For a half, the Hamilton defence kept the Ticats in the game.
Two plays into Winnipeg’s second series of the second half, that all changed.
Greg Carr took a little slant pass about four yards past the Winnipeg line of scrimmage and raced untouched another 53 yards into the end zone for the touchdown that took any of the remaining wind out of Hamilton’s sails.
Not that it would matter in the end.
Only one team had any swagger on this night and it wasn’t the home side.
In fact, the only hint of swagger came from the Winnipeg defence Tiger-Cats quarterback Kevin Glenn did not have one of his better nights although to be fair his protection up front wasn’t even adequate.
Glenn spent most of the evening running for his life as the Winnipeg defence once again showed it’s dominance.
League sack leader Odell Willis got to Glenn only once while Kenny Mainor had one from the other side.
Glenn, though, never did get comfortable. Even when he wasn’t being sacked, he was feeling the pressure.
Throws he normally makes were missing the target by a wide margin.
Glenn put a fork in the game for the Ticats with 1:05 left in the third when a pass intended for Glenn McKay — but was no where near him — was picked off by Brandon Stewart and returned 83 yards for a touchdown.
The Ticats had a total of 95 yards of offence in the first half.
Glenn, who played most of three quarters completed 13 of 20 pass attempts for 109 yards.
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
Glenn was replaced on the final series of the third quarter by Quinton Porter, a move the 23,268 on hand applauded loudly.
Porter wasted no time showing his own appreciation for that nice welcome.
In three plays and a matter of just 57 seconds, he marched the Ticats downfield for the first major by the home side.
Porter then capped it off with a 28-yard pass to Chris Williams.
Porter made it look easy but any good feelings were short-lived as Buck Pierce turned around and marched the Bombers 73 yards in seven plays with the Bombers quarterback going in himself from three yards out to restore the 23-point Winnipeg lead.
NEXT MAN UP
The Blue Bombers lost a key part of their offence when running back Fred Reid’s season ended in Toronto with a torn ACL last month.
But in Chris Garrett they appear to have found an effective replacement.
Garrett runs nothing like the man he replaced. He is all speed and elusiveness. He’s the type of back that even when you think you’ve got him wrapped up, one move and he’s by you. The entire Tiger-Cats linebacking corps will attest to that after Friday’s loss.
Garrett finished the night with 131 yards on 18 carries.
PUNTER MAKES GOOD
Mike Renaud held on to his punting job by the barest of margins in a kickoff with Jamie Boreham earlier this week.
Renaud was on his game here on Friday night, punting for a 47-yard average.
By game’s end, that performance didn’t look all that important but, with Hamilton sticking around as it did through the first half, winning the kicking game was big.
THAT MILLION IS SAFE
You can never say never, but it’s a pretty safe bet Wendy’s won’t have to worry about cutting that $1-million cheque this year.
Calgary’s Greg Wilson earned the right to attempt the kick but only because his attempt from 50 yards travelled all of 24 yards and his opponent on the night, Mississauga’s Nick Green, could manage only 23 yards. That’s a lot of distance to make up if Wendy’s is going to have to write that big cheque.
NO SPARK THIS TIME
Give Tiger-Cats coach Marcel Bellefeuille full credit for his decision to work running back Terry Grant and receiver Marcus Thigpen into the mix in recent weeks. The two have given the Ticats a different look though neither was much of a factor Friday night.
Grant carried the ball only four times for 13 yards while Thigpen caught all of two passes for five yards, although he did have a 47-yard punt return that, at least momentarily, gave the home side something to cheer about.