Tiger-Cats extend Lions' losing streak to 4
Receiver Chris Williams a key, both early and often
Chris Williams is making a solid case for regular employment in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' receiving corps.
Williams caught eight passes for a game-high 189 receiving yards and a touchdown Friday as the Ticats beat the B.C. Lions 39-31 in a CFL game that had a wild start and a wilder ending.
"We just tried to take advantage of the things we saw on film," said the slightly-built Williams who sifts through tacklers like flour through a sieve. "We had some big plays and we kept hurting them, made them do some things that they weren't too comfortable with and kept it rolling from there."
His biggest play was the game's first from scrimmage, a 71-yard reception that set up the first two Hamilton touchdowns for a 14-0 lead before the contest was eight minutes old.
"It was like they just weren't looking at me," Williams said of the catch. "I turned around, caught it, and when I went through the first [tackle] I saw green grass and I just ran."
Williams now has three touchdowns in three games while replacing veteran Maurice Mann who is recovering from a foot injury.
"Every game, he's just getting better and improving," coach Marcel Bellefeuille said of the five-foot-nine, 155-pound slotback. "He's making a strong case to keep him in there when we get healthy."
Glenn back on his game
Hamilton quarterback Kevin Glenn, who threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns into a secondary re-arranged for the fourth straight week, enjoyed watching then New Mexico State product at work.
"He's one of those guys you feed off," said Glenn who completed 21 of 31 passes without an interception. "You get him the ball because he's so good at making guys miss and continuing to run after the play.
"You become a fan after you throw the ball to him. You're watching to see what's going to happen and what he's going to do."
Hamilton evened its record at 2-2 and moved into a second-place tie with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the East Division.
The Lions slipped to 0-4 and are off to their worst start since 1996, a campaign that began with five consecutive defeats.
Even though the Ticats held a pair of 14-point leads, the Lions clawed their way back to a 31-31 tie with 2:22 remaining.
Left-footed kicker Justin Medlock, who earlier stroked a 55-yard field goal for a 24-21 lead to end the first half, gave Hamilton a one-point edge with a single off a missed field goal.
Avon Cobourne, who rushed for 100 yards, got 46 of them on a burst up the middle that clinched the Hamilton win. Cobourne opened the scoring on a two-yard run after Williams' catch and the first of two Dave Stala's TD catches made it 14-0.
Stala staked Hamilton to a 31-21 third-quarter advantage with a 15-yard reception.
Kamau Peterson caught his first TD pass as a Lion, a five-yard strike from quarterback Travis Lulay who completed 22 of 38 throws for 251 yards and one interception.
Running game improving
The Lions and tailback Jamal Robertson found a running game for the first time this season with 72 yards on 14 carries. Robertson had two one-yard runs for major scores and nickelback Korey Banks ran a Glenn fumble back 37 yards and a 21-21 second-quarter tie after tipping the ball to himself.
B.C. kicker Paul McCallum moved into sixth place on the CFL's all-time scoring list with a field goal and four converts.
Glenn said the two-touchdown start was a key to the win.
"We stressed coming out to a fast start, especially against a team like this, winless but their record didn't indicate the type of team they were." Glenn said.
"They're a dangerous team and they showed that tonight. They answered the pressure and made plays ... it was just one of those games."
Lulay had a chance to give the Lions a late-game lead when they trailed by a point but overthrew Shawn Gore.
"That would have given us a first down and another chance to get into field goal range," Lulay said. "But any time you lose a game so close you could point to half a dozen critical plays and you don't know when they're going to come."
Coach Wally Buono said the Gore pass was one a pro quarterback's got to make.
"But you can't say we lost because of Travis Lulay," Buono said. "He's not out tackling and doing those things."
Defensive back Ryan Phillips said missed tackles put the Lions in an early hole.
"It definitely sounds like a broken record," he said. "We're a professional football team and we don't need to work on the fundamentals but at the end of the day ... maybe it is what we need to work on."
Phillips couldn't say whether the Lions didn't press hard enough or just missed opportunities to make plays.
"But whatever it is that we're not doing, we need to find out quick because we're starting to go into a slump and it's becoming a pattern."