Tiger-Cats crush Eskimos 51-8
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
|Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris is sacked by Edmonton Eskimos J.C. Sherritt in the first half of their CFL game in Hamilton Saturday. The Ticats won 51-8. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters)
HAMILTON - The bad news is Henry Burris threw for 400 yards and the Edmonton Eskimos gave up 51 unanswered points in a 51-8 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday.
The good news — or, at least, slightly less-worse — is it was their last-ever loss in the unfriendly confines of Ivor Wynne Stadium.
Unfortunately, the bad now outweighs the good as the Eskimos have gone from challenging for first place heading into last week’s Labour Day series, to taking a serious look at possible crossover scenarios down the playoff stretch.
But, following Saturday’s loss in front of 24,162 rejuvenated Ticats fans happy to see a five-game losing streak come to an end, that window for crossing over to the East Division post-season is closing too.
“We did not do our franchise any justice,” Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed said outside the visitors locker-room. “The way we performed was not average, it was not mediocre, it was not very good.
“Whenever something like this happens, whenever it goes bad, it is absolutely my fault, 100% me.”
Since starting out 4-2, the Eskimos have dropped four of their last five to sit in last place in the West Division, dipping below the .500 mark for the first time this season.
This one started out the exact same way the Labour Day Classic ended for Grant Shaw, who missed a 48-yard field goal on Edmonton’s opening drive Saturday. This time, however, it was knelt in the end zone by record-setting returner Chris Williams for a single point.
Shaw didn’t get a chance to make his third time a charm from that distance, either, after an interception by Rod Williams set up another 48-yard attempt with one second left in the half.
Trailing 9-8, Shaw was lining up for the kick, only to be waived back to the sidelines in favour of newly acquired Brody McKnight.
Making his CFL debut after being traded by the Montreal Alouettes for kicker Derek Schiavone and Edmonton’s first- and fourth-round draft picks, McKnight had his inaugural field-goal attempt blocked by Ticats defensive back Dee Webb, before being scooped up and returned 58 yards by receiver Bakari Grant for a touchdown and a 16-8 halftime lead.
“I don’t know if tough is the word you would use, I would use embarrassing,” said Kerry Joseph, who started the game despite being at what Reed estimated at 80% due to a leg injury.
He was replaced by both Steven Jyles and Matt Nichols before cycling back in to finish 21 of 33 for 290 yards.
“We started off good, just like we wanted to come into this tough environment against a good football team,” said Joseph, who found Fred Stamps on a 59-yard connection for the slotback’s longest catch of the year before Jerome Messam scored his first touchdown of the season on a one-yard rush to lead 8-0 midway through the first quarter.
But it was all Hamilton from there, beginning with a hat-trick of field goals by Luca Congi to take over the lead.
The third quarter opened with an 87-yard touchdown reception by Dave Stala on his longest of the season to lead 23-8.
Burris then took advantage of a turnover-on-downs at Edmonton’s own 21 yard-line to hit Andy Fantuz in the end zone and lead 30-8
Chris Williams followed up with a 25-yard catch that he chugged into the end zone to extend Hamilton’s lead to 29 points.
Avon Cobourne rushed for 12 yards into the end zone to lead 44-8 before Webb returned a Jyles interception 98 yards for another touchdown, as Burris finished with 22 of 33 pass attempts for 418 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.