Hamilton Tiger-Cats drop the hammer on BC Lions

HAMILTON — May it be the time difference or simply just being outperformed by the Ticats, the Lions seemed to enter Round 2 of the back-to-back series against the Tabbies asleep as they went on to lose 40-10 in Hamilton. The win brings the Tiger-Cats back to a .500 record with four games remaining on their schedule.

The two teams were coming off an exciting Week 15 tilt in Vancouver, with the Lions coming out on top in that contest following a last-second touchdown and two-point conversion to force overtime, eventually finishing in favour of the Lions. However, it would be the Ticats who got the last word in Saturday’s Week 16 matchup between the two squads at Tim Hortons Field.

In his first game back since an injury on September 8 sidelined him for the next two games, Ticats’ Brandon Banks got involved in the offence right off the hop with a first down reception.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats opened up the scoring on their first offensive drive that covered 88 yards in eight plays. Luke Tasker caught the 13-yard pass from Jeremiah Masoli, putting the Tabbies up with a route over the middle of the end zone.

Lirim Hajrullahu missed the point after attempt, limiting Hamilton to a 6-0 lead.

Jonathon Jennings and the Lions offence were looking to continue their momentum from last weekend’s thrilling win against the Ticats, however, Hamilton’s Don Unamba had other plans as he intercepted Jennings on his first pass attempt. The Ticats’ linebacker then rumbled 30 yards to give the Ticats a 13-0 lead following the made point after.

BC’s offence continued to struggle in the early going’s of the first quarter, going two-and-out. On second down, Justin Cappiccotti of the Tiger-Cats grabbed ahold of Jennings as the pocket quickly collapsed on the Lions signal-caller, leading to a fumble of which Jennings would pounce on, but not before losing several yards.

Hamilton continued to pile on the points in the first quarter, further extending their lead to 20-0 after a seven play drive, capped off with a seven-yard touchdown to Brandon Banks, who was playing his first game since September 8 due to a groin injury that forced him out of the Tabbies last two games.

As the first quarter wrapped up, the Ticats had inserted their dominance on the ground over the course of the first 15 minutes. Hamilton running back John White closed out the quarter with 81 yards on the ground with six carries. White would finish the game eclipsing the century mark by rushing the ball.

Ty Long snapped the scoreless half for the Lions with a 29-yard field goal after the Lions had their strive stalled by the Ticats defence after marching 47 yards.

With a catch that everyone needed a second glance to understand, Mike Jones hauled in a 38-yard bomb that slipped through the hands of a Lions defender as a falling Jones cradled the ball in unsuspectingly for the reception. On the same play, Terrence Toliver went down with an undisclosed injury, which prevented him from returning to the game.

Banks scored his second touchdown of the game and ninth of the season with five minutes remaining in the first half. The touchdown further extended the Hamilton lead to 27-3 following the point after by Hajrullahu.

The first half struggles continued for the Lions as Jennings threw his second interception on the ensuing drive. On a play where the pass was tipped by Hamilton’s Simoni LawrenceCariel Brooks came down with his third interception of the season.

Before the half expired, Hajrullahu made his first field goal of the day with a 24-yard field goal to push the Ticats up to a 27-point advantage, leading 30-3.

The Lions marched their way downfield on their following offensive drive all the way to the goal line, only to have DeVier Posey drop a touchdown pass as the clock hit zeros.

Jeremiah Masoli finished the first half with three touchdowns and 175 yards through the air.

In the third quarter, Ted Laurent and the Hamilton defence continued to apply the pressure onto Jennings. Laurent recorded two sacks on back-to-back drives by the Lions offence.

The Lions continued their offensive woes as Jonathon Jennings threw his third interception of the game. Ticats’ Mike Daly got his mitts on the pass and returned the ball 58 yards for Hamilton’s second defensive touchdown of the game. The pick stands as Daly’s third interception of the season and first career touchdown.

With the score, the Lions continued to find themselves in a deeper and deeper hole, falling behind 40-3 as the third quarter came to a close.

Cody Fajardo came in to replace Jennings on the Lions’ final drive of the third quarter and continued the fourth quarter at the helm of the BC offence. On the Lions first full drive of the final quarter, Fajardo and the offence started their drive already with good field position in the Hamilton end of the field. Six plays later, Fajardo found Shaquille Johnson in the end zone for the Lions’ first major of the game. A missed two-point conversion kept the Ticats lead at a 31-point differential.

Prior to the three-minute warning of the fourth quarter, the Ticats sent backup quarterback Dane Evansinto the game to finish the game as the Tiger-Cats went on to win a dominating performance with a 40-10 victory of Round 2 of the feline fight.

Hamilton will take the win and enjoy Week 17 on their final bye week of the season. As for the Lions, the loss in Hamilton marks their sixth road loss of the season, having only won once as the away team so far this season. They will be at home in Week 17 against the Argonauts on Saturday night with a 7:00 p.m. ET kickoff.

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