All Three Phases: 'Cats pile on points in win over Bombers
Offence, defence, special teams, they all got in on it.
Brandon Banks once again took a punt return to the house and Zach Collaros threw a pair of touchdown passes as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats controlled the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 52-26 at Investors Group Field Thursday night.
Banks’ second return touchdown in as many games springboard a simply dominant second quarter by the Tiger-Cats but they didn’t truly take control of the game until Winnipeg starter Drew Willy exited.
Willy was 3 of 6 for 48 yards before leaving the game. Bakari Grant had six receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown in the win.Willy is coming off one of his most impressive games since taking over the Winnipeg offence last year. The second-year Bomber passed for 325 yards and 3 touchdowns in his club’s 30-26 win over Saskatchewan on the road in the opener.
Two teams that had no issue putting up points last week each scored on their opening drives.
After the Bombers earned a single on the opening kickoff, Zach Collaros led a solid first possession, finding Terrell Sinkfield for a 38-yard gain to set up a 19-yard Justin Medlock field goal.
Collaros finished 26 of 33 for 354 yards and 2 touchdowns.
A 33-yard Justin Veltung kickoff return aided Drew Willy in a 9-play, 74-yard touchdown drive.
On his first possession Thursday, he connected with Nick Moore and Julien Feoli-Gudino before handing the ball off to tailback Paris Cotton who weaved his way to a 13-yard touchdown.
Cotton tore up the Roughriders last week to the tune of 108 yards on the ground and 59 in the air. His rushing major gave the Bombers an early 7-3 lead.
Collaros quickly answered with a touchdown drive of his own after LB Mike Daly stepped in front of an errant Willy toss. The second-year Tiger-Cat pivot completed passes to Sinkfield, RB Ray Holley and WR Tiquan Underwood before lobbing the ball into WR Terrence Toliver for a 3-yard score.
The Ticats defence swarmed the Bombers starting quarterback on the next possession, leading to his aforementioned departure on the hit by Tracy.
Brian Brohm would enter in relief but before he got a chance to take a snap, the Tiger-Cats padded their lead in a way it seems only they can.
Brohm struggled to get into rhythm when he did get on the field as the Tiger-Cats made no secret as to what they were doing on defence, sending the house on what seemed like every play.
Willy takes hit, leaves game with injury
Winnipeg Blue Bombers starting quarterback Drew Willy has left the game after taking a hit from Hamilton Ticats DL Adrian Tracy. Brian Brohm replaced him as he was taken to the locker room .
Multiple two-and-outs led to what would become a second-quarter onslaught by the ‘Cats with Willy in the locker room and unable to help his team answer Hamilton’s vaunted attack.
First, Collaros completed three receptions to underwood – one of which was 29 yards – leading to a Jeff Matthews QB sneak major.
The ensuing Bombers drive saw Brohm’s pass tipped at the line and land right into the hands of DB Emanuel Davis who waltz 30 yards for the touchdown.
Already up 31-7, the Ticats kept pouring it on as the second half ticked down. Collaros connected with veteran Grant underneath before the two connected on a 35-yard touchdown when the former Cincinnati QB found Grant over the top.
Brohm and the Bombers offence finally strung together significant yardage when the 29-year-old pivot found Moore before heaving a pass up for Clarence Denmark. A successful challenge by head coach Mike O’Shea helped earn a pass interference call on Davis and the 34-yard penalty led to a 4-yard touchdown by Cameron Marshall.
The Bombers backup tailback had two majors last week against Saskatchewan.
The Tiger-Cats came out of halftime with a 25-point lead, and quickly added another three points with Medlock knocking through a 32-yard field goal on the strength of a 51-yard Grant catch-and-run.
Brohm answered with another scoring drive, completing a trio of passes and handing off to Cotton before escaping the pocket and diving into the endzone on a 17-yard touchdown scamper to cut the lead to 49-26.
Once the Ticats added another field goal at the three-minute warning, rookie QB Jeff Matthews entered the game.
The Bombers will stay at home next week as they prepare to host the Montreal Alouettes. After spending the week out West practicing, Hamilton will return home as they enter an early bye week.