It was as emphatic a loss as last week’s win, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats getting beat pillar to post by the Ottawa Redblacks en route to a 46-27 defeat in the Eastern Final. The Ticats season is now over while the Redblacks will rightfully travel to Edmonton to take on the Calgary Stampeders in a rematch from the 2016 Grey Cup.
From the start of the game the Ticats seemed outmatched. The defence had nothing and the Ottawa offence picked them apart. It was surgical in its brutality. Trevor Harris put on a masterclass, going 29-of-32 for 367 yards and six, yes six touchdowns. Those six TD tosses were the most by any QB in CFL playoff history. I’m not sure I have ever seen a better quarterbacking performance in a CFL game than what Harris did to the Ticats on Sunday.
Harris not only completed an incredible 90.6 per cent of his passes, he connected with 10 different receivers on his 29 completions. While Greg Ellingson led the team in yards and catches, and Diontae Spencer scored twice, Brad Sinopoli was held in check, picking up just 24 yards on two catches. When the Redblacks can roll like that and not include Sinopoli, imagine what they could look like when he gets going.
Offensively for the Ticats, the majority of the blame has to fall on Jeremiah Masoli, who put up fine numbers — 315 yards on 28-of-41 passing — but threw three costly interceptions. The first two led directly to Ottawa touchdowns on their next play from scrimmage, and in a game where the defence couldn’t get a stop to save their lives, Masoli and the offence needed to be perfect and they were far from it.
Hamilton’s running game was minimized because of the lopsided score, with just 15 runs called the entire game, 12 of which went to Alex Green. The Ticats needed to get Green going early and often if they were to have a chance, and when the Redblacks jumped out to a big first-half lead, the idea of using Green more came to a screeching halt.
Hamilton was also outcoached tremendously in this one, with Jerry Glanville’s unit being shredded. Not only did the Redblacks pile up the yards and the points, they also dominated time of possession and scored on eight of their 12 total drives, which includes one drive where they kneeled the ball down. If you allow scores on 75 per cent of your opponents’ drives, you aren’t going to win many football games.
And therein lies the story of the Ticats’ 2018 season: so much promise, such tantalizing possibilities, undone by the players relied on most.
It was a disappointing end to what felt like a promising season, and now Hamilton’s championship drought will stretch into its 20th year.
Bralon balls again
Maybe the single bright spot for the Ticats was once again Bralon Addison. In just his third game in the starting lineup, he put up another 100-yard performance. He caught a game-high 12 passes for 129 yards in this one and was once again Jeremiah Masoli’s No. 1 target. Addison stepped up big time the last three weeks and with so many receivers set to be free agents (more on that later), Addison could be expected to shoulder a much bigger load next season, and we have the proof that he can do just that.
A Rose by any other name is still a dingus
Jonathan Rose should expect a call from the commissioner this week and if that call does not end in Rose being handed a suspension for contacting an official then I will be shocked. The league has been pretty consistent in dolling out one-game suspensions when abuse of an official takes place. We saw it with Kent Austin (though that was a half measure if I have ever seen one), former Ticat Will Hill and current B.C. Lion Garry Peters (when he was with Edmonton), but I think Rose’s shove was even worse than everything above.
Rose full-on two-hand shoves the referee down. It’s not accidental, it’s not incidental, it’s deliberate and it cannot be tolerated. With the appeals process being what it is in the CFL, Rose will still likely get to play in the Grey Cup, but he shouldn’t and if Rose and the Redblacks are as stand-up as they claim they are, he will accept his punishment and not appeal, much like Hill and Peters who both did not appeal their suspensions.
Sickening display by some Redblacks “fans”
Passions run high in sports, for teams and fans, but when that passion spills into physicality then it has crossed the line. Such was the case with some Redblacks “fans” (and I use that term loosely) following Sunday’s game.
If you know anything about the Ticats you know who Dylan Atack is, and according to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, Atack was attacked by some hooligans in the stands who dumped a vat of snow on him late in Sunday’s game
The fact that these nimrods thought to physically attack a member of the Tiger-Cats organization is disgusting and my hope is that Simmons’ story will push the Redblacks organization to find the jerks who did this.
The team is aware of the altercation — even if they erroneously refer to Dylan as a “young fan” and not a team employee, which he is — and hopefully we will get some justice in this soon.
Another set of fans apparently threw beer cans at Ticats RB Alex Green as he was leaving the field Sunday. Both incidences have me asking a simple question: where the hell was TD Place security when this was going down?
It’s a blight on the league, on the Redblacks and on their fan base. These are the type of people that get fan bases painted with an ugly brush. While I am sure 99.9 per cent of fans of the CFL would never stoop to such despicable tactics, that 0.01 per cent that would gives a bad name to all of us.
Looking ahead: the future
With the season over it is time to look ahead to the off-season and it could be one of massive change for the Ticats.
Here is what we know: Jeremiah Masoli and Luke Tasker will definitely be back as both are signed for next season. Same goes for Darius Ciraco, Brandon Revenberg, Justin Cappiciotti, Jamaal Westerman and Ted Laurent.
And that’s about it as far as starters go. The Ticats have a plethora of names, including a bevvy of receivers and the entire linebacking corps, who can become free agents in the winter. With the CBA war coming who knows which players will re-sign before the start of the season and what will happen before, during and after free agency opens in February.
The Ticats did well to bring back almost everyone from the 2017 team that they thought had what it took to compete for a championship. While they ultimately fell short of that goal, by getting to the division final, that belief was somewhat confirmed. Now we enter an off-season where upheaval could be the name of the game, and with the looming labour stoppage, things could, and likely will, be drastically different in Hamilton come the 2019 season.