HAMILTON – The Hamilton Tiger-Cats put up 32 first half points and held off a second half Montreal surge to defeat the Alouettes 39-24 at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
Saturday night was an opportunity to witness two of the best quarterbacks in CFL history square off for the first time since Henry Burris joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The two gunslingers would not dissappoint. The two would finish with a combined 734 yards passing but it was Burris who was nothing short of spectacular, completing 27 of 30 passes for 360 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The Ticats’ mission heading into the game was to get after the quarterback and make Anthony Calvillo feel uncomfortable in the pocket.
They did just that early on when LB Rey Williams stepped in front of a Calvillo toss and returned it 53 yards to set up the game’s opening score; an 8-yard touchdown by WR Bakari Grant from the arm of Burris.
With the defence coming up big, the Tiger-Cats offence refused to be outdone, engineering a 14-play, 57-yard touchdown drive, finished off by a Daryl Stephenson reception. The major was aided by two pass interference penalties back-to-back by Alouettes LB Chip Cox as Hamilton jumped out to an early 14-0 lead.
Calvillo and the Als would get on track shortly thereafter however. First the soon-to-be 40-year-old pivot found SJ Green open for a 54-yard reception, and then he carried the ball himself for 10 yards before lobbing a touchdown pass to RB Brandon Whitaker.
The Als signal-caller was trying to improve on a dominant 28-11 all-time regular season record against the Tabbies.
The next Montreal scoring chance came midway through the second quarter when Sean Whyte attempted a 45-yard field goal but it sailed wide. Ticats WR Chris Williams, who has three return touchdowns in his last two games, took the miss up the middle and eventually ran it back 116 yards.
He would have had a certain touchdown but got caught celebrating too early and was caught from behind by Montreal LB Brian Ridgeway who tackled him at the 1 yard line. His lapse would be forgotten when Chevon Walker leaped into the endzone a play later.
Walker wasn’t done there however. On the next Hamilton possession, he added his second touchdown of the game to follow a Whyte field goal on a 5-yard reception to put the Tiger-Cats up in front by a commanding 29-10.
Burris simply spectacular
Henry Burris was near perfect completing 90% of his passes. He finished 27 of 30 for 360 yards and 4 touchdowns. More importantly, he did not throw an interception. »Watch Highlights
Luca Congi would add a field goal at the end of the half to bring his team into the locker room with a 32-10 lead.
Calvillo and the Als would not go down without a fight as the future hall of famer connected with Brandon London on a 32-yard touchdown pass to cut the Hamilton lead to 32-17 early on in the third quarter.
Those who have followed Calvillo’s career with any sort of regularity knows that if the opposition gives him a chance to claw his way back into the game, he will attempt to do so.
He picked apart the Tiger-Cats defence on his next drive completing throws of 37, 20, 10 and 13 yards before finding rookie fullback Patrick Lavoie for a 12-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 32-24.
The score was Lavoie’s third of the season after recording the game winner in a comeback versus Calgary last week.
Not to be outshined, Burris came right back finding Andy Fantuz on a quick drive with the second completion acting as a 26-yard touchdown strike to put the ‘Cats back up by 15. The drive covered three plays, 64 yards.
The Als orchestrated a late drive, converting on two third down gambles but couldn’t connect on the third with 1:42 left in the game and the turnover of downs clinched the win for the Tiger-Cats.