A Week 3 bye may have been just what the Hamilton Tiger-Cats needed given their early struggles.
With Dane Evans replacing an injured Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback, the winless Tiger-Cats come out of their bye with a sense of urgency Friday night when they visit a Montreal Alouettes team trying to bounce back from a disappointing loss.
Not only is Hamilton (0-2) the CFL’s only winless team, it also has the dubious distinction of ranking last in both points scored (7.0 ppg) and in points allowed (24.5). After a 19-6 season-opening loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Tiger-Cats turned the ball over four times and mustered just 201 yards of offence in a 30-8 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Week 2.
Masoli played through sore ribs against the Roughriders, and Hamilton coach Orlondo Steinauer admitted he probably stayed in too long. Evans ended up replacing him but wasn’t able to generate much offence, completing just 3 of 10 passes for 21 yards.
He now takes over a team looking to avoid falling farther behind in the East Division race in the shortened season.
“We’re not a panicked bunch of people around here,” the four-year veteran said. “We know what the end goal is, we know what we got to do to get there.”
Evans is no stranger to starting in the CFL, quarterbacking the Tiger-Cats to the 2019 Grey Cup. One of his best performances came in Hamilton’s last game against Montreal on Oct. 26, 2019, when he threw for 379 yards and a career-best four touchdowns in a 38-26 win.
While Hamilton’s offense is sputtering, Montreal ranks second in the CFL in scoring (26.0 ppg) and in total offence (373.0 ypg).
The Alouettes had 418 yards of offence last Friday against the Calgary Stampeders but needed one more as Eugene Lewis caught a 13-yard pass but fell out of bounds just shy of the goal line as time expired in a 28-22 loss.
Montreal’s biggest area of concern is its lack of discipline, as it’s been called for 28 penalties for 270 yards – 97 more yards than any other team that’s only played two games.
“That can’t be the kind of team we are and that can’t be the kind of team I coach,” Khari Jones said after his Alouettes were called for 16 penalties against Calgary. “I was very disappointed on that side of things. I’m glad a game like that happened in the second game of the season so I’m very hopeful that we learn from it. And we will.”