November 2, 2012
Ticats left to lament loss of season
By TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Prickly to the end in his dealings with the media, Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach George Cortez had no interest in dissecting his club’s disappointing season on Thursday night.
A couple of his star players, linebacker Renauld Williams and quarterback Henry Burris, didn’t have a problem doing so.
The final carnage in a 6-12 tumble through 2012 was a 43-40 loss against the Argonauts at the Rogers Centre, a Ticats exit from playoff contention completed by a 51-yard field goal by Toronto’s Swayze Waters with no time remaining on the clock.
“It was not one thing, it was a multitude of things, a long laundry list,” Williams said of a season that began with promise but was derailed by blunders.
“All types of stuff. The biggest thing is we never got on the same page. We could not put games together. Inconsistent.”
Burris, who became just the fifth quarterback in the Canadian Football League to throw at least 40 touchdown passes in one year, tried to explain why the Ticats didn’t jell.
“It’s a good question to ask,” Burris said.
“Hopefully our youth will be our strength for next year, the guys we had are young and going through a lot of new circumstances. Offensively, we had a few guys up front who were brand new to the game, playing in new circumstances, and tonight was a pressure-packed game. Hopefully the experiences this year will help make us better for next year. Our immaturity played a major part in how we played this year and led to a lot of our inconsistencies.”
But there was little wrong with the offence. Burris passed for a career-high 5,367 yards and 43 touchdowns. Receiver Chris Williams, aided by his play on special teams, finished with 17 touchdowns, including 11 on offence. The Ticats scored 538 points, their most since 1999, and it could be enough to lead the league (the Calgary Stampeders, with one game remaining, have 505).
Turnovers, though, were costly. Hamilton committed four against the Argos, who won three of four games against their arch-rivals. The Ticats ended at minus-11 in the giveaways/takeaways category.
The defence under co-ordinator Casey Creehan? Not good.
Hamilton gave up 576 points, which likely will be the most in the league when the regular season is done.
Against the Argos, the Ticats fell behind 10-0 after a Waters field goal and an interception return for a touchdown by Jordan Younger. From there, they played catchup, and made it all the way back when Chris Williams made a spectacular catch for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to tie the game 40-40.
But then Waters booted the Ticats’ lights out.
“This was pretty much our season in a nutshell,” Burris said. “We have showed great flashes and done some great things, but when you have too many things add up at the end, it usually haunts you.
“We did not get any breaks. Seems like we never got any breaks. Little details, errors, mistakes, more mental mistakes than anything else. That has killed us all year.
“I’m used to being in the playoffs and playing for the Grey Cup. And especially it being the 100th Grey Cup and in our backyard, it is very disappointing. Tough pill to swallow. You never want to let these opportunities pass because you are never going to get them back. All you can say is, ‘What if?’
Cortez, curt and dismissive with reporters, wasn’t much in the mood for thinking aloud.
“A loss is a loss, I don’t care who you are playing against (starters or backups),” Cortez said. “I’m disappointed because we lost the game.
“I felt like we had a chance to win the game. We did dig ourselves a hole. We got to the lip of the cup, but we did not get out of the cup.
“I’m not going to revisit 18 games at the moment. I am not getting into what needs to be done for next year tonight.”