The highs and lows of the Ticats’ 28-14 loss to the Stampeders

The McMahon curse continues.

In what was an extremely hard-fought game, the Ticats came up just short, losing 28-14 to the Calgary Stampeders.

The two-score margin of victory is not indicative of how close the game was throughout the night. Hamilton had a legitimate chance to escape Calgary with a win for the first time in almost 15 years but came up short at the end.

It now also means the Ticats are 0-1 for the 14th time in the last 15 years. Yikes!

Here are some deeper thoughts on the game.

High/Low: Masoli shines… and then he doesn’t

Trying to convince people that Jeremiah Masoli is a starting-calibre quarterback is a fool’s errand. For those that simply refuse to believe Masoli should lead this team no evidence will convince them otherwise. You can tell them that Masoli was 25-of-36 for 344 yards and better than his Calgary counterpart, 2016 MOP Bo Levi Mitchell, by any metric, but it won’t make any difference. They will simply point out to you that the team didn’t win and never change their stance. But was Masoli was very good in this game… until he wasn’t.

For as good as Masoli’s stats were, the number that will stick out like a sore thumb is one. One interception. One bad interception. One really bad interception that put the kibosh on any Ticats’ comeback attempt. It was a throw that Masoli almost immediately wanted back and one that will make the calls from those looking to replace him grow even louder.

But don’t fall into the lazy narrative that this is the same, old Jeremiah Masoli. That’s not the case. He made one really bad throw, and unfortunately, it came at the absolute worst time, but aside from that, he was almost flawless. So save your calls for his job. They’ll fall on deaf ears.

Low/High: Bend but don’t break

It looked like 2017 all over again during most of the first quarter with the Ticats defence giving up lots of yards and looking completely lost. If not for a few overthrows by Bo Levi Mitchell this game would have been all but over after 15 minutes. The Stamps marched up and down the field almost at will and it looked like it was going to be a long night for the Ticats defence.

But then things started to get a little better. We saw the Ticats allow just one touchdown when the Stamps were in the red zone, a number that, if repeated, will lead to a lot of wins in the future.

The secondary played a lot better as the game went on. The coverage got a little tighter, with Frankie Williams standing out with a few key knockdowns and forcing some incompletions. Bo Levi Mitchell threw for under 50 per cent on the night, and while some of that was of his own doing, it would be unfair to say it was all his doing. The Ticats defence forced bad throws and that led to one of Mitchell’s worst nights of his professional career.

Low: The offense sputters

The Ticats held an 11-9 lead at halftime, and a lead of any kind for Hamilton in this one was treated as a moment to celebrate. But from the touchdown to take the lead in the first quarter until the the field goal to cut the lead to six in the fourth, the Ticats’ offense completely shut down. Seven punts, one field goal and a fumble was all they had to show for the entire second and third quarters, and most of the fourth. In a game where the defense did enough to keep them in it, the offense, which is supposed to be the calling card of this team, let them down.

High: Hit Mike Jones up on the low ‘cause Mike Jones about to blow

One of Ticat fans favourite whipping boys was the team’s top receiver against the Stampeders. Mike Jones (WHO!?) Mike Jones led the Ticats with 120 yards on five catches and his catch and run of 76 yards — on a beautifully thrown ball by Jeremiah Masoli — set up the Ticats’ lone touchdown of the night.

Before we get too high on Jones, recall that he had a pretty decent Week 1 last year and was in the doghouse by the end of the season. But perhaps this new lease on life will help Jones go from punchline to solid contributor. For one night at least he flashed all the skills that made him a highly sought-after prospect in the draft just three years ago.

Low: The run game

Did the Ticats reinstall Kent Austin as head coach and not tell anyone? I ask because based on the scant number of running plays the Ticats ran against Calgary, it felt like Austin was back at the helm. Hamilton ran the ball just 12 times against the Stampeders for a minuscule 56 yards, less than half of Calgary’s 132 on the ground.

One the major changes June Jones made when he took over the Ticats last September was to put on emphasis on running the football. In the 11 games Jones has coached the Ticats, they have rushed 12 or fewer times just twice before Saturday night. Maybe the injury to Alex Green and the unavailability of John White altered the game plan, but hopefully the Ticats get back to doing what they did so well last year under Jones: run the dang ball!

High: No sophomore slump for Jalen Saunders

Jalen Saunders had one of the best rookie seasons that no one talks about. He led his team in receiving and finished in the top five league-wide in the same category, but he was overshadowed by the likes of Marken Michel, James Wilder Jr. and Richard Leonard. Well, Saunders picked up in 2018 where he left off in 2017. He led the Ticats in catches against the Stamps and finished two yards behind Mike Jones for the team lead in that category. We shouldn’t get too ahead of ourselves, but it sure seems like Jalen Saunders is going to have a very productive 2018.

Looking ahead

The Alberta death tour continues for one more week as the Ticats stay out west and prep for a date at Commonwealth Stadium with Edmonton.

Here is a funky stat to keep in mind: Hamilton has won three of their last five in Edmonton, and their two losses have come by a combined nine points. Edmonton hasn’t been the elephants’ graveyard that Calgary has been, so it is not inconceivable that the Ticats do come home from their Alberta excursion with a 1-1 record.

Winning on the road is tough in the CFL — we saw exactly one road team, Edmonton, win on the road in Week 1 — so expecting a victory by the Ticats is not something I would do. But in the interest of being positive, there is no reason to believe the Ticats can’t win this game and even up their record ahead of their home opener on June 29 against Winnipeg.

We saw some good things from the Ticats on Saturday night in Calgary, just not enough of them to get a win. Clean some of the mistakes up and a different outcome should follow.

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Josh has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.
Josh Smith
Josh Smith
About Josh Smith (393 Articles)
Josh has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.

45 Comments on The highs and lows of the Ticats’ 28-14 loss to the Stampeders

  1. I loved how the secondary was aggressive after the first quarter . Some of those calls were not interference but as usual Hamilton gets very few calls their way .

    • Wow, Hammer fans complaining about the refs – that didn’t take long.

      • longtimetcfan // June 17, 2018 at 2:26 pm //

        Re complaining about the refs… with good reason.

        Name another team that’s had more (any?) “apologies” from the League after the fact concerning blown calls by the refs or Command Centre over the last few years. The missed offensive PI on the one-handed Stamps catch a perfect example. He only had one hand to catch the ball because the other hand was clearly and obviously, to all but the refs, pushing off the db. And some of the other PIs were weak if not bogus, ie, the PI call against Unamba late in the game. So yes, some/many reasons to complain as more of the same. Déjà vu all over again.

        • Philski // June 18, 2018 at 6:41 am //

          If I’m Unamba I’m going to plant one in Daniels chops come Sept. 15th…just a reminder not to “dive” again…nothing personal of course.

      • Diehardticat // June 17, 2018 at 4:28 pm //

        Was I the only one who saw the Stamp tackle the Cat as he was trying to go after the fumble on the Calgary return. Cannot remember the quarter but the Stamp fumbled it and the cat started to go after it only to be tackled by another stamp. Not allowed

        • MR. Green // June 17, 2018 at 5:28 pm //

          I saw that too. That botched punt fumble. Looked like the TiCat player was being held from going after the ball. The Calgary player was behind him holding him back. He was only a couple yards away when the ball was bouncing around.

          • Garney26 // June 17, 2018 at 6:37 pm //

            How about Adrian Tracy getting hauled sown buy the back of his Jersey in the 3rd as Bo Levi ran for a first down. Um Sanders getting hit as the Calgary player played through him to the ball in the 2nd and no call but Brooks got called on the same offense? Ticky tack hit to the side on a guy that had no shot at stopping the punt return for a TD that was called back and so on and so on. My BC Lions buddies sat and counted al the bad missed or blown calls that directly went against Hamilton.

        • longtimetcfan // June 17, 2018 at 5:34 pm //

          Yes, I thought I saw that too but the TSN replay didn’t have the players in question in the picture. Wish I would have recorded the game. Thought the Stamp hooked the TiCat and obstructed his route to the free ball. The refs can catch an illegal block in a tangle of running players but miss what looked like interference/obstruction with 2 players in the open field :/

          Sometimes TSN replays games so keeping eyes open… unlike the refs:)

        • Diehard. Absolutely right

        • Ridersrule // June 18, 2018 at 1:15 am //

          And the worst part is the ref was right there watching the play

      • Philski // June 18, 2018 at 6:35 am //

        Go “F” yourself…seriously man.

    • Philski // June 18, 2018 at 6:34 am //

      Incorrect…only against the whinny little Stumps…but one day soon that will retract itself.

  2. Puck Hog // June 17, 2018 at 10:04 am //

    Josh, you can hang your hat on saying it was a close game, but after halftime, there was no doubt who was going to win this game. You’re right, Hamilton had some bright spots, but as a team they didn’t seem to snap together at times.

  3. Where's Shultz? // June 17, 2018 at 10:06 am //

    The run game will improve with Alex Green and John White. Defense couldn’t stop the long balls at first, once they figured that out they couldn’t stop the run.

    Overall better than I expected from the defense. Offense was streaky as Masoli often is.

    • Puck Hog // June 17, 2018 at 2:44 pm //

      An improved run game with Green & White…..sounds like Rider fans to me, lol!

  4. Scottsask // June 17, 2018 at 10:07 am //

    I thought the secondary was terrible early on, but they seemed to pick it up a bit. Greatly improved effort over last years trip. Simply came up short, Calgary’s qb had wasaaay too much time to operate despite his accuracy issues. Masoli looked ok, but the last interception was just ugly.

  5. OttawaHamiCatsFan // June 17, 2018 at 10:42 am //

    I guess I must have watched a different game then most. I thought that Masoli and the offense played fairly well in the first half. However, in the second half I thought they outright sucked. Masoli may have had good numbers but it reminds me of Kirk Cousins. Cousins numbers with Washington too were greatly inflated but when you look at the key offensive categories…red zone etc he is below average. Masoli had a similar type game. Quite frankly I could care less if he throws for 2000 yards in a game. If the team is not putting td’s in the end zone then the offense is not doing well. One touchdown will win you very few football games.

    I am not calling for Masoli too be replaced but I do not think that the offense was any good at all last night.

    • I’m not calling for his replacement either, because he’s the best we have AT THIS POINT. How can a QB throw beautiful deep passes, and totally suck at short ones?
      Collaros 1 – Masoli 0…

  6. I almost saw a parallel to the 2014 Grey Cup – the game was decided by a penalty on a kick return that negated a touchdown that we sure could have used – this was probably a more obvious penalty though. I guess it is not great that you are thankful that your team did not get blown out. I am sure we would have seen more running plays if we had more options than Whitlock and Timmis.

  7. Sea of Dead // June 17, 2018 at 11:11 am //

    Another ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda, DIDN’T’ effort by the Cats in Calgary when BLM was mediocre and his supporting cast not much better. I had exactly the same thought as Josh regarding the lack of Cat running plays: JJ’s game plan looked a lot like what we were subjected to under KA during his term.

    Hoping for a better result in Edmonton but wouldn’t bet on it based on what I saw in McMahon and if the Cats lose there then the 1H of the season could be a real stinker.

  8. Same old Cats,Same old results.Masoli was well Masoli he was really good for a half and not so good for the other half(He is not consistent enough to be a elite starter).The Cats can not get enough pass rush from their front four(Hughes would have been great).Of course they lacked a ground game,Cats cut Storm and kept only one True INT RB then he gets hurt so now you have to scramble and bring a out shape John White who does not know the play book in(But they kept 12 O-Linemen and 4 Safeties)WTF no other Team does that,just Stupid ones.The Cats where out Coached in every Fawcett of the game But June Jones did Himself or the Organization no Favours by hiring a lot of his very Old Buddies yes I am referring to Age and 4 of them Had no CFL experience that’s just really Dumb! The sad part of this was there was a great Opportunity to steal a road win against a really good team last night that was as bad of a game as Levi Mitchell has had in his CFL Career 47.2% passing a lot of over throws to wide open receivers and passes out of bounds and hitting the goal post(wish I could say it was the Cat Defence but it was not)Golden Opportunity Gone just like this Season.Edmonton will beat the Brakes off the Cats.Grey Cup drought will not be ending this year because Cats will not be in the Play Offs.

  9. Freelasagnahunter // June 17, 2018 at 12:12 pm //

    Yeah, you anti Masoli fools. Stop noticing the mistakes he makes. And if you do notice stop remembering them.
    Do this and you will transform Masoli into a winning QB.

  10. The previous Capitalized rant aside, When if and buts are candies and nuts works both ways. Bo’s overthrows are just incompletions too. His pick was just as bone-headed as Masoli’s. Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda….. The Cats needed more ground game, and they needed to be better against the run. We’ll see how fast Glanville sees the reality of defence in the CFL. Doesn’t look right with Coach O in the booth and not on the field, though.

    The 2nd game of the season is a good test of coaches. There is regular season game film on Edmonton, but they’ve got likewise on the Cats, so we’ll see how well the “Over the Hill Gang” adapts and modifies for next Friday.

  11. June Jones has learned that his receiving corps is not as great as the other teams.Masoli had time to throw and Saunders and Tasker did their job catching.Toliver is a guy that should improve the heavy reliance on just two receivers.( I know Jones had a good game.)

    Alex Green returning should also give the Cats options in passing.The Cats, with no doubt, need receivers like Derel Walker and Duke Williams that can leep nine feet up in the air to catch the ball.That’s how the western teams have the edge on the east , it’s those damn tall receivers.

    That’s your lesson June Junes to win games you need some of those Damn tall receivers.The mad search for them must start now!!

    • Philski // June 18, 2018 at 7:08 am //

      That’s why I couldn’t care if they sign Chapstick…too many of those Smurfs already.

  12. Looked to me like Hamilton snatched defeat from the hands of victory. The only accurate throws Bo made were the ones he threw prior to heading on each set of downs. Didn’t think Masoli looked too bad, other than the untimely pick. He knew as soon as he released, that he shouldn’t have thrown that ball.

    I don’t think the run game is going to flourish as long as Whitlock is on the O side of the ball. Maybe bring Storm Johnson back ?

  13. Please trade Manziel to the Argos. It does no good for the league to have him sitting on the bench. He is only here for two years. The Argos need to put butts in seats . I don’t care if the Argos are unbeaten that is not enough to get Torontonians excited ,We need a name like TFC has Giovinco

    • Sorry Gary, we like Johnny on our bench in case Masoli is injured.You need a great backup in this league because quarterbacks are often injured and Johnny already gives us the extra press without playing.

    • Peter North // June 17, 2018 at 2:16 pm //

      The Argos have had players like Flutie, Ismail and Ricky Williams and they still had trouble attracting fans, Johnnie Football would make no difference, they will still draw roughly 15k per game.

    • Johnny football is not a good fit for the Trestman style of offense – Ricky Ray is a pocket passer and Johnny – like Masoli – is not.

  14. bigplay // June 17, 2018 at 1:32 pm //

    In Response to George// yeah my post might have been long but hard to argue any of my points you actually agreed with 2 of 4 points.And talk about when ifs and Butts are Candies and Nuts,Then why the hell are you trying to defend the Coach staffing stating that Week one no game film the same as Calgary but their staff did a much better job!I will agree about being tougher against the Run but giving Coleman to BC for nothing (7 Tackles last night for BC)does not help your cause his replacement Jason Neill had 2 tackles.Some advice George if your going to be a Cat fan face reality and grow some thicker skin.

  15. This Josh Smith guy has no idea what he is talking abiut.

  16. You can’t teach game presence and coolness when the game is on the line. Bottom line is in college and pros Masoli has crumpled under pressure. So has Manziel at times but all in all John,s Pressure Resume is better.

  17. Alabama and Cotton in Bowl 2012. At Browns…2015 Tennessee was coming back and John scrambled and threw a Dagger Touchdown to seal it beating another Heisman guy Marriota. Last year Masoli coulda woulda shoulda made the playoffs but didn’t. At some point you gotta find out if a 4 years younger sober John can pull off these last chance drives.

  18. Well..we had are shot. Bo had guys open all night. He just needs to dial it in. Good thing he didn’t last night.Our defence did not look very good..We are still lacking a tall fast receiver like others have mentioned. Bottom line. I just don’t think we are going to be very good. I know its early…I know Toliver and Alex Green will surely help. but looks like a 500 team at best. Hope they prove me wrong.

  19. Get some glasses. Also take away the yards Masoli passed for after the game was over including the last 2 plays of the game. Masoli was AWFUL for the entire 2nd half. Should have been replaced. In the first half he had the long ball otherwise did little. Let’s not forget that his past total inability to QB Sneak reappeared in embarrasing fashion.

  20. I was at the game wearing my black and gold and for crying out loud I am now 0-15 at that stadium. However, I thought the Cats showed more than I expected (they usually suck beginning the season)and they will get off to a faster start this season than many of the past. I’ll be in Edmonton on Friday. Go Cats!

  21. I don’t care what anybody says. The referees lost that game for Hamilton. When are they going to just let them play? And it’s very noticeable when they play Calgary. What’s up with that? Always Calgary!!

  22. Crankshaft79 // June 18, 2018 at 9:19 am //

    Two thoughts….
    1) At least the score wasn’t 60-1.
    2) Still tied for 1st in the East.

    • Actaully if you look at the CFL standings the Ticats are in 4th! Ottawa is in first by virtue of NOT playing against a western team and losing. While none of the losses of eastern team to western teams were by huge margins, Argos lost by 9, Larks by 12 and Ticats by 14 SO that lands us at the bottom of the division after week one. Only place to go is UP.

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