Wow, can you believe the CFL season is already six weeks old? Where does the time go.
Well, six weeks is not an insignificant amount of time in the CFL, and already it appears the league is shaking out how we all thought it would. The West is dominating with four teams over .500, while the East…has zero teams above .500 and the league’s only winless team.
And that’s who we’re here to talk about today. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who come in at 0-5, and are dead-last not just in the standings but in pretty much every major category you can think of.
Things got real bad last night when they were walloped by the Calgary Stampeders by a final of 60-1. That’s right, 60-1. Not a typo. Their only point came on a rouge while giving up a 60 burger on defense.
If you need the box score and highlights from a 60-1 beatdown, here you go.
That 60 points brings Hamilton’s points allowed total on the year to an amazing 201 in five games, good for 40 points against per game. Again, this is not a one or two-week blip, over five games of an 18-game season, so more than a quarter of the way in, they’re as bad as it gets. Even prior to last night’s 60 pointer, they were giving up over 35 points per game.
The next closest team in terms of points given up is Winnipeg at 179, a full four points per game better. And Winnipeg has managed three wins somehow. There are five teams in the CFL who have played six games to Hamilton’s five, and the most points given up by any of those teams is 169 (nice) by Ottawa.
But as bad as the defense is, the offense is even worse.
Through five games the team has scored a grand total of 90 points, 51 fewer than the second-worst team in the league in terms of scoring. That makes the average score of their games 40-19.
They can’t pass, sitting at 1,220 yards through five games, a full 250 yards behind the next closest team, and have thrown for only three passing touchdowns in five games. In the CFL. A league where you HAVE to pass a bunch because of only having three downs instead of four to get a first down. Every other team has between 8 and 12 passing TD’s this season through five or six games. Hamilton somehow has three.
They are dead-last in time of possession, keeping the ball for just 26:50 each game, a full minute and a half less than the next worst team.
They can’t run the ball, totaling just 316 yards and two touchdowns on the year both next to last ahead of only pass-happy Toronto.
Add up the passing and rushing touchdowns and Hamilton has five offensive touchdowns on the entire season. One per game. That’s astoundingly bad in a league designed for offense like the CFL.
Those five touchdowns add up to 30 points before kicks or 2-point conversions, meaning somehow they have score 60 points via kick returns, defensive touchdowns, field goals and rouges. That’s right, the rest of the team has somehow doubled the actual offense’s scoring output.
But what’s more amazing: Despite that horrendous start, they are absolutely not out of the playoff race because the rest of the East is so bad, and the fact that they have a game to make up on everyone else in the East.
Toronto currently leads the East at 3-3, good for 6 points. (CFL does it like hockey, 2 points for a win, 1 for a tie, zero for a loss even it OT). Add in the CFL’s playoff format of the Top-3 teams in each Division making the playoffs, (unless the other conference’s 4th place team has more points than the other’s 3rd place team, which is the case right now) and Hamilton is just four points out of the playoffs behind Montreal. A win in their next game pulls them within two with 12 games to go.
Even as awful as Hamilton currently is, it is entirely possible that they could string together enough wins to grab that guaranteed second playoff spot out of the East, because the rest of the teams in the East are also bad.
Hamilton’s next game isn’t looking like a win, a road game against undefeated Edmonton, but they did only lose by 3 to the Eskimos in their first meeting, the closest game of the year for the ‘Cats.
But after that they play 4 of the next 5 at home, and four of those games are against the East, so it’s entirely possible that a hot-streak moves them way up in the East standings.
The CFL, man. It’s wild stuff.