Ticats' Williams hot-dogs in Hamilton win

Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Chris Williams carries the ball 117 yards on the return of a missed field goal...

Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Chris Williams carries the ball 117 yards on the return of a missed field goal by the Montreal Alouettes in the first half of their CFL football game in Hamilton last night. (Fred Thornhill/REUTERS)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:30 PM ET

HAMILTON, ONT. - In the pigskin pantheon of bone-head moves, acts of utter insanity that has no basis in rational thinking, Leon Lett stands atop the mountain.

Not once but twice did this former Dallas Cowboy commit a brain camp that lives in infamy, including a play for the ages produced on the NFL’s biggest stage.

Chris Williams nearly added to the Lett list, the one consolation for the red-faced Ticats receiver and special teams dynamo being his team would punch it in for a touchdown.

For reasons only Williams can explain, he inexplicably decided to run backwards from his opponent’s 15-yard line after retrieving a missed field six yards deep in Hamilton’s end zone.

Williams is far from a hot dog, reserved and respectful, but he clearly made a mistake in judgment and should have scored his third special teams touchdown in as many weeks.

Instead, he would be tackled at the one-yard line, Als linebacker Brian Ridgeway playing the role of Don Beebe and at least delaying a touchdown.

The on-field official would rule it a touchdown, but Montreal challenged the call it was rightfully deemed that Williams was brought down short of the end zone.

More than anything on a night when Hamilton’s offence was lights out in the opening half, when Montreal’s defence was passive and at times downright pathetic, it would be Williams’ missed field goal return and the shocking events that would follow that will define Saturday night’s 39-24 win over the visiting Als.

What made it so unlikely is that Williams has no history of showboating and yet that moment of mental hemorrhaging will resonate.

“It was more foolishness on my part,’’ said Williams. “At the same time we got the W and that’s all I care about.

“It was a lack of judgment. It was totally out of character.”

Williams apologized to his team and the fans and even walked over to Als head coach Marc Trestman.

Up next for Williams is a Sunday meeting with head coach George Cortez.

In the first half of last week’s win over the Argos, Williams scored touchdowns by hauling in a major, returning a punt to paydirt and a missed field goal that would cover 119 yards in what may be remembered as Noel Prefontaine’s final attempt, perhaps for this season and in a worst-case scenario for his career.

In the first half against the Als, Williams had 217 all-purpose yards, a number that would have been 218 and featuring one touchdown had he continued to run into the end zone.

Williams will learn from the experience and the Ticats clearly are learning how to run an offence with Henry Burris firmly in control.

The play calling was brilliant, pass protection was spotless, for the most part, and there was balance.

Also encouraging is how Burris is developing a comfort level with Andy Fantuz, whose presence in the middle of any secondary is tough to game plan.

Had the Ticats not scored following Williams’ gaffe, the play would have lived in infamy.

“Not a very good one,’’ Cortez said of Williams’ decision. “I’m sure he regrets it because he didn’t get the touchdown.”

Cortez spoke with Williams when his receiver came to the sideline.

“I can’t remember what I said, but he understands it wasn’t very smart.”

In the opening 30 minutes, a stretch that basically decided the outcome, Burris had only two incompletions, tossed three touchdown passes and threw for 206 yards.

His counterpart, Anthony Calvillo, was staring at a 14-0 deficit before the Als offence began to find its rhythm.

Trailing 32-10 at the half, Calvillo found Brandon London on a 32-yard reception at 8:35 to cut into Hamilton’s lead.

In the days leading up to Saturday night, Calvillo admitted he has made adjustments in his throwing mechanics in the wake of an injury to his left, non-throwing, shoulder, a bruise he suffered against Winnipeg.

In a nutshell, the future hall of famer, who took a wicked shot early in the third quarter against the Ticats but got back on his feet, a toughness that surprisingly gets overlooked, keeps his left arm tight to his body.

“I have to step into every throw,’’ said Calvillo. “It has to be tight, step in, a hard spiral. If not, the ball will be underthrown and will float.”

Still, he stands in the pocket and takes hits, delivers the football and made Saturday night somewhat dramatic by making it a 32-24 game.

Some semblance of order was restored when Chevon Walker gave the Ticats great field position on a kickoff return, setting the stage for a three-play scoring drive that ended with Burris hooking up with Fantuz from 26 yards.



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