Mr. Hyde checked in early.
After a beautiful start on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, things turned ugly for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a hurry.
Hamilton ended up on the short end of a 37-35 score that was disastrous on several different levels.
At 6-7, the Tabbies failed to move ahead of the Toronto Argos as every CFL East team was beaten by their counterparts this weekend.
Hamilton was cruising along with a 21-7 lead in the second quarter when their engine seized, sending them to their second straight loss.
“It was a situation where we were up 14 again, just like last week,” said Hamilton coach Marcel Bellefeuille, whose teams blew a lead to Saskatchewan. “We talked about it this week that we have to get the next score when we’re in that position. The coaches were yelling up and down the field ‘Hey, we need the next score, we need the next score.’
“Instead, they march down the field and scored on us. We can’t let them beat us up and down the field. That’s not good enough.”
Until Marquay McDaniel caught a nine-yard TD pass with 54 second left, all the Tabbies could muster in the second half was a pair of safeties and a punt single.
They then missed the two-point convert attempt.
“They tackled Arlan Bruce,” said Bellefeuille about the way he saw the convert attempt. “That’s all there was to it.”
The teams were tied 24-24 after a wild first half.
There were six touchdowns on the first seven possessions after Edmonton’s Noel Prefontaine cranked a field goal attempt off the right upright on the opening drive.
Hamilton quarterback Kevin Glenn opened the game with seven straight completions, including a 36-yard pass to Arland Bruce III that set up a one-yard plunge by DeAndra Cobb that opened the scoring on Hamilton’s opening drive.
“You’ve got to play 60 minutes and right now we’re not making plays for 60 minutes,” said Glenn. “We get them back on a short week. The good thing is we get to play them again. We want to get revenge, but we let this one slip away big time.”
After the Eskimos tied it up, Glenn hooked up with McDaniel on a 37-yard TD pass at 3:01 of the second quarter.
Both of Hamilton’s scoring plays were on clock-eating eight-play drives.
“Tough loss,” said McDaniel, who caught nine passes for 122 yards and two TD’s in a losing effort. “When we’re up 14 points, coach always talks about the next score. They got it. We didn’t. They got momentum off it and pretty much kept it the whole game.”
While a third-down gamble with Calvin McCarty worked for the Eskimos first TD, it backfired on the next possession.
McCarty coughed up the ball as he rolled over Hamilton defender Justin Hickman.
Stevie Baggs picked up the ball and lugged it 59 yards, giving Hamilton a short-lived 21-7 lead at 6:35 of the second quarter.
“We’ve got to get better, that’s all I have to say,” said a visibly upset Baggs. “I’ve got nothing else to say. We’ve got to get better and we’re going to get better. That’s it. We just lost the (bad word) game, man.”
Edmonton scored TD’s 82 seconds apart, a five-yard catch by Fred Stamps, then a 22-yard interception return to pull even before the teams exchanged field goals.
Now, all the momentum is in Edmonton’s corner for Friday night’s rematch at Ivor Wynne Stadium.