pass route.

  22. Aaron .. Yea thats why June can be too crafty for his own good. Who cares if they know a run is coming. Just overpower them.

  23. Masoli was awful.Jones was awful.Running game dominant early.Two times 2nd and 2 and Jones called for a pass when Riders had not stopped run at all.Masoli,of course can’t complete the passes and both drives end.If treats as 2 run tries to get 2 yards it’s in the bag.Masoli is simply not a pressure QB sorry.Is awful in key plays and 4th quarters. Last 5 drives nothing with key lazy interception.I could care less about this 300 yd record as 300 yds obviously does not translate into points.I had NO HOPE Masoli marches team on last drive.Masoli also has very little touch on long passes.Manziel deserved a chance last night.

    • Z3 cat. Agree Manziel should have got into the game. Chris jo Es had no problem alternating his quarterbacks and won. Sure,y Jones knows there is no comparison with Manziel going up against Brandon bridge and Watford.

  24. Cats failed to put them away early. Had them frazzled with the run, 4 different runners on the opening drive and they settle for 3. Next drive missed field goal settle for 1. They called holding on that drive but the crack TSN replay team doesn’t show a replay. They settle for 1 on kickers first miss of the year. Boom, momentum lost and Sask. keeps hanging around.
    Brandon Bridge is a good strong QB who will star in this league. This Ticat fan is rooting for him. Looking forward to the rematch.

    • Brandon Bridge a good strong QB? seriously?
      Yes that was a great hand off to Thigpen.
      When Collaros returns, he probably goes down to 3rd stringer behind Watford.
      He has shown nothings so far.

    • MR. Green // July 7, 2018 at 5:01 pm //

      Regarding that hold, Moncrief was just flagged for interference when Tasker fell on his own after he made a cut. That call was worse. So it evened out.

    • Cat Fan // July 9, 2018 at 3:21 pm //

      Odd … because I recall the TSN crew showing the holding on Ciraco replay where Suitor couldn’t find a hold.

      The big issue I saw was that Jones didn’t have an outlet route available quick enough and from what I recall, was not calling fast stuff like slants or screens to counter the pressure.

  25. waveman // July 6, 2018 at 11:33 am //

    I hope jones wasn’t fixated on getting masoli his 300 yd game and forgetting about winning first. I agree the run game should have been a factor in the 2nd half, especially when it wasn’t out of hand score wise.

    • And if you’d listened to JJ pre- game you’d know that isn’t right as he said “How about Masoli gets 298 yds and we win the game?” TBH Masoli would have been happier with that than tying the record!

      • waveman // July 6, 2018 at 12:43 pm //

        pre game banter is one thing, what jones did during the game was something different

    • Cat Fan // July 9, 2018 at 3:25 pm //

      Why wait for the second half?

      Timmis had run for 3, 6 and 8 yards while Whitlock for 2 then 12 when the Cats were on the two yard line – on the first drive.

      It looked like the Rider defense was keyed on the pass too much so it made no sense to me that they tried what would be an incomplete pass.

  26. Dave Bailey // July 6, 2018 at 11:35 am //

    If Riders had a quarterback like Masoli,the score would have doubled against Cats.
    Masoli is the second best QB in the CFL

    • Masoli is behind established QBs that can finish off drives and make good decisions: – Reilly, BLM and Trevor Harris.
      Masoli would be Number 4

      • Is that the same Trevor Harris that went 13-29 with a pick last week?

      • MR. Green // July 7, 2018 at 5:03 pm //

        Bo has also had trouble at times, just like Masoli, moving the ball well, but settling for field goals. It happens.

    • Dave. Let’s change your scenario. Johnny Manziel is sask quarterback. I can assure you playing against Masoli Johnny football with Sam defence playing g well would have blown Hamilton out of mosaic

  27. Milty is bang on with his assessment of the game – the team needed to grab the points early and stay committed to the running game. The lack of a return game has been a concern for me so far this season although the cover teams have been doing a decent job of limiting return aside from a few. Riders were favoured with good field position most of the time and still couldn’t score. But the one time that Hajrullahu had them pinned deep the defense failed to get them stopped quickly and off the field to give the Ticats better field position. I can live with the loss without being upset about it as long as they can take the experience and learn from it. It’s still early in the season but they can’t afford to continue to have losses like this where they outplay their opponent but can’t put enough points on the board. Looking forward to the rematch in Hamilton – a continued dominant Ticat performance AND a win!

    • uh…earth to TFMBC, come in…you said “Riders were favoured with good field position most of the time”…uh…say what? Were they given/favoured by getting to kick off from mid-field, instead of the 35…or were Tabbie returners now allowed to run the ball, or what? Their lousy field position was because they lost the battle of specials, and on D…and for those who think JJ abandoned the run for no good reason…there was a reason…the Rider D adjusted to the run, and shut it down. Both Os stunk, but both Ds has something to say about that. Also Riders could have won without that final TD…a first down instead, and run the clock down, finishing with a FG would have done the trick.

  28. Cats were brutal.
    2 weeks from now which Ticat team will show up.
    Masoli should have a little of deflated head now that record in books.
    Talk about the Referees now (BRUTAL)

  29. David Tress // July 6, 2018 at 12:40 pm //

    I think Manziel would have racked up more than 13 points in that game. There is no excuse for Hamilton losing a game like that.

    • David. I agree with your opinion.

    • You might be right, but how about some credit to the Rider D? Yes Masoli went over 300 yards again (congrats I hope he breaks the record) but we held em to a Canadian shutout! – No TDs.

  30. After an 0-8 start team June Masoli looks fabulous at 8-6. Buuut that means 2 wins then loss win.loss.into perpetuity.Thats not going.to win.a grey cup. At some point you gotta try something different to get different results.

  31. TicatTO // July 6, 2018 at 12:59 pm //

    Riders made fewer mistakes. Ticats were not effective in the red zone. Ticats special teams especially the return game was poor .
    But my real concern is the consistent poor starting field position for the offence.
    The Ticats not once this season have started on the opposition side of the field.
    How many times has Masoli and the offence had to start inside the 20 yard line this season.? Its amazing they have had as much scoring this season with such poor to adequate field position. They need more turnovers on defence and better special teams play. This team looks close.

  32. Jones vs. Jones think-a-thon. Good line. Good article. Well written.

  33. I totally agree with Mr Green in a prior comment… early in the first quarter the Cat’s are inside the Rider’s five with a second and two ….why wouldn’t you run the ball there. Instead we pass and it went incomplete. To me, that changed the whole tone of the game.

  34. Horrible, horrible game. Amusing article. I would hate to be a quarterback playing for Chris Jones. And last night, for the first time, I agreed with everything that Milt Stegal said about Chris Jones at half-time. The man needs his ass handed to him. The sooner the better.

    • MR. Green // July 7, 2018 at 5:13 pm //

      I disagree with Stegall and the panel. Jones does this all the time. How many series do you need to get into a rythm? 6,7,8? He does this with other players too, although QB is different, Riders never turned it over, except that fumble at the goal line. We moved the ball just enough to get field position back and special teams did a great job. I thought he changed QB’s a bit much, but the end result worked. Bridge marched them down. That should give him more confidence heading forward.

      • MR. Green // July 7, 2018 at 5:14 pm //

        Proven vets at QB would get more time, kids, when they looked lost, gotta change it up.

  35. Totally agree with Bruce Clarke. Time to back off on the frigging hype train.
    The Cats could haven gone 3-1 and been the talk of the league. Instead the Cat offense took a dump all night long and the loss was embarrassing. Back to a .500 team. That is a not acceptable. They have to rip the Riders throats out the next game.

  36. My apologies …. should have typed Bruce Clark.

  37. Sea of Dead // July 6, 2018 at 7:04 pm //

    Unfortunate, disappointing, unexpected … Early in the season but perhaps a costly loss to a mediocre opponent that didn’t need to happen.

    From my perspective, there were three major things that can account for the Cat loss: (1) Offensive unit failure to capitalize early in the game when 14 points were there for the taking, (2) JJ’s failure to make offensive game adjustments after the half, doing much the same in the 2H with an expectation of a different result, and (3) OL and special team poor play compared to prior action this season.

    Hopefully appropriate changes will be made prior to the return match with the Riders. However, a successful outcome is still dependent on the coaching staff having the ability to make corrective game time adjustments when needed. Let’s hope that JJ and his staff can deliver.

    • Philski // July 7, 2018 at 10:11 pm //

      Agree SoD. Also can’t have 1/2 your D resembling spectators when a 32 year old sorta washed up RB is able to run in from 34 yards for the winning points…inexcusable.

  38. gocatsgo // July 6, 2018 at 9:16 pm //

    Under the regime of Kent Austin , which was not perfect but when is it ever, the
    Tigercats had a number of packages that he brought different quarterbacks into the game with, Masoli amongst the benefactors of this, so could this be worth considering especially with a competent backup on their roster?, of course some will say this leads to a quarterback controversy , especially since Masoli has been playing quite well and should not be slighted by having Manziel play a series, …however isn’t this about making the Tigercats the best they can be on any given day ? … if the number 1 isn’t lighting it up couldn’t a guy who has played at a high level be given a chance?….. June Jones has used some creative ideas on this offence, using Landon Rice as tight end, using Nikita Whitlock as a running back, holding extra guys in to block to allow Masoli to find receivers, …so wouldn’t giving Manziel a series be another possible creative way of generating a different look for a defence, especially since they don’t have a lot of film on his CFL abilities …. or is this a line a coach can’t cross because his # 1 has been playing well and it just isn’t done this way ?

  39. Gocatsgo. Starting pitchers get pulled if they dont have their best stuff that day but make their next start. Why can’t football do that!

  40. Hahaha look at all of us armchair head coaches. I bet if we all got together and managed a team, they’d be below last place.

  41. The safe bets were taken rather than seize the day. With the Ticats recent record in Sask and Bridge’s win last season it seams there was going to be a key play that won/lost the game. The time out before the fumble left me wondering if their defense got the jump from that pause/rest. If I was reporting on the game I’d like to know whether JM had the option to override the play. It seems he was forcing the play and could have:
    a) tried to run b) spiked the ball c) eaten the ball d) some one suggest another option for future use. I hate seeing a great defensive effort wasted. Hopefully a different result against SASK at the next game.

  42. Marc L Aubrey // July 7, 2018 at 8:51 am //

    The reasons they lost? Bad coaching at times and not being able to contain the Sask pass rusn/blitz. Where was Thomas-Erlington #31? On the sidelines all night????

  43. Good article Steve…the cats are just fine. Hard schedule and off week they need. O line still figuring it out and that will come. Riders hung around and won and best of all, didn’t have to watch Carter too much. Riders will have issues down the stretch as will Calgary w Booo Mitchell getting pounded around. As far as Manziel groupies go, shut up!!!! He hasn’t done a thing since college and learning speed and zone reads takes time and reps in the CFL. He’s just not ready period.NFL they throw to option spots as per pre snap reads. QB and rec have to be on same page. Manziel learned two spot reads in college and had a line to protect him and a running game as well. CFL is a different gig altogether. Anyway,it’s early and injuries are starting to bite teams now. Enjoy the parady of the CFL and support our great game and the companies that sponsor it.

    • Mark…good post…and the CFL has a great game, even if, sometimes, their tall foreheads try to make it into a parody (parady, ya, I know you meant parity) like taking the leaping sideline catch out of the game by allowing DBs to push/carry receivers out of bounds.

  44. Ticat Mike // July 7, 2018 at 9:06 pm //

    How can you dominate a game in almost every department save the run game and lose to an inferior team with a third rate QB? Well, its the Cats, and they have the dubious distinction of making third rate QBs and inferior teams look good to great.
    Meanwhile, they fail to make big plays on all fronts. Its about making plays when it really counts and the Cats dont do this with any conistency. Very disappointing loss.
    To lose to such a crappy football team doesn not bode well. What team will turn up next time? Who knows. One thing for sure — everyone has to step up and play a hell of a lot harder and with more urgency. A chance to go 3 and 1 blown.

    • Philski // July 7, 2018 at 10:20 pm //

      Exactly. Obviously you want to come at the “third rate QB” often and hard, rattle him and force turnovers…but not this TC D game plan…and it’s like you said, deja vu. You eloquently use the word “chance” – I use the more emphatic term “pissed away” a chance to go 3-1.

  45. Mark if you are happy with mediocre then you are right. things are fine. Since the 0-8 debacle june Masoli is a hair above 500 at 8-6. Jerry has a great line and great backs just like John had in college. Yes it takes time to learn the offence. But you cant teach speed, elusiveness, arm strength, decision s, or killer instincts. It is fair to wonder if John could be better than 500 with this great line and RB tandem

    • Ben I agree with you. It is fair for all cal fans and American fans to see if There is an emergence of Johnny football in cfl games. That may happen soon with jones setting up some Manziel play schemes. No fans saw his play with game statrting offensive line who do a good job of protecting and starting receivers who I seem to get open in Hamilton and most teams.

      • Sorry guys, I disagree. At .500 with the schedule the cats had,I’d say pretty fair start. Any coach would take the 2 and 2 start considering….Manziel as I have stated, has done nothing as of yet in camp or practice…if he had, he’d be in. Nobody sits a shining star. That’s my point. If they dump JF in too early and it’s a gong show, then what?? You can’t hang losses on Max solely. Their are eleven others out their that need to do their jobs too. Once that happens, then you shuffle. The protection up front is very new at spots. Long season to go, Maz earned his shot….

  46. Green Apples // July 8, 2018 at 12:21 pm //

    Coward….lacking courage; very fearful or timid. Where are you Stampeding? Red? I think it’s time for you to go away.

  47. Actually, it didn’t matter if Thigpen scored, or not. All he had to do was get a first down, and SK runs the clock down, then kicks the winning FG. In fact, when he ran it in…I am thinking: too early…needed to run off the clock first.

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