Crunch time has arrived for the Ticats, a time when self-evaluation must be undertaken, a time when change is all but certain.
For the third straight time, the Ticats lost a game, yet again inflicting more wounds to themselves than watching an opponent step up.
When they had to make a play on defence, they couldn’t.
When a challenge flag had to be thrown, none came.
When pass protection was required, a sack would be produced.
In the end, it literally came down to the end, oddly enough decided by Anthony Calvillo’s legs that would set up a 37-yard Sean Whyte field goal at the buzzer to give the Als a 31-29 win.
This was as crushing a blow to the Ticats as any of their previous losses, a misstep that will linger and provide a reminder of what it takes to play a complete game, underling all the little details that cannot be compromised.
As well the Ticats would play in spurts, they weren’t good enough and now it’s just a matter of what change gets initiated before they play next on Labour Day against the Argos.
At 3-5, more was expected from these Ticats and more is required.
Henry Burris needed to be better Thursday night and he wasn’t, but the offence in general needed to be better.
Erratic was the term head coach George Cortez used to sum up the evening on both sides of the ball.
Inexcusable is the operative word in describing why middle linebacker Rey Williams would be asked to drop deep into coverage, leaving the middle of the field exposed, which Calvillo would pounced on to set up the winning margin.
And no one knows how a challenge flag was not thrown on a ball S.J. Green did not catch, yet again revealing how poorly CFL games are being officiated.
“As I looked down the field, it looked like he caught it,’’ said Cortez. “It never crossed my mind (to throw the challenge flag). No one said anything.”
The non-catch and the non-challenge led to an Als field goal and a 28-26 lead during a fourth-quarter stretch of high drama.
Green was a stud all night, but he got away with murder on a push off against Ryan Hinds and it’s shocking how nothing was done to neutralize the only receiver capable of making big plays.
When another fourth-quarter lead gets blown, questions surface.
When settling for field goals becomes commonplace, execution issues arise.
The bottom line is that these Ticats are reeling and how they respond on Labour Day five days later in Toronto will ultimately define this group and this season.
“Anytime you lose it’s a tough loss,’’ added Cortez. “We felt we were in a pretty good position.”
They were until Burris got sacked and until the parting of the Red Sea was allowed to unfold.
“We got to score points,’’ said Burris. “We got to put pressure on the opposition and make them one-dimensional.
“To make that happen, we got to be putting touchdowns on the board.”
The game’s first major came courtesy of Chris Williams, who is fast becoming the CFL’s most explosive and exciting player.
When Williams returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown, a play that featured a great block by Marc-Antoine Fortin, it would be his fifth return major of the season, tying a CFL record and setting a Ticat record he held with Earl Winfield.
But it was nowhere near good enough and the Ticats simply are not good, at least not good enough to win when they can’t play a full game.