With Justin Medlock booting field goals from anywhere in the B.C. Lions' half of the field, even stalled offensive drives by Hamilton Tiger-Cats were deadly.
Medlock hit all seven of his field-goal attempts, at one point hitting four-straight over 40 yards, as the Tiger-Cats routed the Lions 42-10 in CFL action Saturday night and ended BC.'s winning streak at eight games.
"The offence did a great job today," Medlock said. "[The quarterbacks] all moved the ball well. It's good to finish it up and help the team out."
Medlock hit from 19, 44, 42, 48, 47, 29 and 35 yards. That's a CFL season-high and only the third time a Ticat kicker has hit seven field goals in a game in team history. Paul Osbaldiston had one game with seven field goals and another with eight field goals.
"It's good to join that company and make all your kicks," he said, adding that it also matched a personal best, having hit seven in a game when he was in Toronto in 2009.
"However you can get on the board, however you can get points, you take them," said Hamilton quarterback Kevin Glenn, who sat out the second half while back-up Quinton Porter took over. "We've got a good field-goal kicker, so we put him in a position to kick field goals, which is great. I wish we would have had more touchdowns, but we came away with a victory."
Porter came in late in the second quarter and rushed for one touchdown — his league-leading ninth rushing TD — and passed for another. The Ticats defence held B.C. scoreless in the second half.
"I think we out hit them today," said Hamilton linebacker Renauld Williams. "We outran them. We were just faster than them."
With B.C. losing, Edmonton now sits in sole possession of first place in the CFL West Division. The Lions (9-7) hadn't lost a game since August 13 when they were defeated by Winnipeg 30-17.
Edmonton's 31-24 win over Toronto on Friday meant B.C. needed a win over Hamilton in order to keep pace with the Eskimos atop the West Division standings.
"They came out and they hit us in the mouth," said B.C. quarterback Travis Lulay, who completed 17 of 36 pass attempts for 218 yards and one TD. "They set the tone early and we couldn't counterpunch. They were the better football team today."
B.C. plays Edmonton next week, so still has a chance to catch them for top spot.
"Fortunately, we have them on our schedule," Lulay said. "This one will hurt for the night, but we'll get back to work and know that we can still make a run."
The Ticats (8-8) ended a two-game losing streak, but have played their final game at Ivor Wynne stadium this season. Winnipeg's 26-25 win over Montreal earlier Saturday means the Ticats will finish third in the East.
Hamilton receiver Bakari Grant and linebacker Ray Mariuz also scored touchdowns while Lions receiver Geroy Simon scored for B.C. Lions kicker Paul McCallum hit his lone field-goal from 21 yards, and was intercepted when he tried to pass on a fake punt late in the game that led to Mariuz's TD.
Simon became the league's second-leading all-time receiver with his 25-yard TD catch, passing Allen Pitts but still behind Milt Stegall. He came in with 14,885 yards and finished the game with 42 more, for a total 14,927. Stegall has 15,153 yards.
'Sign of longevity'
"It's just a sign of longevity and having a lot of success," said the 13-year veteran. "I've been on very good teams for a number of years. I've played with some great quarterbacks. It's an honour to be where I'm at, but I'm not playing for the individual stuff. I'm playing for the Grey Cup."
Porter scored his touchdown when he took over from Glenn on the Ticats' final possession of the first half. Head coach Marcel Bellefeuille had said he would be using a quarterback tandem heading into the playoffs.
Glenn finished with nine completions on 18 attempts for 116 yards, no TDs or interceptions.
The Ticats led 16-10 at halftime. Hamilton's Marcus Thigpen opened the third quarter with a 43-yard kick-off return that set up Medlock's 48-yard field goal and boosted Hamilton's lead to 19-10.
Medlock returned to clean up the next possession, after Porter was sacked for an 11-yard loss, with a 47-yarder to give Hamilton a 22-10 lead.
Hamilton running back Avon Cobourne fumbled on the B.C. 26-yard line, and the Lions recovered but couldn't do anything with the ball. That led to a 37-yard punt by McCallum being returned 36 yards by Thigpen to the B.C. 22. The kicker also had to do his own tackling to keep Thigpen from the endzone.
Two plays later, Porter found Grant for the 24-yard catch-and-run TD and a 29-10 Hamilton lead heading into the fourth.
Medlock's sixth field goal and Mariuz' interception gave the Ticats the 39-10 lead. Mariuz then recovered a fumble on B.C.'s next possession. With less than four minutes to play, the Ticats sent in third-string quarterback Jason Boltus to finish the game and Medlock finished the scoring.