CFL: Hamilton Tiger-Cats overwhelm Toronto Argonauts in huge road win

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats continued their solid start to the season with a dominant 64-14 road win over the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday. The Ticats’ offence put up 600 total yards and scored six touchdowns on the back of a solid performance from quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Six consecutive drives resulted in touchdowns for the Tabbies in their largest win ever against Toronto.

Masoli completed 23 of 31 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns in the win, giving him a 6-1 career record against the Argos. Masoli also added a one-yard rushing score.

Running back Sean Thomas-Erlington emerged with a standout performance for Hamilton, showing he could do it all by gaining 109 rushing yards on just 12 carries and adding three catches for 56 yards.

Receivers Brandon Banks and Bralon Addison both came through with big games for the Ticats as well. Addison found the end zone three times while racking up 107 yards on six catches, and Banks finished the game with seven catches for 105 yards. Banks also added a highlight reel special teams touchdown when he returned a missed field goal for a 113-yard touchdown.

James Franklin and the Argos’ offence could not find room to maneuver against a strong defensive outing from Hamilton, as the starting quarterback finished the day with 211 passing yards on 16 completions.

The Ticats came out aggressive on offence with deep throws to stretch the field, but Argos defensive back Abdul Kanneh notched a turnover for his team early on by making a beautiful read and play on the ball to intercept Masoli. The Ticats managed to get it back moments later when offensive lineman Brandon Revenberg forced a fumble on Kanneh and recovered the ball for a fresh set of downs.

Masoli helped turn the second chance into points with a big 29-yard throw to Banks on a corner route that set up a 34-yard field goal from kicker Lirim Hajrullahu.

Franklin had some good moments in the early going, standing tall in the pocket while finding open receivers to move the chains. First down gains from receiver Armanti Edwards put Toronto in position to get on the board, and kicker Drew Brown made the 28-yard field goal to tie the game with under five minutes to play in the opening quarter.

Toronto’s defence did a good job containing Hamilton’s offensive attack to start out, but the Tabbies got on the board again when Hajrullahu showed off his formidable leg strength by knocking through a 56-yard field goal to give the Ticats a 6-3 lead in the second quarter.

Masoli attempted to get things going through the air once again, but the Argos added their second turnover of the game when linebacker Ian Wild dislodged the ball out of the hands of Banks after he made a catch. Defensive back Trumaine Washington recovered the ball to set things up for Franklin and the Argos’ offence.

But possession and momentum quickly changed once again when linebacker Simoni Lawrence picked off Franklin over the middle of the field to give the ball right back to Hamilton. The interception was Lawrence’s second of the season.

A big 44-yard catch-and-run from receiver Marcus Tucker brought the Tabbies into scoring range, and Thomas-Erlington brought the ball to the doorstep of the end zone with a six-yard run. Masoli kept the ball on the next play and finished off the drive with a quarterback sneak touchdown, and a successful two-point convert pass to Tucker gave Hamilton a 14-3 lead.

Masoli kept things rolling after Hamilton’s defence quickly forced a punt off a big sack from defensive lineman Ted Laurent. The Ticats moved the ball effectively through the air and on the ground while driving down the field to extend the lead before half time. Rookie running back Maleek Irons made the most of his first two career carries by picking up 13 yards and following it up with a five-yard rushing touchdown. The ensuing two-point convert attempt was unsuccessful, leaving the Ticats with a 20-3 lead.

The Argos answered back after a big gain from running back James Wilder Jr. and a spectacular catch in traffic from S.J. Green put the team in field goal range with five seconds left to go in the half. Brown hit the 43-yard field goal to make it a two possession game heading into the third quarter.

A huge run from Thomas-Erlington kicked things off for the Ticats in the second half. The talented runner displayed vision and quickness to find daylight and gain 52 yards up the left side of the field before being knocked out of bounds. Addison reeled in a reception on the next play and turned it up the field, beating Kanneh to the right pylon for a 21-yard touchdown. Tucker secured his second two-point convert catch of the game on the next play to give Hamilton a 26-6 lead.

The Tabbies remained hot on both sides of the ball as the third quarter unfolded, and the Argos simply could not solve the Ticats’ defensive pressure. Masoli got the ball back and extended his team’s lead once again on a brilliant throw that beat the Argos’ blitz. Masoli kept his eyes down field as pressure came, and the athletic passer completed a pass to Nikola Kalinic for a 31-yard touchdown while falling backwards, the first score of Kalinic’s CFL career. Addison hauled in the two-point convert reception to make the score 34-6.

Toronto appeared to be on their way to a promising result after Franklin connected with new weapon Derel Walker for a 42-yard gain, but Lawrence sacked Franklin for a big loss two plays later to stall the drive and force a punt.

Upon getting the ball back, Thomas-Erlington showed that his versatile skill set goes beyond just rushing the ball. The running back looked more like a wide receiver as he stretched out to make a 37-yard finger tip grab over his shoulder. Banks then took a short reception and turned it into a 23-yard gain, setting up Masoli to find Addison with a 10-yard touchdown pass. Hajrullahu added the extra point to put the Black and Gold on top 41-6.

Things continued to get worse for Toronto when a missed field goal attempt ended up in the hands of Banks. The speedy return specialist caught the ball in the end zone and proceeded to take it the entire length of the field for a 113-yard touchdown. Hajrullahu added the extra point to put Hamilton up 48-6 in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson came in with 13 minutes remaining to take over under centre for Toronto, while Dane Evans came in to relieve Masoli.

Addison added his third touchdown catch of the game down the stretch to help put the Ticats up 55-6, accelerating up the field for a 44-yard catch-and-run touchdown that further silenced the home crowd.

Hajrullahu knocked through a 27-yard field goal to give Hamilton a 58-6 lead later on, but the Argos responded with their first touchdown of the game. Bethel-Thompson led a scoring drive that ended with a three-yard touchdown pass to Edwards. Bethel-Thompson then completed the two-point convert to Green to make the score 58-14 with under two minutes to play.

The final touchdown of the game came from Hamilton’s defence when defensive back Rico Murray intercepted Bethel-Thompson on the final play and returned it 37 yards to give the Ticats a 64-14 victory.

Week 3 will see the unbeaten Hamilton Tiger-Cats host the Montreal Alouettes on Friday, June 28, while the Toronto Argonauts will be on the road for their next battle when they face the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Monday, July 1.

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