Before starting this analysis of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats performance in their first pre-season game in 2022, it is important to make note that the purpose of pre-season football games is to give the coaching staff and opportunity to evaluate talent in a real-game environment.
Winning and losing pre-season games do not generally reflect on how well a team will perform for the regular season, but through some analysis of this first pre-season game some points can be made about the status of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats going into the 2022 season.
Defensively, the Tiger-Cats seemed to focus their efforts on stopping the Alouettes run game and attempt to contain their passing game in a bend-but-not-break strategy. What were the results of this defensive game plan? The Alouettes attempted 46 passes and completed 37 (80.4% completion rate) of those passes to gain 363 yards, resulting in 7.9 yards per pass attempt.
The Tiger-Cats defensive front did product 3 quarterback sacks. Alouettes did run the football 12 times for 16 yards (1.33 yards per rush). Overall, the Tiger-Cats defense did a nice job of stopping the run game, but they need to work to disrupt the passing game or produce turnovers when facing a team that intends on relying on an efficient passing game.
Offensively, the Tiger-Cats did seem to struggle with regards to moving the ball consistently. The passing game was efficient, 12 completions on 17 attempts (70% completion rate) to produce 118 passing yards. One standout statistic is that, starting quarterback Dane Evans, was able to complete 4 out of 5 passes (80%) for 46 yards. The other two quarterbacks also performed well, Jalen Morton 5 for 8 (62.5%) for 52 yards, and Matt Schiltz 3 out of 4 (75%) for 20 yards.
With regards to the running game the Tiger-Cats did run for 132 yards on 23 rushing attempts, but the majority of these yards were a result of quarterback runs, Morton had 4 rushes for 52 yards and 1 touchdown, and Schiltz had 4 rushes for 33 yards for 1 touchdown. Running backs accounted for 54 rushing yards on 17 attempts. Anthony Johnson did standout at receiver with 2 catches for 31 yards (15.5 yards/catch). Overall, the Tiger-Cats offense did struggle for consistency and did benefit from a few well-timed explosive plays.
The Tiger-Cats special teams did have a few standout performances. Three Tiger-Cats kicked field goals and had a 4 out of 4 success rate. Joel Whitford had a solid game punting with 33.3 yards per punt on 3 attempts. Punt Returner Dejoun Lee did have 3 returns for 22 yards (73 yards/return).
Coming into the 2022 season it is easy to see that Defense and Special Teams will be the strength of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The offense needs to show improvement each week. The Tiger-Cats will take the next step in their 2022 journey when they face the Toronto Argonauts this Friday, June 3rd in Toronto.
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