Thursday night the Tiger-Cats were able to secure their 2nd win of the 2022 season against the Montreal Alouettes and pull themselves into a tie for 2nd place in the East with those Alouettes. Staying with the theme of the 2022 season the Tiger-Cats had to struggle with their weaknesses while also completing against Montreal.
To open the game the Tiger-Cats struggled to get their offence going and could not get out of their end of the field. The Hamilton defence did play great football though and held the Alouettes to field goals. In the 2nd quarter, the Tiger-Cats offence did start putting plays together and was able to gain a point lead heading into halftime. The Tiger-Cats started the 3rd quarter fast and showed the ability to take over the game and scored two touchdowns to take a 24-9 lead into halftime.
In the 4th quarter, the Tiger-Cats bad habits started to reappear. Hamilton’s offence committed a turnover, and the Alouettes were able to convert that into a touchdown and a 2 point conversion. At that point, the Alouettes had all the momentum. The Tiger-Cats followed that up with poor coverage while punting giving up big returns to the Alouettes Tyson Philpot. Philpot gave the Alouette’s offence multiple opportunities to put together a potential game-tying drive with a short field.
For the last several weeks the Tiger-Cats have failed to score in the red zone, but in this game, the Alouettes played that role and could not capitalize on scoring opportunities. The last drive of the game ended with Montreal putting together a successful drive, but then controversy struck when the Alouettes quarterback was taken out of the game by CFL officials due to the concussion protocol. The Alouettes back up quarterback Dominique Davis then threw an interception to end the game and give the Tiger-Cats the much-needed win. Let’s take a look and see how the Tiger-Cats performance matched up to our 5 Growling Questions in Week 8.
Growling Question #1 result
Can the Tiger-Cats defence pressure Trevor Harris and produce 4 or more quarterback sacks?
The answer is yes, the Tiger-Cats defence was able to produce 5 quarterback sacks against Trevor Harris. With that level of pressure on the quarterback, the Tiger-Cats were able to disrupt the Montreal offence and keep them out of the end zone.
For most of the first half, the Alouettes had outstanding field position, but the Tiger-Cats pass rushers were able to step up and make things difficult for Harris. Hamilton pass rushers Julian Howsare, Micah Johnson, and Dylan Wynn contributed to the Tiger-Cats pass rush success. The Tiger-Cats will need to keep working to maintain this high production level.
Growling Question #2 result
Will the Tiger-Cats defensive front seven be able to stop Alouettes running back Jeshrun Antwi by holding the Montreal running game to less than 4.0 yards/carry?
The answer to this question is no, the Tiger-Cats defensive front seven allowed the Alouettes to rush for 90 yards on 14 rushing attempts. This resulted in the Alouettes producing 6.4 yards/carry. Over the next several weeks the Tiger-Cats will need to continue to improve limiting their opponent’s run game.
The Tiger-Cats struggle to stop the run was easier to overcome by that defensive front applying heavy pressure on the Alouettes quarterback. The Tiger-Cats will be playing the Alouettes a few more times over the next several weeks, and it will be important for the Hamilton defence to find ways to limit the Montreal rushing offence.
Growling Question #3 result
Can the Tiger-Cats offensive line protect Dane Evans and give up 2 or fewer quarterback sacks?
The answer to this question is yes, which was a product of the Tiger-Cats having a productive running game. Hamilton was able to rush for 102 yards on 18 attempts. The running game was also able to produce two rushing touchdowns. Surprisingly, the Tiger-Cats offensive line played their best game so far in 2022 despite an injury to Chris Van Zeyl and the need to start a new combination of offensive linemen.
If the Tiger-Cats can stabilize their offensive line then they can become even more productive. The ability to run the ball gave relief to the Tiger-Cats passers Dane Evans and Matt Shiltz, both of which also contributed to the running game output.
Growling Question #4 result
Will the Tiger-Cats be able to score 3 or more touchdowns?
The answer to this question is yes, the Tiger-Cats were able to score 2 rushing touchdowns and 1 passing touchdown. Back-up quarterback Jamie Newman was able to score his first CFL touchdown on a quarterback sneak.
Running back Don Jackson was able to score in the red zone with a 2-yard touchdown run. The Tiger-Cats also scored when Dane Evans threw a long touchdown pass to Steven Dunbar Jr. When the Tiger-Cats can find a way to score 3 touchdowns then they have a great chance to win games, and did significantly win against Montreal due to finishing drives and scoring touchdowns.
Growling Question #5 result
Can the Tiger-Cats win the +/- turnover battle?
The answer to this question is no, but the Tiger-Cats did not lose the turnover battle. Hamilton had a fumble in the 4th quarter that set the Alouettes up for a score to make the game interesting at the end of the game. And the Tiger-Cats defence was able to intercept a Trevor Harris pass.
With a turnover and a takeaway, the Tiger-Cats broke even in the turnover battle. This is a definite improvement for the Tiger-Cats after starting the season as a turnover machine. Recently the Hamilton offence has been able to improve their ball security. This is an area the Tiger-Cats have shown growth but needs to continue to improve for the rest of the season.
The Tiger-Cats did play their best game of the season against the Alouettes. Hamilton even had a chance in the second half to pull away and put Montreal away. They were not able to finish the mission, but they were able to hang on down the stretch. The Tiger-Cats will need to keep improving as they face their East division rival, the Toronto Argonauts, on Saturday at BMO Field in Toronto.
At this point, the Tiger-Cats are 2-0 against the East division. The Tiger-Cats need to keep their momentum going to improve their position in the standings and work to secure a spot in the playoffs.
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