That was the most impressive performance I think I have ever seen from the Ticats. They dominated in every facet of the game for pretty much the entire game. They once again jumped out to a big lead early, but this time they kept the foot on the gas and scored 51 — 51 — before the game entered the final stanza.
The Lions were lams led to a slaughter and the Ticats took them to the abattoir and put them out of their misery.
If I just say everything, would that be OK? No? Alright then.
Let’s start with the offense. Zach Collaros was absolutely brilliant last night, connecting on 19 of his 23 passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns. He had as many TD tosses as he did incompletions. He was yanked in the fourth quarter because of the blowout nature of the game, so his numbers could have been even greater. But during his time on the field, he was masterful and it looks like everything is clicking right now for the young gunslinger.
Quiet start no more for Luke Tasker. After a couple ho-hum games after returning from injury, Tasker exploded with 100 yards on six catches and two touchdowns on Saturday night. With the Ticats missing their top two receivers (Bakari Grant and Andy Fantuz), Tasker became Collaros’ go-to guy and rewarded the Ticats faith in him with a monster game. Tasker looks poised to pick up where he left off last season, and he just becomes another arrow in the quiver for Tommy Condell and this Tiger-Cats offense.
Moving to the other side of the ball, what more can be said about this defense. They scored two touchdowns again this week — a fumble return by Eric Norwood and an interception return by Erik Harris — after scoring two the week before against Winnipeg. They have now scored seven touchdowns this year. They have allowed just 12. That is simply incredible!
Another week and another dominate performance against one of the league’s best running backs. Andrew Harris, who is arguably the early leader for MOP, was a complete non factor, picking up just 36 yards on eight carries and 21 yards on four catches. He also fumbled twice in the first quarter and never found a rhythm. It is par for the course for even the league’s best backs to get nothing against this Hamilton defense. Harris was just the latest victim.
And let’s end off with special teams, namely Mr. Brandon “Speedy B” Banks, who returned another punt for a touchdown. That makes it three on the year and this one was one of his prettier ones. He set up his blocks, found his lane and then proceeded to leave everyone in the dust when he hit the turbo button. He galloped 98 yards, jogging the final 10 or so yards, to find the end zone via special teams for the first time since Week 2. And I cannot forget to mention his awesome first quarter touchdown catch, where he broke a bunch of tackles en route to the game’s opening score. One of the guys who failed to bring Banks down was none other than reigning MOP Solomon Elimimian. Solly doesn’t miss many tackles, but Banks made last year’s duel award winner look ordinary on that play. Brandon Banks is a special player, and maybe the game’s most exciting player, and he showed why once again last night.
Yes, I said none. What did the Ticats do wrong last night? I could nitpick, sure, but that was perhaps the best single-game performance I have ever seen from the Ticats, so I am not even going to bother looking for flaws.
I am still in shock at how utterly dominating the Ticats were last night. They scored in all three phases of the game and never seemed to rest on their laurels (unlike last week). It was the type of performance fans have been waiting all season to see.
So the Ticats won all three of their homes games during this homestand, pushed their undefeated record at Tim Hortons Field to 10-0, are back in first place in the East Division and sit at 5-2 for the first time since 2000. Everything is going Hamilton’s way right now as they get ready to head west for a tough test on Friday against the 5-2 Edmonton Eskimos.
This game is going to be a slugfest, as these teams feature the league’s two best defenses. The Ticats have the offensive advantage, but the Eskimos are allowing a ridiculous 8.3 points per game at Commonwealth Stadium so far this season. It will be tough for Ticats to escape Edmonton with a win, but it should be a great game on Friday night in the Alberta capital.