“I’ve been in some games where my team put up a lot of points,” said Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris, a 13-year CFL veteran.
“But I can’t say I’ve been in one where there was 51 unanswered.”
Tiger-Cats Head Coach George Cortez had a stern message to his team in the days leading up to last week's game, and he hopes that the momentum gained from their Week 12 win will carry over into Week 13.
Down 8-0 after the opening quarter against Edmonton, Hamilton owned the final 45 minutes of their Week 12 contest. Three field goals and six touchdowns helped the Ticats break the 50-point barrier and record their largest margin of victory since September 18, 1999, when they beat Winnipeg 65-15.
Not only was it an emphatic win over the Eskimos, but a much needed one for the Black and Gold who had put themselves in a hole, dropping their previous five in a row.
‘Digging out of the hole’ was the message from head coach George Cortez to his team leading up to the matchup with Edmonton. It was printed on paper during the week of preparation leading up to the game with the Eskimos. And when the players entered the facility on Saturday to get prepared for kickoff there was a bucket full of dirt with a shovel sticking out of it in the middle of the Tiger-Cats locker room.
“That’s a first,” Burris said of seeing a bucket, dirt and shovel sitting in a dressing area.
“It was funny because that was the message leading up to the game: digging out of the hole we put ourselves in.”
“It struck a nerve of energy within the guys, to actually see the physical shovel in the dirt.”
Cortez’s message clearly got through to the players as the Ticats went out and put together a complete team effort, dominating Edmonton in every area of the game to pick up their first win since July 28.
“This game is all about momentum,” Burris said. “To have that good feeling back again it’s what changes seasons around or negative momentum can put seasons into the dark side, which we went through for five games.”
Hank and the Ticats offence put together another impressive performance, like they have for most of the season – Hamilton leads the league with just over 31 points scored per game. However, it was the Ticats defence that finally stepped up and allowed the score line to read blowout instead of shootout.
“We didn’t have some of the busts that we’ve had the previous five weeks on that losing streak,” defensive coordinator Casey Creehan said.
Continuity was the biggest factor in the defences, by a country mile, best showing of the 2012 season.
According to Creehan there have been just two two-game stretches this year where his unit has been able to play the same secondary in back-to-back games, Weeks 11 and 12 were one of those cases.
“We had some continuity which we haven’t had all year unfortunately,” Creehan said. “Believe it or not, it was relatively the same defences being played against mostly the same ball plays. It was just a matter of execution.”
Leading the charge for Hamilton’s defence against Edmonton was Brock Campbell, playing in just his fourth ever CFL game and making his third start at the tricky strong side linebacker position.
“Cover guy. He has to be able to cover,” Creehan said of the traits he seeks in a ‘SAM’ backer in the three-down game.