The final game of the second week of the CFL season went Saturday night in Regina as the Saskatchewan Roughriders looked to improve to 2-0 while the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were looking to get their first win of the season and leave Regina 1-1.
Previous Game: Alouettes Dominate Elks In First Game In 2021 Season
The start of this game was a defensive affair that saw both teams share a couple of short drives. Both defences looked really good to start the game. It wasn’t for a lack of offence, in fact, both offences showed flash and looked dangerous at times, but the defences stood up to the test early on.
Everyone’s favourite scoring method was the way the game’s scoring was opened up. After a Brandon Banks drop on second down, the Tiger-Cats sent Joel Whitford out to punt. The ball rolled into the endzone and scored a rouge. The Tiger-Cats led the game 1-0.
Former league MOP, Brandon Banks was thrown the ball in the flats on the next Ti-Cats drive. The ball was punched out of his arms and recovered by the Roughriders. It was originally called down by contact, but the call was overturned and the Riders would take over from the Hamilton 50-yard line with two minutes left in the first quarter.
The Riders would pick up a couple of yards before the end of the quarter, but they would need to continue it in the second. A great quarter of defensive football left us with only one point on the board.
Second Quarter (HAM: 1 @ SSK: 0)
The second quarter started with a bang for the Roughriders, and quite literally for Cody Fajardo. A roughing the passer call on the opening play of the quarter set up the Riders’ offence from the Hamilton 14-yard line. Fajardo took off scrambling and found his way into the endzone. The extra point from Brett Lauther was good, and the Riders staked themselves to a six-point lead.
The next Tiger-Cats drive, the offence woke up. They took only seven plays to get down to the goal line, but that is where the crazy things started. A QB sneak from Jeremiah Masoli saw the Roughriders line up offside. The next QB sneak was stuffed, and then the next one the ball was punched out of Masoli’s hands before he broke the plane of the goal line. Again, however, the Roughriders were offside and the Ti-Cats would have another shot. Despite lining up offside again, Masoli plunged his way into the endzone this time, scoring a touchdown. The extra point was good. Ti-Cats lead by one.
The Riders had the ball moving on their next drive with a couple of big plays to Brayden Lenius. Unfortunately for the Riders who were down on the Hamilton seven-yard line, they were forced to settle for a field goal after Fajardo just overthrew William Powell in the endzone. They would however reclaim the lead with the score now in their favour standing at 10-8.
A couple of drives later, the Riders turned up the heat on Masoli and the offence, and it paid off in a big way for them. Jonathan Woodard forced the fumble on a big hit on Masoli, and the ball was recovered by A.C. Leonard. With just over 40 seconds left in the half, the Riders would have a crack to really change this game from the Hamilton eight-yard line.
It would only take one play for the Roughriders to find pay dirt. It was the first touchdown in the CFL career of Mitchell Picton, brother of University of Regina Rams legend, Noah Picton. They would hit the extra point. Leading 17-8 before halftime would obviously look a lot better than it only being 10-8.
The Riders still needed to make a stop to get to the locker room. The Tabbies wouldn’t go down without a fight though. The Tiger-Cats wouldn’t help themselves as they took a penalty for having 13 players on the field, undoing an 18-yard run by Sean Thomas Erlington. It would be too much for them to overcome, and they punt the ball away, ending the half.
Third Quarter (HAM: 8 @ SSK: 17)
The third quarter started much the same way the second quarter ended. The Roughriders stopped the Ti-Cats quickly and rather easily on their first drive of the half, but it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the green and white. The punt was fumbled by Marcus Murphy and recovered by the Cats.
The second chance for the Ti-Cats didn’t go as they had hoped. In fact, it went about as horrible as you could imagine. Masoli was sacked twice by Woodard and Leonard. Instead of punting after the disappointing drive, the Tiger-Cats elected to run Taylor Bertolet out to try a 55-yard field goal. He had plenty of leg, but he left it just wide. The coverage off the missed kick was solid for Hamilton thankfully, and Murphy was only able to bring the ball out to his own six before a penalty backed them up even further to their own three.
The Roughriders’ defence continued making things happen in the second half of the third quarter. After their offence had a short drive and punted the ball back to Hamilton, Woodard again got to Masoli, bringing him down for a third time on the night. The next play, Masoli would be picked off by A.J. Hendy, killing yet another drive with a turnover.
Fajardo and the Roughriders would get right back to work on the ensuing drive. Starting from their own 19-yard line, the Riders worked their way down the field with a couple of chunk plays. They got themselves inside the red zone and capped off the drive with a six-yard pass to Kyran Moore for a touchdown. A fight would break out after the touchdown and resulted in Jake Harty (SSK) and Jovan Santos-Knox (HAM) both being ejected. Lauther would still hit the extra point, and the Riders would take a 24-8 lead.
The Riders’ domination would continue. Masoli overthrew a ball to Banks that went off his fingertips and was deflected up into the air for just long enough for Blace Brown to pick it off. A great play by Brown got his team the ball back with yet another chance to score and start putting this game away.
The Riders couldn’t do anything more than a field goal on the drive, but they did come away with three points. It was at this point however where the Tiger-Cats pulled Masoli and put Dane Evans into the game.
Fourth Quarter (HAM: 8 @ SSK: 27)
From bad to worse for the Tiger-Cats in the fourth quarter. They figured they had gotten into field goal range for Bertolet, but he would miss the 49-yard kick. They picked up a 15-yard penalty for good measure after the return too. Shooting themselves in the foot no doubt.
As the Riders were working on running down the clock in the late stages of this game (a game that felt like it was seven or eight hours long), they found themselves in Lauther field goal range yet again. Adding more insult to injury for the Tiger-Cats by adding another three points to their lead. The score is now 30-8 Saskatchewan.
The rest of the game continued in much the same way. Domination from the Riders and not much the Tiger-Cats could do to stop it. The Riders would run out the clock and win the game despite taking over 20 penalties on the night.
The final score: Hamilton Tiger-Cats: 8 @ Saskatchewan Roughriders: 30
Passing Yards: Cody Fajardo (SSK): 222
Rushing Yards: William Powell (SSK): 89
Receiving Yards: Brayden Lenius (SSK): 62
Touchdowns: Kyran Moore (SSK), Mitchell Picton (SSK), Cody Fajardo (SSK): 1
Tackles: Simoni Lawrence (HAM): 6
Special Teams Tackles: Micah Teitz (SSK), Gary Johnson (SSK): 3
Sacks: Jonathan Woodard (SSK): 3
Interceptions: Blace Brown (SSK), A.J. Hendy (SSK): 1
13th Man Sports Player of the Game
POTG: Jonathan Woodard
2 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble