Well that was a disappointment in some ways, looking back on it now. Sure the Riders are a good team, but starting their third string QB Durant, this looked like a good chance for a home win. Why can't Hamilton ever have a third string guy come in and win?
I think the key to this loss was the fact that the Cats were always down and never managed to get ahead. Getting ahead of Saskatchewan would have put more pressure on their backup QB, which could have led to turnovers and consequently a much bigger lead. Obviously it is easy to say that a team should get ahead and then they have a better chance to win. However the Ticats missed some opportunities in the first half that may ultimately have cost the game. Setta missed that first field goal (admittedly a long one) and then Lumsden fumbled while the Cats were on the march late in the second quarter leading to a Saskatchewan TD. The unfortunate thing about the fumble, was that it was on 2nd and 1, and Lumsden did get past the first down marker at the Riders' 20, with only 2:19 left. That could have meant either three or seven points for the Cats with no time left for the Riders to reply.
Through most of the game I thought that the Cats looked like the better team and would have won if their had been an extra quarter to play. But the Cats didn't get it done.
Offencewise, I don't think their was much to complain about. Lumsden had another good day and was able to run against the tough Saskatchewan run defence. Printers, I was a bit disappointed in his completion percentage (18/32, 56.2 %). I was also disappointed that Printers only rushed four times for 19 yards, which I think was too few attempts for a mobile QB. It was great seeing Bauman with eight receptions (considering that some fans wanted to trade him) and Miles and Woodcock with some good yards. With their success, it seems silly not to start both Woodcock and Bauman at receiver and slotback. Besides Miles, it is not like the other American receivers are getting much done. Mediocre American receivers, what else is new for the Ticats.
Defencewise, I think this was a weakness, however they did not play badly. Obviously the strength of the Cats so far this year is the strength of their offence. A lot of pass yards were given up, however I don't blame this all on the secondary. The front four wasn't generating much of a rush and in fact didn't get one single sack against a backup QB. Props to the Riders oline, but that's just not getting it done. Maybe a few more blitzes might have been called for?
In the stadium, I was impressed by the number of Riders fans in attendance (which was probably a bit low because of the earlier rain). Interestingly the Cats seem to think that the Riders are not a big draw historically for Hamilton fans (which is probably true), however it now seems that the Riders are a big draw for Riders fans in the area. If the Cats are smart, they would try to keep this game in the summer next year, as the Riders fans seem willing to come out for it, rain or shine. I'll make a bold prediction that the final game of the Argos at home versus the Riders will be a sellout (providing that either team is not sucking totally by that time).
We'll see how the Cats do against the Stampeders this week.