Ticats Thoroughly Dominate Alouettes 31-7
Without quarterback Kevin Glenn, slotback S.J. Green and tailback Tyrell Sutton, the results were predictable.
The Alouettes’ offence was virtually non-existent Friday night at Molson Stadium. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats ended a two-game losing streak with a 31-7 victory before 20,098 spectators. The Ticats are now 2-2 while the 1-2 Als are on a two-game home losing streak.
After being held to one touchdown in their last game, the Als failed to reach the end zone against the Ticats and have been held to four touchdowns through three games.
Rakeem Cato was making his first start at quarterback for Montreal since Oct. 10, and the Als’ offence displayed some diversity and imagination — at least early — but simply couldn’t complete drives.
The Als’ defence raised the level of their play, utilizing primarily a 3-4 formation, making linebacker Kyries Hebert more of a vital cog than he was in the team’s last game.
The Als got a break on their second series when Cato attempted a pass to the wide side of the field that was poorly thrown and intercepted by cornerback Travis Lee. But the visitors were offside on the play, Quinton Pointer guilty of the infraction.
Given a reprieve, Cato connected with Duron Carter for a 40-yard reception. Carter, allowed to play while he appeals a one-game suspension, beat linebacker Rico Murray on the play — although the pass was badly underthrown.
According to a report by TSN, Carter’s hearing will be held Aug. 17.
Following the big play to Carter, the Als had the ball at the Hamilton 38. Cato then passed 10 yards to Samuel Giguère, moving the ball closer to the end zone. Following a four-yard gain by Brandon Rutley, replacing the injured Sutton, Cato was sacked for an 11-yard loss. The second-year pivot fumbled on the play, but the ball was recovered by Montreal offensive-tackle Jacob Ruby.
Boris Bede kicked a 42-yard field goal at 10:57 to open the scoring. It marked his fourth successful kick in seven attempts this season.
The Als got the ball back quickly and appeared to have something going after Cato alertly delivered a shovel pass to Rutley as the quarterback was about to get hit. Rutley gained some significant yards, but then fumbled — the ball recovered by Pointer at the Ticats’ 53.
Montreal’s defence, however, forced a two-and-out. The offence appeared poised to seize the opportunity again.
Cato ran for a seven-yard gain before Rutley scampered for six. Cato then found B.J. Cunningham wide open on the sideline for a 24-yard gain. Cunningham was a healthy scratch in the Als’ last game, June 30 against Ottawa, as the coaching staff elected to dress two running backs — Sutton and Rutley combining for 11 carries.
Another 12-yard reception by Cunningham moved the ball to the Ticats’ 37, but a pass to Corbin Louks, making his regular-season debut, was incomplete. Cato was then sacked for a seven-yard loss and the Als elected to punt.
Montreal produced another nice drive later in the quarter. Cato passed 12 yards to Carter, found Nik Lewis for a 12-yard gain and connected with Rutley for 11 yards. But the Als failed to generate another first down and Bede’s 43-yard field goal attempt was wide left for a single at 10:50, increasing the tenuous lead to 4-0.
Although they were outplayed for the majority of the half, the visitors actually took a 5-4 lead to their dressing room at halftime. Bede conceded a safety at 14:20. Then, on the final play of the period, Brett Maher kicked a 56-yard field goal after the Ticats were called for procedure.
The Als’ offence wasn’t nearly as slick and polished in the second half — not that it was great over the opening 30 minutes. On the second play, a pass deflected off Rutley and was intercepted by John Chick. He fumbled, but the ball was recovered by his teammate Emanuel Davis.
After the Als were held without a first down on their next possession, Brandon Banks returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown at 3:47. Banks cut to the right, eluding long-snapper Martin Bédard, before shooting up the middle and scoring with remarkable ease.
Banks returned a field goal 120 yards for a touchdown last week against Winnipeg. The punt-return score increased Hamilton’s lead to 12-4.
The Als finally got something going on their next drive, methodically moving the ball down the field to the Hamilton 34 before the drive stalled. Bede’s 42-yard field goal attempt went wide left, but the Ticats were called for offside.
Bede made his 36-yarder at 9:44, pulling the Als to within five — 12-7.
Stefan Logan returned a punt 27 yards. But two plays later, Cato was hit by Adrian Tracy and fumbled, the ball recovered by middle-linebacker Larry Dean.
Hamilton then quickly went 57 yards in only three plays, including a 29-yard screen pass to tailback C.J. Gable. Gable eventually scored on a nine-yard run up the middle at 12:10 for a 19-7 lead.
Maher kicked a 39 yarder early in the fourth quarter, making the score 22-7. With 13 minutes remaining in the game, Cato was replaced by rookie Vernon Adams — not that it mattered at this point.
Maher kicked a 10-yard field goal at 7:28, adding a 42-yarder at 11:04. He completed the scoring with a 44 yarder at 13:07.
The Als get a significant layoff now to lick their wounds before travelling to Toronto for a game against the Argonauts on July 25. The Argos have lost both games this season at BMO Field, while Montreal’s only victory came on the road.