The odds seemed to be stacked against Coach Steinauer’s Tiger-Cats against Winnipeg. After all, the 10-3 Blue Bombers were riding the momentum of a dominant 51-6 win over Saskatchewan and hadn’t lost a football game in regulation since June 22nd.
Why would a showdown at Tim Hortons Field be any different?
It’s been quite the journey for the 2023 Hamilton Tiger Cats. From the excitement of signing Bo Levi Mitchell, to a rocky 0-3 start, to seeing their top two quarterbacks lost to injury, to the parting of ways with former Offensive Coordinator Tommy Condell — there’s been no shortage of adversity.
The best measure of a football club is how they respond to adversity and this roster has it. To borrow inspiration from the late, great Walter Payton: these Ticats never die easy.
Rookie quarterback Taylor Powell has been a big part of that turnaround. I’ve been saying the same thing for weeks and all Powell needed to do to stop the broken record from playing again was lay an egg.
The Eastern Michigan alum completed 20 of 26 passes (76.9%) for 236 yards (9.1 YPA), one touchdown and one interception.
Over the last five games, Powell has completed an almost unfathomable 109 of 149 passes (73.2%) with Scott Milanovich calling the plays.
On the ground, James Butler was held to only 82 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. When that kind of game can be considered an “off” night, it’s easy to understand why many consider Butler to be the best running back in Canadian football.
The diverse distribution of passes has allowed Hamilton’s offence to keep defensive backs off-balance. In previous weeks, any one player could have been the solo star the game. Against Winnipeg, the football was express mailed to open stations all over the football field. Three receivers put up 49+ yards (Terry Godwin with 61 off of four receptions, Tim White with 55 off of five receptions and Omar Bayless with 49 off of four receptions).
Defensively, Mark Washington’s unit laid down the hammer.
In total, 15 different Ticats recorded defensive tackles, led by veteran linebacker Simoni Lawrence who notched eight.
Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros looked mortal, being picked off three times—once by Stavros Katsantonis, once by Malik Carney and once by Kenneth George Jr.
Marc Liegghio connected on two of two field goal attempts (100.0%).
A complete team performance sealed the 29-23 win for the Ticats, a team that has now won three of their last four games.
Their next challenge? The 11-1 Argonauts in Toronto.
The critics may say Hamilton doesn’t have a shot. But that’s exactly what they said when the Bombers came to town.
The Tiger-Cats will face the Argonauts at BMO Field this Saturday, September 23rd at 7:00 PM EDT.