The Tiger-Cats and Alouettes both come into this contest having lost their previous games. Both teams wanted to erase their past losing ways coming in, especially that of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who had looked quite poor in two embarrassing losses after winning their first game of the season in Toronto. The Alouettes were coming in off a bye week, ready to get back to action.
Not much action came as the game started, with defenses dominating to force both teams to punt multiple times during the fist quarter. A 43-yard field goal by Boris Bede was the only scoring of the half and that made it 3-0 Montreal. Quinton Pointer was able to recover a fumble for Hamilton but they did not carry over the momentum to the second quarter.
The second quarter began with much of the same as the two teams both kept trading defensive stops, with both quarterbacks having a tough time responding to the pressure of the defenses.
Rakeem Cato looked to provide an offensive spark, and was hoping to lead his team to the first major of the game, but once again the Hamilton defense held stout and held Montreal to a field goal attempt, which was surprisingly missed by Boris Bede but the ball went through the end zone for a single and a 4-0 Montreal lead. A late interception in the half by Montreal’s Jovon Johnson once again stalled any momentum that Hamilton hoped to build.
After Montreal conceded a safety to make it 4-2, the Tiger-Cats were looking to at least a get a field goal to go into the second half with a slim lead, but they took a penalty that moved the kick to a 56-yard attempt. Brett Maher showed he was unfazed and blasted the ball through to give the Tiger-Cats a slim 5-4 lead heading into half time in a game where neither team had really taken control of yet.
My how things changed in the second half.
Both teams punted on their opening possessions of the half. On Montreal’s next possession Brandon Banks broke the game wide open. Boris Bede unleashed a 52-yard punt that was fielded and returned 82-yards by the speedster Banks for a huge touchdown to set a big tone early on in the second half. After the convert the score was 11-4 Hamilton.
Boris Bede would later add a 36-yard field goal to make it an 12-7 game.
C.J. Gable showed some flashes of the brilliance he has been known for on the next Hamilton possession, which included a 29-yard reception from Jeremiah Masoli before running in from 9-yards out for a touchdown to cap off the drive. After the convert the score was now 19-7.
Going into the fourth, Hamilton were looking to lock it down, their defense was playing well and they were getting great production from special teams as the team’s next 12 points of the game all came off of the foot of Brett Maher, who had a spectacular night kicking. He kicked the ball a combined distance of 134-yards on four separate attempts in the fourth quarter to bolster Hamilton’s lead all the way up to 31-7 to cap off a disappointing night for Montreal. The Alouettes also saw Rakeem Cato get pulled.
For Hamilton, this was a huge statement win after two embarrassing losses to both B.C. and Winnipeg. Big special team plays continue to be a huge factor in this 2016 CFL season as Hamilton received a punt return touchdown as well as a 5/5 night from Brett Maher to help get them to a win.
For the Alouettes, they must find a way to get their struggling offense going. Rakeem Cato looked shaky at times, as did the entire Montreal defensive unit in the second half after playing very well in the first. Anthony Calvillo – although he’s already one of the CFL’s all-time greats – is still coming into his own as a CFL offensive coordinator, and will now get a big test to see how he can respond to this loss strategy-wise alongside Jim Popp and the coaching staff.
Jeremiah Masoli went 19/27, throwing for 208-yards with one interception. Rakeem Cato was 18/15, throwing for 203-yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Vernon Adams Jr. came in late for Montreal and went 4/9 for only 35-yards.
Hamilton travel to Edmonton for a game on July 23 at 7:00pm EST meanwhile the Alouettes head to Toronto to tangle with the Argonauts on July 25 at 7:30pm.