Flying High: Tabbies look to sweep season series against Bombers
HAMILTON — The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are riding high into their Week 16 clash with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Despite a massive first quarter from Dane Evans and the offence, their last game against the Edmonton Eskimos came down the wire, requiring last-second heroics to get the victory.
The Ticats became the first team in the CFL to clinch a playoff berth and they currently have the best record in the league at 10-3.
“Before you can get a bye, you’ve got to clinch a playoff berth so getting an x by our name is definitely one of our goals,” Steinauer said to Ticats.ca. “But our goal right now is to be better than we were last week and we’ve got a tall test ahead of us in Winnipeg.”
After losing in Week 14 following an incredible blocked field goal by Tre Roberson, the Ticats were in the exact same scenario to win the game off the foot of Lirim Hajrullahu against the Edmonton Eskimos. He managed to seal the walk-off victory, however, it didn’t come without tension, as he banked the game-winner off the upright.
Despite the heroics of the kicker, Steinauer believes that there were several key contributors to that final score.
“There’s a lot that went into that, specifically, one hell of a hold by Dane Evans to put that thing down. Credit Lirim as well for changing up his pace and up front, you had to block too,” Steinauer said. “How about the offence for getting the ball down there? How about the special teams taking no penalties on the return? The defence stepped up all game;
“(I’m) just really proud of the three phases, we handled adversity well. Despite all of that, we found a way to win.”
In Week 15 against the Esks, defensive back Frankie Williams was one of the standouts for the Ticats. He had five tackles and his lone pick of the year.
Williams has become one of the breakout stars for the Ticats in 2019. He’s returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns this year, including a 108-yard score earlier in the campaign. He’s also cemented himself as a regular contributor on the defensive end, with 35 tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery in 12 games.
“Frankie Williams, first of all, the tape speaks for itself. He’s an ultra-competitive guy and a self-starter. He wants to be great,” Steinauer said. “He has no desire to just be a returner or just be a DB, he welcomes all challenges and you kind of saw it in him last year.
“… He’s got lots of energy, he practices hard, and I’m just glad he’s a Tiger-Cat.”
Hamilton’s secondary has been dealt some injuries over the course of the last few months. Most notably, Delvin Breaux Jr. hasn’t played since Week 8. Williams has been able to fill the void left by one of the Ticats’ defensive leaders.
“It means a lot to know I have that responsibility on my back and that I’ve got to show up a lot and help the team,” Williams said. “I take a lot of pride in it and just try to be the best that I can every day. That’s what we expect.”
Williams and the rest of the Hamilton defence will be tasked with slowing down Chris Streveler and the Bombers. Despite dropping their last game to the Montreal Alouettes, the Winnipeg pivot had 84 yards on the ground and three rushing scores as well as 180 yards through the air and one touchdown toss.
“They can do a lot. Especially with (Streveler) back there, he’ll give us a lot more fits; being able to run the ball, being able to throw the ball. They’re a physical team, they’ve got a dynamic returner, got good special teams, and just a good team all around.
“We’ve just got to come with it.”