Many of the issues that the Tiger-Cats have dealt with during their 3-6 start have been a product of inefficiency. For the first 8 games, the Tiger-Cats were like a roller coaster, with a hot start in the first half and a fizzle to a blown opportunity in the 2nd half. That trend was the most consistent aspect of the Tiger-Cats performance every week.
But in Week 10 the Tiger-Cats were hit hard with injuries to their offence and defence, it would make sense if Hamilton struggled due to those injuries. Unpredictably, the opposite occurred and the Tiger-Cats came together and had one of their most complete games of the season. The Tiger-Cats should have learned a lesson, their original game plan was fundamentally flawed, and their new game plan was discovered not by design but by circumstance.
When the Hamilton offence struggles it is due to a pass-heavy attack that puts all of the pressure of offensive production on their quarterback. The result has been a wealth of game-breaking mistakes that lead to disheartening endings to games that would have been important wins for Hamilton. What we learned last week is that when the Tiger-Cats can run the ball they suddenly can produce explosive plays and are more efficient in the red zone.
The Tiger-Cats defence was also able to play more aggressively because they were not burdened with the responsibility of keeping the Tiger-Cats in the game every week. If the Tiger-Cats have learned from their mistakes and can build off of last week’s success then they will have a great opportunity to take control of the East division. But if they slide back to their comfort zone of mediocrity then they could return to being the team that can get close but is not able to finish in the 4th quarter.
Lets’ take a look at the Tiger-Cats Keys to Victory in Week 11 at Montreal:
Display unity on the road
The Tiger-Cats are currently 3-6 for the season, and all of their wins have come at home. If the Tiger-Cats are going to take the next step and compete for the top spot in the East division, they will need to win games on the road. In previous seasons, the Tiger-Cats have been successful when playing at Montreal and that trend will need to continue. To do so the Hamilton players must gel cooperatively and feed off the energy of one another. The ability to win road games would give the Tiger-Cats a huge advantage as they strive to earn a playoff spot.
Pressure the quarterback
If the Tiger-Cats allow Trevor Harris to get comfortable in this game then they will have a difficult time stopping the Alouette’s offence. The Tiger-Cats defence has shown the ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks, but they need to do it in a big game atmosphere. Week 11 would be a great time for the defensive front to have one of their best games. The Tiger-Cat’s defensive coverage will need to be at the top of their game to prevent explosive plays that would allow Montreal to take control of this game. If the defence can keep the Montreal offence off schedule then they will have the opportunity to disrupt the Alouette’s efficient offensive attack.
Red zone scoring efficiency
Statistically, the Tiger-Cats have one of the best offensive units in the CFL. But the struggles with turnovers and red zone scoring has kept this offence from playing up to their potential. If the Tiger-Cats attempt to re-create their Week 10 effort in which multiple players are expected to step up and make big plays, then Hamilton will have a chance to get this win. The Tiger-Cats need to score in the low 30s to increase their odds to win this game. If the Tiger-Cats offence cannot finish drives that take them to the red zone, then they will need to find scoring opportunities defensively and with their special teams. To score in the red zone the Tiger-Cats offence will need to be able to run the ball and mix in some high-efficiency passing and get the ball in the end zone.
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