Dunk: Ticats D ready to avenge Week 1 performance | CFL.ca | Official Site of the Canadian Football League

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.

video thumbnail» WATCH: Walker runs in 89-yard TD vs. Roughriders
Making his CFL debut, Ticats RB Chevon Walker did not disappoint on this carry, running 89 yards for the score.

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.


After the game, Cortez said he didn’t have a chance to see a replay before deciding whether or not to challenge.

Two plays later, Chris Getzlaf hit pay dirt for the Riders who took an eight-point advantage thanks to the big play made by Dressler that could have easily been reversed.

Even when there was a chance for Hamilton’s defence to step up and make a play to turn the tide, the unit could not capitalize.

Midway through the second frame, Geoff Tisdale, starting his second stint with the club, made a great read and break on a Durant pass intended for Getzlaf. Tisdale had what looked like a sure interception slip right through his hands.

Despite a slow-start on defence, Hamilton was still within striking distance. After an 89-yard touchdown burst by rookie running back Chevon Walker - one of the few Ticat bright spots, rushing for 132 yards on seven carries - the Tabbies were down just one. And they appeared to take the lead on their next possession.

A 97-yard touchdown pass from Henry Burris to Chris Williams was nullified because of a questionable call illegal blocking play on left Guard Peter Dyakowski. Rather than taking a two-point lead, the Ticats began to falter.

The Riders scored the final 20 points and showered their new head coach, former Ticats defensive coordinator, Corey Chamblin with a bucket of Gatorade.

It was supposed to be Hamilton, drenching Cortez to celebrate his first win as a professional head coach to begin the final home schedule at Ivor Wynne. Instead his Ticats suffered a loss, which brought some of Hamilton’s flaws to the forefront, under the bright lights that hid them so well during the lead up to the 2012 season.

However, no team is ever as good or as bad as they might look in such a blowout type of game. Even though the loss was on the ugly side, the issues are correctable.

You can bet on the next questionable call, whether or not he views a replay, Cortez will heave his challenge flag in the direction of the official.

As for the defence, it would be foolish to think coordinator Casey Creehan will allow over 40 points and 500-plus total yards to be rung up on his unit in consecutive weeks. But, Creehan’s troops will have their hands full, as they prepare for the cross-country trip to BC Place in week two.

A date with the defending champs and 2011 MOP, Travis Lulay awaits.

About Justin
Justin Dunk started at quarterback for the University of Guelph Gryphons from 2005-2009, and threw for the seventh most yards in CIS history (9,530). His passion for football will always run deep. He covers the three-down league as a national columnist for CFL.ca. Dunk's work can also be found at Sportsnet.ca and 3DownNation.com. Follow Justin on Twitter @JDunk12.
Fan Comments
Nice try Dunk . . . the Riders O didn't dominate, the Ticats D sucked . . . is that what you're going on about? I don't think so. The Riders had a plan, the players and the x's and O's to do what they did. They beat the Ticats, and you're missed call and "questionable" penalty would have only narrowed the gap by 14pts, to a 13 point Rider victory. Include either play and the Riders still win. Go Riders
July 05, 2012 - 10:19am
Enough has been said about the TiCats lost. Then enough can never be said when you bring in money players and they don't perform. Burris was sacked once. He completed enough passes to win, however, they were blown out, at home. Start the shake up now, read the riot act. No, don't panic but every man has to know where they stand as well as the task at hand.

You have to wonder if Cortez can make it happen? Sure it's a long season. Coming out of the gate you look for perfection. Chamblin did
July 05, 2012 - 1:29am
One fact that everyone seems to be overlooking is something that the riders made no secret in the offseason that would be key to their offensive success and that was to replace wes cates 3 yards and a cloud of dust tunning back with a faster back. The plan for the season was to establish a running game early in every in evergame to control time of possesion, set up the pass game, and keep some of the High Powered offenses off the field and that is exactly what they did. Korey sheets a rookie in the CFL but not really arookie in pro football was able to do that behind a carefully put together O Line and the result was exactly what they wanted. Brnadon West did not play bad to lose the starting role Sheet played that good. Look for the Riders to begin to get more touches for West as the season progresses giving them two fast running backs to continue with their game plan. So it was more of Sask execution of their well known game plan and less of the Ti Cat D playing poorly
July 05, 2012 - 12:59am
Ticats have been working hard to get themselves ready for the challenge of BC and will certainly be looking to capitalize more on opportunities and eliminate mistakes. They definitely have their work cut out for them!
July 04, 2012 - 6:52pm
the defense has alot more questions now. i figured the pass rush would step it up in week 1 but it didnt and it cost the tigercats a win. the offense will be fine, but the defense has lots or problems. and facing a tough lions team this week, who are arguably the best team right there is, doesnt help this problem thats for sure. the odds to beating the lions this week are not good. i expect a very close game though. hoping the tigercats can pull the upset. GO TIGERCATS
July 04, 2012 - 4:10pm