Ticats' defence looks better

Ticats receiver Sam Giguere can't come up with the ball against the coverage of Alouettes' Wopamo...

Ticats receiver Sam Giguere can't come up with the ball against the coverage of Alouettes' Wopamo Osaisai during Thursday's CFL game in Montreal. (Ben Pelosse/QMI Agency)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:33 PM ET

This one had scoring derby written all over it.

The two best offences in the CFL going head-to- head. On top of that, Hamilton took a beat-up and beaten-down defence into Montreal. Scoring was in the forecast in bunches.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Montreal. Hamilton’s defence found its identity, or more precisely, relocated it.

All it took was some harsh words and a message that it was time the defence started to take some individual responsibility for its shortcomings from one of its own, linebacker Rey Williams.

Williams was one of the veterans this week that called a defensive players-only meeting. Accountability was the message and, based on the game in Montreal on Thursday night, it was message received.

No it didn’t end in a win. Sean Whyte took care of that with a field goal as time ran out for a 31-29 Montreal victory. But even 31 points against is an improvement for this beleaguered defence.

Hamilton came into the game last in just about every key defensive stat in the league. From points allowed to rushing yards to sacks and interceptions, the Black and Gold was bringing up the rear.

But facing a red-hot Montreal offence led by 40-year-old birthday boy Anthony Calvillo, the Tabbies showed the roar was back in their defence.

They certainly didn’t stop the Als, but then no one this season, or for that matter for the past eight or nine, really has.

Brandon Whitaker was held under 100 yards rushing and, while that may not sound like an accomplishment, consider the Ticats were giving up somewhere around 145 a game on the ground prior to that.

A huge stand under the shadows of their own goal posts, forcing the Als to settle for a field goal and a two-point lead with 2:50 to go couldn’t help but add to the confidence-building night.

Bottom line, the ’Cats defence gave Hamilton a chance in a tight game. Every other game they have won this year has been because the Hamilton offence carried the load. And though they couldn’t secure two points, the Ticats may have returned home with something more important — confidence in their defence.

NO ARGUMENT HERE

Ticats’ Avon Cobourne doesn’t wait for others to tell his story for him. He writes it for others.

A somewhat slow start to the night for the man returning to the starting running back job for the first time since last year’s Eastern final, hit a new gear in the fourth quarter.

It started with a 37-yard run that led to a 15-yard TD reception from Henry Burris.

Cobourne, who is never hard to find if you’re carrying a camera, then wrote his own story, telling the sideline cameras that he was ‘Like a fine wine, baby.’ As the oldest running back in the league and, based on his fourth quarter production, who could argue his point?

THIS HAS TO CHANGE, GEORGE

What? No challenge on an S.J. Green 40-yard ruled reception that the TSN commentators clearly showed wasn’t a catch in a one-point game? Come on Tiger-Cats. That can’t happen.

Not sure who Hamilton coach George Cortez has up in the booth, but he’s going to have to re-assign those duties. This is the second time this season the Tabbies have failed to take advantage of the challenge rule. They also didn’t challenge a Weston Dressler non-catch that was ruled good in the season opener against Saskatchewan. Cortez blamed TSN in that instance for being a little slow with the replays. That wasn’t the case Thursday night.

HITS AND MISSES

Great start to the game for the beleaguered Hamilton defence. Short gain by Whitaker and then a Jamall Johnson sack to get the Hamilton offence on the field. The Tabbies couldn’t have scripted it any better ... It’s to the point now where you wonder why any team would choose to kick the ball to Ticats’ Chris Williams. For the fifth time in just eight games, Williams returned a kick for a touchdown. The latest was a 70-yard return in the first half. It set a team record (with half the season left to play) and tied a league record for returns for a TD in a season with five ... Love that Cobourne went right at Shea Emry and knocked the yappy linebacker on his backside early in the game. A big part of Montreal’s game is intimidation and knocking one of Montreal’s key intimidators down sends a nice message to some of the less experienced teammates ... It’s probably the right call, but watching Burris slide within seven yards of the end zone just didn’t seem right. Obviously the four fumbles (three lost) last week in Winnipeg played into this. Burris spent the entire practice week securing a football while his teammates, who had been challenged to knock the ball loose at any time, took him up on the offer. Even doing interviews with the media, Burris was safe from sneak attacks by his teammates.


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