Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

It was a battle of the CFL division leaders under the Friday night lights to kick off Week 16.

The 9-4 Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Kings of the West, went to war with the 10-3 Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Kings of the East.

And in the end, it was a new CFL face who got to keep the crown.

Dane Evans threw for 359 yards with three touchdowns and an interception on 25-of-32 attempts, leading the way on offence as Hamilton downed Winnipeg 33-13.

Simoni Lawrence brought the pain notching a single game league record 17 tackles, putting him over the 500 mark in his career.

The downfall of the Bombers fourth quarter collapse to the Montreal Alouettes a week ago was in large part because their secondary gave up simply too many deep plays. The trend continued in the opening half of this tilt.

Evans torched the Bombers defence two separate times in the first half, both drives led to touchdowns. The first, a 44-yarder to Bralon Addison, who’d later cap the drive himself. The second was a 52-yard gain to Marcus Tucker. David Watford later plunged the ball in for their third touchdown of the half.

That was the story of how Hamilton led 24-10. That and Evans playing like a chiselled veteran. Staying in the pocket, making his reads and chucking for over 300 yards passing and just four incompletions without really breaking a sweat. Brandon Banks made a few plays himself, finishing the contest with 113 receiving yards on eight catches.

A quiet third quarter drifted into the fourth until Justin Tuggle picked Chris Streveler off and hauled 80 yards down field the other way. That queued up Evans’ third touchdown pass and the lead was 20 for Hamilton.

The Ticats defence kept getting to Streveler as he was brought down five times.

Streveler threw for 304 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He completed 31 of his 42 pass attempts. A number of those were to Kenny Lawler, who caught all 10 of his targets for 144 receiving yards.

Hamilton (11-3) returns home next week to face the sinking Edmonton Eskimos (6-7), while Winnipeg (9-5) is in tough for the third straight week as they fight the Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-4) in what could be a battle for first place in the West.

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Grant Deme
Grant Deme is a reporter and anchor in southwestern Ontario and a lifelong follower of the CFL.