The Tiger-Cats record could easily look much different, but Hamilton has been unable to finish during three close end-of-game situations in 2021.
The latest of which saw Toronto Argonauts kicker Boris Bede hit a field goal from 51 yards out on the final play to give the Boatmen a walk-off 24-23 win in the Hammer.
“This was not an elimination game. We’ve got to be better, they know that, the loss speaks a lot louder than any words I can tell them,” head coach Orlondo Steinauer said.
“Playing well enough to win and winning are two different things. I basically told them that we’re heading into a bye week and the things that we want are still ahead of us.”
It’s the second one-point loss suffered to the Argos this year and allows the double blue to take control of the East Division with a 6-3 record compared to the Ticats at 4-5. Toronto has a two-games-to-one advantage in the season series with Hamilton, but due to a 13-point win in the Labour Day Classic, the Tiger-Cats can earn the important tiebreaker with a victory in Week 15 at BMO Field.
“It’s not like it’s over, all of our goals are still in front of us. We just gotta refocus and regroup,” quarterback Jeremiah Masoli said.
“Win. We need to win. We need to figure out a way to win. We gotta finish games. We want to play to win. We don’t want to play not to lose. We gotta go get it. We can’t be timid about protecting a win, we gotta go take the win.”
After setting a franchise mark with a 15-3 record in 2019, the first year under Steinauer’s leadership, the Tabbies have already dropped two more games during the shortened 14-game schedule. Hamilton knew they were going to get the best shot from each team following a dominant campaign the last time the CFL played football.
“I wouldn’t use the word desperation, but we definitely have got to play better consistently. We didn’t get some timely stops that we needed, we took penalties at times that aren’t conducive to playing consistent, winning football,” Steinauer said.
“There’s enough to spread around, the overall thing is that we didn’t finish and they did. We’ll move on and it sure doesn’t feel good. You gotta find a way to get it done.”
Hamilton has a bye week and then gets the two worst teams in the league, Ottawa in Week 12 and Edmonton Week 13. Each of those franchises only have two wins on the season and could provide chances for the Ticats to ‘get right’.