secure their first 'W' of the season by beating the Argos.
Where should I start. Oh yeah, Chris Williams. I guess we can put to rest any possibility of a sophmore slump, eh? This guy has been unbelieveable the first three weeks. Over 100 yards against the Riders; two touchdowns against the Lions; and now three touchdowns, including an incredible 119-yard missed field goal return, against the Argos. In what is turning out to be another Year of the Returner, Chris Williams is at the head of the class.
For as much flak as the defense takes, and some of it deserved, they have quietly put together two rather good performances. They are still vulnerable against the run, as evidenced by Argo running back Cory Boyd's 168 yards on the ground, but they found a way to get pressure, though just one sack, and the defensive backs constantly forced Ray to look for his check-down option. There is still plenty of room for improvement, but this was a nice game by the defense.
One player in particular I have been impressed with all season is rookie defensive back Matt Bucknor. The Hamilton native has not looked out of place in his first CFL season. He hasn't made many standout plays, but he has been a steady presence, which is very impressive from a rookie. If he continues to develop and play well, the Ti-Cats could be starting two Canadians in the secondary before too long.
One last thing, it was really nice to see Andy Fantuz catch his first touchdown pass as a member of the Ti-Cats. Fantuz has had a bit of a slow start to the season, but he has been utilized more and more in the passing attack as the weeks have gone on, so he will have his big breakout game sooner rather than later. But for the time being, it was nice to see Fantuz finally break the goose egg that was his 2012 touchdown total.
A team scores 36 points and you think the offense played pretty well, but that was not the case for the Ti-Cats. Of those 36 points, 15 came courtesy of special teams. There was a particularly troublesome dry spell in the second and third quarters when the team failed to score any points on offense. It was not until Bakari Grant's clincher late in the fourth quarter that the Tiger-Cat offense got the team back into the end zone. I'm not concerned that the offense because I know they have the horses to get it done, but less than 300 yards of offense is not good enough.
While I know he is dealing with a nagging injury, I have not been all that impressed with Sam Giguère so far. I did like that he put his head down to knock over a few Argo players on a fourth quarter catch – though I do wonder why he didn't use his superior speed to get around the corner and score the touchdown – but other than that he's been kind of invisible. This was probably his best game, but more is expected of a player who was drafted in the first round. Like the offense as a whole, I know Giguère will turn it around, but I just haven't been that impressed with him so far.
I'm not one to harp on refs (OK, maybe I am), but I really did not like the game that Murray Clarke and his crew called. For starters, just what the heck is "accidentlal pass interference"? That sure sounded like a made-up call to me. The pass interference call on Carlos Thomas in the end zone was bogus as well. But what bothered me the most about the reffing was that it was inconsistent. The Argos committed would could be classified as "incidental pass interference" later in the game and no flag was thrown. The same with a non-call against Chris Williams in the second half that was much more egregious than the one Thomas was called for earlier. Personally, I don't think any of the plays deserved a flag, but if the first plays got them, then the subsequent plays should have as well. I can accept bad calls, but I cannot accept inconsistent refereeing.
It was a really entertaining game: a blowout that turned into a nail biter. Both teams showed why pundits thought they'd be good and why naysayers were cautious about annointing either. Both teams still have work to do, but this was a good win for the Tiger-Cats.
Next up for the Black & Gold is a date with the first-place Montreal Alouettes. The Cats can claim a share of first, and will vault ahead of Montreal based on head-to-head record, with a win. To do that, the offense will have to be more consistent and the defense will have to continue to improve. Next week should be a lot of fun and with a share of first place on the line, the atmosphere for the Alouettes' final trip to Ivor Wynne Stadium will be electric.