The Hamilton Tiger-Cats stumbled out of the starting gate once again…or maybe it was more like a face-plant.
The Ticats fell hard to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday night, having been thoroughly dominated in every phase of the game, eventually falling 43-16 in an eye-opening, loss.
It was the eighth straight year Hamilton has dropped their first game of the regular schedule.
After many around the CFL spectrum wanted a closer look of the Ticats following an off-season of acquiring flashy offensive players, the Tabbies revealed in their Week 1 loss that their defensive problems might be deeper than we think.
The defensive issues reared their ugly head against the Riders, a team most people didn’t even give a punchers chance to go into Ivor Wynne Stadium and come out with a win on opening night.
A lack of pressure pivot allowed Rider quarterback Darian Durant to complete 25 of his 34 pass attempts, a 73.5 per cent success rate.
Durant was able to go through his progressions – save for a lone sack from Ticats linebacker Renauld Williams – nearly untouched and pick apart the exclusively man-cover scheme employed by Hamilton’s secondary.
Shoddy tackling in the open field, which has plagued this team at times through recent years, didn’t help either.
Weston Dressler, among others, chewed up the ‘YAC’ (Yards After Catch) to help run Durant’s passing yardage total to 390, most among CFL passers in the first week of the 2012 campaign.
Well-schemed offensive calls helped Dressler get mixed up in coverage.
A lack of proper switching and communication in Hamilton’s defensive coverage, allowed Dressler to grab 13 balls for a whopping180 yards and three majors.
Two of Dressler’s scoring catches came in the third quarter when Saskatchewan took complete control of the game.
Speaking of no. 7 in Green and White, it was he who seemingly got away with a 52-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter.
Dressler appeared to make a reception on a low throw from Durant during a second down play with 9:52 left in the first half.
It looked as if the tip of the ball might have hit the ground, but at game speed it was a tough call for the officials who ruled a catch.
Durant and the offence quickly came to the line of scrimmage on the ensuing play, rushed the snap, thus not allowing Cortez to throw the challenge flag.
A date with the defending champs and 2011 MOP, Travis Lulay awaits.