The Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-2) headed to Montreal in week four to take on the Alouettes (1-1) and both teams came into the game struggling. The Tiger-Cats had fallen flat on their faces in the first two weeks of the season and the Alouettes were coming off a frankly embarrassing loss to the Stampeders a week prior. Two teams with a chance to win the division squared off for an all-important matchup early in the 2021 season.
Tiger-Cats Secondary On A Mission
For the first time this season, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats had their preferred starting secondary on the field, and you can see why this is the group that they want. The defensive backfield for the Tiger-Cats had it their way all game long, limiting the Alouettes on their deep balls. The Als were unable to adjust to what Hamilton was doing to them, and in turn, it cost them the game.
The Alouettes offence between two quarterbacks (Vernon Adams Jr. and Matthew Shiltz) was 18 of 34 passing and only 188 yards. The running game was limited to 70 yards on 18 attempts, virtually nothing for a player as explosive as William Stanback who was bottled up all night long.
The whole Tiger-Cats defence was phenomenal the whole game, but it was the secondary who was particularly impressive. Frankie Williams, Tunde Adeleke, Ciante Evans, Cariel Brooks, and Jumal Rolle all had great nights, and it propelled the Tiger-Cats to victory in this game.
Montreal Is Not Who We Thought They Were
After the Montreal Alouettes put a beat down on the Edmonton Elks in week two in their first game of the season, it looked like they might be one of the league’s better teams, but their last two games have shown that to be completely false. Both offensively and defensively, they have looked almost disinterested for the last two games. They have so much more talent than this, and they need to pick it up.
Last week, the Als lost a game that they should have won against the Stampeders and rookie quarterback Jake Maier. Their offence looked anemic and their defence didn’t look great after Maier threw his second interception. This past week against Hamilton, they didn’t ever look great. They aren’t who we thought they were, and they have a lot of work to do to get back to the level they were at in Edmonton a few weeks ago.
Tiger-Cats Offensive Line Continues To Struggle
While the Tiger-Cats came away with a victory in this game, their offensive line looked like they were trying to kill Dane Evans at times. He was sacked six times, bringing the season total to 13 between him and Jeremiah Masoli who started the first two games of the season for the Tiger-Cats.
Their performance in Montreal might have been their worst of the season and they were lucky that their defence was as strong as it was on the night. Giving up 13 sacks in three games (~four sacks per game) is not a recipe for success. If the Tiger-Cats hope to get to the top of the East Division this season, they need to figure the offensive line out.
Tiger-Cats Still Have Kicker Issues
The Tiger-Cats made a change at kicker this week going with Michael Domagala instead of Taylor Bertolet who is yet to make a field goal this season. This change is really hard to judge so early in Domagala’s career, but early on, it doesn’t look like the Tiger-Cats have solved much of anything. They still have issues with the kicker spot, and it’s something they need to address with NFL cuts coming very soon.
Vernon Adams Jr. Not Preforming
Over the past two games for the Alouettes, Adams Jr. hasn’t been good enough to bring the Als to victory. To be very clear, these losses are not squarely on the shoulders of Adams Jr., but if Matt Nichols is being blamed for the Redblacks’ lack of offence, then Adams Jr. is equally at fault for the Als’ woes. This week, Adams Jr. was 16/31 passing with 171 yards and one touchdown and one interception. Last week wasn’t much better. It was 20/42 passing for 261 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, but this is far below what he is capable of.
Potentially the most concerning thing with Adams Jr. recently has been the number of times he’s missed a receiver by a solid amount. The deep ball hasn’t been working for them in the past two games, and that seems to be hurting Adams Jr. much more than it should. He seems off right now and out of tune with his offence. He proved in 2019 that he is a more than capable quarterback, but the last two games have shown us that he still has work to do. The bottom line, Adams Jr. needs to be better for his team going forward.
Passing Yards: Dane Evans (HAM): 183
Rushing Yards: Sean Thomas Erlington (HAM): 73
Receiving Yards: Steven Dunbar (HAM): 95
Touchdowns: Sean Thomas Erlington (HAM), Steven Dunbar (HAM), Nikola Kalinic (HAM): 1
Tackles: Monshadrik “Money” Hunter (MTL): 7
Special Teams Tackles: Nick Cross (HAM): 3
Sacks: Michael Wakefield (MTL): 2
Interceptions: Frankie Williams (HAM): 1
13th Man Sports Player of the Game
POTG: Frankie Williams
1 tackle, 1 interception, 1 touchdown