After a long rain and lightning storm that delayed the start of the game by over 2.5 hours, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats laid a massive egg in losing to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 37-11 at Investors Group Field on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Here are some thoughts.
Worst: Out-coached, out-played, out-everything’d
When the Ticats lost to the BC Lions back on Canada Day, I thought that would be the worst loss suffered by this team this season. Nope. The Ticats may have made this slightly more interesting in the second half, but this loss to the Bombers eclipses the loss to the Lions as the team’s worst. The fact the Ticats have two of these in six games says all you need to know about this team so far this season.
They were out-played in all three phases, but maybe worse was that they were out-coached. When that happened against the Lions, you could excuse it. Plenty of all-time great coaches have been out-coached by Wally Buono. But to be out-coached by Mike O’Shea? A guy who was on the hot seat just two weeks ago and had a career record of 14-27 heading into this game? Inexcusable. This team just had no spark at the start of this game, and hasn’t had any in the first half since way back in Week 1, and that falls at the feet of the coaching staff.
Bad: Masoli ran cold
There is a reason Jeremiah Masoli isn’t a full-time starter and it was on full display last night. He just isn’t consistent enough to be handed the keys to a franchise. He played admirably in getting the Ticats to a 3-3 record while Zach Collaros healed up, but he runs way too hot and cold to be “the guy” over the long term. He looks like a world beater one week and a turnover machine the next. He was the latter against Winnipeg once again.
There were some wondering what this stretch of starts would do for Masoli’s career and if teams would come calling in the offseason. While he was brilliant in some games, he had too many like last night and unless a team is truly desperate, Masoli will likely remain Hamilton’s serviceable backup for the foreseeable future.
Bad: First-half struggles continue
A number of excuses will be put forth as to why the Ticats got hammered in this game — the rain delay, the lack of food during the delay — but this team, for whatever reason, just cannot get it going during the first 30 minutes of any game. The Ticats have been outscored an astounding 91-23 in the first half of their last five games. None of those had a weather delay. Hamilton just doesn’t play well in the first half for whatever reason. Sometimes they can stay in games, like Week 4 against Montreal, or stage miracle comebacks, like Week 5 against Edmonton, but more often than not the outcomes will be like what we saw last night. Slows starts might be the biggest problem with this team right now and hopefully that will change when Zach Collaros comes back.
Speaking of which…
Good: He’s back… right?
In nine days, Zach Collaros will be back behind centre for the Ticats, right? RIGHT!? The end of Jeremiah Masoli’s tenure as Ticats starter and the return of Zach Collaros is about the only good thing to take from this game having been played. Everything about this game was terrible, but now that it is over, the CFL’s best player is ready to return and that should make Ticats fans very, very happy.
This game was over by halftime and that was about when my viewing of the game ended as well. After an excruciatingly long 2.5 hour weather delay, this game didn’t get started until just after 11 p.m. Eastern time. It was 34-0 by halftime, Hamilton had committed numerous turnovers and the game was effectively over. So instead of staying up until probably close to 2 a.m., I fell in and out of sleep for the remainder of the game. Sometimes you have to know when it just isn’t going to be your night and last night was one of those nights.
And I don’t want to hear any excuses as to why the Ticats got pummelled by the Bombers. Every excuse one could use could also be attributed to Winnipeg, but they came out guns a-blazin’ and the Ticats did not. They got whopped. Period.
But all is not terrible and the sun did indeed rise this morning. With this game over we can move on to the BC Lions and what is likely going to be the season debut of Zach Collaros. Also, despite this horrendous performance, the Ticats sit at 3-3 and are one game out of first place in the East Division. That is a record and a position in the standings that almost any Ticats fan would have taken at the beginning of the year. Long-time CFL observers say that the season doesn’t really get started until Labour Day and the Ticats are poised to make a run as they get ready to welcome their superstar QB back with Labour Day looming.