Collaros pummelled, LeFevour shines as Argos down Ticats

Turns out Zach Collaros is human after all.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback struggled mightily in a 33-21 loss to the Toronto Argonauts at BMO Field on Sunday night, getting thoroughly outplayed by former Ticat Dan LeFevour.

After tearing up the CFL in his first four games back from a knee injury, Collaros completed just 22 of 39 his passes with three costly turnovers, including two in the fourth quarter. LeFevour, making his first start in more than two years, threw for a tidy 329 yards and a score.

Collaros didn’t get much help, mind you. The Argos pressured him constantly, forcing him to throw off his back foot and putting him on his backside on multiple occasions.

And all those things that have plagued the Ticats this season – a porous secondary, penalties, bad tackling, shoddy special teams – they were factors, too. Hamilton had one good quarter, the second, and were outclassed for the other three.

The Argos opened the scoring with smooth opening drive, LeFevour completing all four of his passes and running for a first down. He capped with a 15-yard touchdown toss to a wide-open Tori Gurley and an early 7-0 lead.

Toronto followed that up with a 36-yard Lirim Hajrullahu field goal and the Ticats missed a golden opportunity to respond with Collaros missed a wide open Luke Tasker over the middle for what would have been an easy score.

Instead, Hamilton committed the first turnover of the game when Collaros’ pass went through the arms of Terrence Toliver and into the hands of T.J Heath. Seven plays later Hajrullahu booted in through from 24 and home side led 13-0.

The Ticats finally got things going early in the second when Collaros threw at 58-yard rainbow – under duress, no less – to Toliver, who dragged a defender into the end zone for the touchdown.

That seemed to awaken the Ticats from their slumber as the team rattled off 13 more second quarter points. After an athletic interception by Adrian Tracy set up a Brett Maher field goal, Brandon Sermons picked LeFevour a second time, setting up a one-yard Jeremiah Masoli touchdown plunge.

A long Brandon Banks return set up another Maher field goal, this one from 51 yards out, and by the time the Argos righted the ship, they were down 20-13. The two teams had also burned through three of their four challenges, with the Ticats having lost on both their replay reviews and leaving them without a challenge the rest of the way.

The Argos nearly tied the game as time wound down in the second but Kenny Shaw dropped a sure touchdown pass and Toronto settled for a field goal and four-point half time deficit.

Toronto stormed out of the gate in the third, scoring on their opening possession – a 36-yard Brandon Whitaker touchdown run – then blocking a Maher punt for the second straight week. Two plays later, Whitaker waltzed in again and the Ticats trailed by 10 for the second time in the game.

Hajrullahu hit his fourth of the day and the Argos took a 33-20 lead into the final frame.

Maher missed his first field goal since July 1 and Collaros threw his second interception with just over five to play, trying to thread the needle off his back foot. Another former Ticat, Brandon Isaac, hauled it in and Hamilton was all but done. He added a late fumble as well, again hit as he threw.

With the loss, the Ticats fall to 5-6 and back on level terms with the Argos, though they still win the season series 2-1. Hamilton play another pivotal divisional game next Friday at home against the Alouettes.

The game could be a costly one, injury-wise. Toliver hurt his ankle on the touchdown catch and running back C.J. Gable banged his knee, though he stayed in the game. But offensive lineman Peter Dyakowski (leg) left the game and did not return and receiver Chad Owens went down late after taking a hard hit over the middle.

Must Read