Tiger-Cats roll past Redblacks 23-16 to extend win streak

OTTAWA — On paper, the final game of the CFL regular season was meaningless, but for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats it was an opportunity to set the tone as they look ahead to the post-season.

With a 23-16 win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Saturday, the Tiger-Cats (8-10) will head to the East Division semifinal in Montreal next weekend riding a four-game winning streak.

“It’s always great to win,” said Tiger-Cats head coach Orlando Steinauer. “Every time we take the field that’s what we strive to do. … I was just really proud of the way they prepared and then went out there and executed.”

For the Redblacks (4-14) it’s another losing season, but this one comes with the embarrassment of failing to win at home as they were 0-9 at TD Place for the first time since their inception in 2014.

There will undoubtedly be changes for the Redblacks, and possibly numerous, seeing as this is the third straight season they’ve failed to qualify for the post-season.

Bob Dyce took over from Paul LaPolice with four games remaining in the season and finishes with a 1-3-0 record. He would love to be the one to help turn things around, but says he’s confident that whatever happens he will still find himself in the CFL.

“I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about my future,” admitted Dyce. “I believe I do a lot of things right, so whether it’s a head coaching job or another specials teams job, I believe things will work out for me going forward.”

Matt Shiltz got the start for the Tiger-Cats, his third of the season, and finished 12-for-18 for 144 yards, but Hamilton was also able to give starter Dane Evans some time in the second half allowing him to test his throwing thumb before next Sunday’s playoff action.

Evans finished the game 7-for-9 for 117 yards.

Jamie Newman also had two rushing TD’s for Hamilton, allowing all three QBs to see game action.

Earlier in the season Hamilton’s playoff aspirations seemed to be in question and Steinauer commended not only his team, but the entire support staff who helped make things happen.

Hamilton won five of its last six games allowing them to punch their ticket to the post-season.

“We played with urgency and not panic, not fear, but urgency,” said Steinauer. “We felt like we were in the playoffs for about the last four weeks. There were some wins in there that, quite frankly, we just couldn’t afford not to get so I’m just proud of them.”

Caleb Evans got the start for Ottawa and finished the game 14-for-25 for 110 yards and one rushing TD.

With the TD, Evans set a new Ottawa franchise record for rushing majors in a single season, surpassing Ron Stewart’s mark of 15, set in 1960.

Tyrie Adams was given an opportunity to show what he can do coming into the game at the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter.

On his first drive, Adams took the Redblacks to the two-yard line and two plays later Evans punched in Ottawa’s first and only touchdown of the game to make it 23-16 Hamilton.

Adams finished the game 8-for-12 for 98 yards.

The 25-year-old is a native of Florida and when asked about the game his first comment was that it was cold.

This season was Adams first in the CFL and the rookie plans on working hard in the off-season as he would love nothing more than a long, successful career in Canada.

“I’m thankful for all the ups and downs that have come with this season,” he said. “I’m just glad I got the opportunity to learn.”

Hamilton led 13-9 at the half, with six of its nine points coming off Seth Small’s leg.

Small added a 40-yard field goal five minutes into the third quarter adding to his two from the second quarter. Hamilton added to its lead with Newman punching in his second TD of the game from the one-yard line to take a 23-9 lead.

Things did not start well for the Redblacks as the Tiger-Cats scored a touchdown on the opening drive to take a 7-0 lead.

Ottawa kicker Lewis Ward had three field goals in the second quarter, a pair from 51 yards and one from 29.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2022.

Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press