With an opportunity to jump into first place in the East Division heading into the last week of the CFL season, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats instead coughed up a hairball against the Toronto Argonauts Friday night.
The Argos dominated the Ticats 31-12 at BMO Field to improve to 9-4 and also clinched top spot in the East and thus earned a first-round playoff bye.
Hamilton (7-6) secured a playoff berth last week but could fall to third in the division if they lose their season finale against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Nov. 20 and Montreal wins their last two games.
Toronto blanked the Cats 14-0 in the first half thanks to a one-yard touchdown run by backup QB Antonio Pipkin, as well as two field goals and a kickoff single by kicker Boris Bede.
Quarterback McLeod Bethel Thompson completed 26 of 34 pass attempts for 250 yards and a 19-yard TD to Kurleigh Gitens Jr. early in the fourth quarter to give the Argos a commanding 24-3 lead.
After tearing it up over the last few weeks, Tiger-Cats pivot Jeremiah Masoli struggled for most of the game, completing 22 of 40 pass attempts for 326 yards, no touchdowns and he was intercepted twice.
The second pick by Toronto’s Chris Edwards was returned for a 78-yard touchdown.
Kicker Taylor Bertolet booted a 27-yard field goal but missed two other attempts from 35 and 48 yards, and receiver Tim White hauled in five catches for 110 yards, Hamilton’s first 100-yard receiving performance this season.
Before the game it was announced that Hamilton rock band Arkells will headline the Grey Cup Halftime Show at Tim Hortons Field on Dec. 12.
The Grey Cup will be played in Hamilton for the first time since 1996 when it was held at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
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