Scary Cats

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

HAMILTON -- Joe Montford warned anybody who would listen.

"This is probably one of the scariest teams in the league right now," said Montford of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the lonely tenant of last place in the Eastern Division.

"They are not a pushover."

Those words came less than 24 hours after the Edmonton Eskimos had defeated the previously unbeaten B.C. Lions at Commonwealth Stadium last Saturday.

Well, one week later, Montford was right - and the Eskimos find themselves in a rather scary position after losing 40-14 last night to the Tiger-Cats, the worst team in the CFL.

After starting the season at 5-1, the Eskimos have now lost five of their last eight games and are in jeopardy of falling into a second-place tie with the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders by the end of today.

"It was nothing short of embarrassing," said head coach Danny Maciocia. "There was no protection, no pass rush. We couldn't stop the run and our special teams play was not good.

"There was absolutely nothing that was positive about that football game."

The offence sputtered in the first half - blowing incredible field position on the first two possessions - and did almost nothing in the second half, producing just one point after halftime.

RIGHT RECEIVER, RIGHT TIME

The defence couldn't stop the CFL's worst passing attack. McManus repeatedly found the right receiver and the right time.

Troy Davis was just as effective, repeatedly shredding the Green and Gold's top-ranked run defence, rushing for 108 yards and two touchdowns. It marked the first time in nearly 11 months the Eskimos were taken for 100 yards by one running back.

"They came out and kicked our butts," said Montford.

"They got one of the best O-lines in the league. Some times we didn't get in the gaps when we were supposed to."

And special teams were anything but special.

Kahlil "The Thrill" Hill, playing in just his second game in the CFL, nearly scored two touchdowns on punt returns.

Sean Fleming saved one touchdown, but couldn't stop the next onslaught, as Hill romped 80 yards to pay dirt.

That touchdown came in the second quarter, giving Hamilton a 10-6 lead.

But at halftime, the Eskimos were still in the game, trailing 17-13.

"We felt if we came out in the second half and put a couple of good drives together it would be a good ball game," said Ray.

"But we weren't able to do that and they slammed the door on us."

BELLI TRIED FOR THE KISS

Hamilton's defensive line hassled Ray throughout the second half, slamming him to the turf for three sacks and a safety by Adriano Belli, who earlier in the week publicly stated his desire to kiss Ray while celebrating.

"I tried to take my helmet off to give him a big kiss but he was running away," said Belli.

"I thought we played a pretty stellar game."

With 247 yards in total Eskimo offence, that is a true assessment.

It's also a true assessment of Hamilton's offence in the second half, pumping home 16 unanswered points.

Leading by four after halftime, Hamilton scored early in the third quarter on a one-yard Marcus Brady quarterback sneak.

After a Fleming missed field goal, McManus delivered a crushing blow to the Green and Gold, hitting Hill in the back of the end zone with a perfect spiral to make it 28-14.

Davis' second rushing touchdown and Belli's safety just added insult to injury.

"I hope it's one game," said Maciocia. "We have shown we can play, but (last night) we showed we couldn't play.


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