Hamilton’s season-ending loss to the Argos on Thursday night, a loss that eliminates them from playoff contention, was a microcosm of their season. They made a lot of costly mistakes, showed some mettle in coming back, but ultimately didn’t do enough to get the win. And because of that, they will miss out on the postseason for the first time since 2008.
The game couldn’t have started worse for the Ticats; they allowed the Argos, with their backup quarterback, to march down the field and get a field goal. Then on the Ticats first drive, Henry Burris threw his fourth pick six of the season and in the blink of an eye it was 10-0 for the Argos.
The Argos stretched that lea to 13-0 before the Ticats woke up and got a field goal of their own to cut the lead to 13-3. But the Argos answered with a score of their own and made the score 20-3.
Hamilton got three back on a Luca Congi field goal and then found life when Burris hit a streaking Chris Williams for a 93-yard touchdown. The score was the 16th of the season for Williams, setting a new Tiger-Cat single-season record.
The Argos then got another gift from Burris, this time in the form of a fumble deep in Tiger-Cat territory. The Argos took advantage of the fumble by punching the ball into the end zone for a 27-13 lead. The Ticats got that one back before the end of the half and went into the locker room down just seven.
The Ticats looked set to take the lead after two Ticat field goals and one Argo field goal had the Cats down just four. But that drive was snuffed out when Andy Fantuz was stripped at the 10-yard line. The Argos then drove 100 yards down the field to take a 37-26. Another Argos field goal put them up 14 with midway through the fourth quarter.
Cue the comeback. The Ticats capped a long drive with a touchdown pass from Burris to Avon Cobourne with less than three minutes remaining. After forcing the Argos to punt, the Ticats started deep in Argo territory following a long Chris Williams return. Burris then hit Williams in the corner of the end zone to tie the game at 40 with one minute remaining.
But that one minute proved to be too long as the Argos drove themselves into field goal range and on the final play of the game, ended Hamilton’s season on a 51-yard Swayze Waters field goal.
The loss eliminates Hamilton from postseason play and ensures that either Saskatchewan or Edmonton will play Toronto on Nov. 11 in the East Division Semi-Final. Hamilton ends the season at 6-12, two games worse than last season’s unacceptable-by-management 8-10 record.
The Ticats now have seven months to ponder just what went wrong in 2012. The team entered the season as a popular pick to win the Grey Cup and end it a disappointing six games under .500.
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