Hamilton hangs on for first win
Hamilton, ON (Sports Network) - Henry Burris went 26-of-32 for 362 yards and two touchdowns as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 25-20, at University of Guelph's Alumni Stadium.
Burris threw two touchdown passes and also led the Tiger-Cats (1-2) with 47 rushing yards. Bakari Grant reeled in seven passes for 101 yards while Ed Gant made a significant contribution with five receptions for 69 yards. Samuel Giguere made an impact with three key catches for 94 yards and a major.
"We beat a very good football team," said Burris. "Defensively, you know their coaches put them in the best position. On the last drive, I was just trying to milk the clock and keep moving the chains. The offensive line did a great a job getting the blocks needed to keep moving the chains. We played well in all three phases of the game. We have to get better on offense, we settled for too many field goals tonight.
Eric Norwood anchored the Tiger-Cats' defense with six tackles while Markeith Knowlton made two sacks.
Buck Pierce went 15-of-26 for 186 while under center for Winnipeg (1-2). Chad Simpson made the most of his 11 carries as he tallied 116 yards rushing including a pair of majors. Cory Watson made six receptions for 72 yards to lead the visitors' receiving corps. Henoc Muamba registered a game-high eight tackles including a sack in the losing effort.
"When you give him enough room, he can make plays," said Winnipeg coach Tim Burke. "In the second half our defense was in a tough spot. On offense there were several two and outs. They (the defense) were out there all of the second half. Don't forget defense also plays special teams. We put on emphasis on Lindsey Lamar and thought we did a good job. Overall, I was happy with the defense. We did our best to try and keep the rush lanes closed the best we could.
Hamilton struck first as Burris connected with Samuel Giguere for a 61-yard touchdown pass. Luca Congi's extra point attempt following the long scoring play was successful which gave the hosts an early 7-0 advantage.
The Tiger-Cats added a point late in the first quarter after Congi missed a field goal-try wide right and it was downed in the end zone.
Hamilton added another single in the early stages of the second stanza as Josh Bartel punted 55 yards into the end zone, but Winnipeg got on the board on the next play as Simpson broke away for a 75-yard scamper for a major that made it 9-6.
The Blue Bombers took their first lead of the game with just over two minutes left in the half as backup quarterback Justin Goltz rushed seven yards into the end zone for a score. The rushing score was set up by a 30-yard pass play from Pierce to Jade Etienne. Justin Palardy's successful extra point try gave the visitors a 13-9 edge.
Burris quickly moved the Hamilton offense down the field on the ensuing possession. The drive stalled deep inside Winnipeg territory which put Congi in position for a 24-yard chip shot that made it 13-12 with under a minute before the break.
The game was tied up at 13 on the opening kickoff of the second half as Congi recorded a single.
Hamilton scored a single to take back the lead at the 12:14 mark after a high, towering punt by Bartel was downed in the end zone after a 65-yard journey.
Burris and the Ti-Cats put together another threatening scoring drive midway through the third frame before settling for a 24-yard field goal by Congi which extended their lead to 17-13. Neither side managed to produce any more points before the conclusion of the third quarter.
Congi added another single in the early stages of the fourth quarter to extend the lead to five points.
The Ti-Cats continued to their run as Burris completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to John Delahunt with only 6:30 showing on the clock. Congi's extra point kick pushed the lead to 25-13.
Winnipeg refused to go away as it answered on the following drive. Simpson broke a tackle just in front of the goal line and trotted into the end zone to conclude a 15-yard run for a major. The 62-yard scoring drive put the Blue Bombers down, 25-20, with 2:40 left to play.
The Blue Bombers' defense made a clutch stop to return the ball back to the offense with just over two minutes remaining. Knowlton tackled Pierce behind the line on second down to record a critical sack and force a Winnipeg punt.
Burris then made a huge play on second down as he found Giguere on the right side for a first down. Hamilton then ran out the clock to achieve its first win of the year.
Burris now has 306 career touchdown passes which puts him in a tie for fourth all-time in CFL history...Hamilton's defense tallied six sacks on Pierce in the contest after reaching the quarterback only once in its first two games...Winnipeg recorded 11 sacks with three of them coming courtesy of defensive end Alex Hall...Delahunt's touchdown reception was the first of his career...Every team in the East is now 1-2 after three games.
07/13 22:13:24 ET