The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be out to improve their play in the second half of games starting Friday night when they visit the two-time defending Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The Tiger-Cats (0-2), who were the runner-up in the past two Grey Cup finals to the Blue Bombers (2-0), have been outscored by a combined 51-16 in the second half in losses to the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Calgary Stampeders, including 38-13 in the fourth quarter.
“We have to get off the field on defense, on offense we have to keep the football and on special teams we can’t take penalties,” Hamilton coach Orlondo Steinauer said. “And that’s the same in the other three quarters.
“You bring it to their attention, but if you dwell on the negatives you overlook the positives and the positives are many. But one of them is that we have been in every football game, even the exhibition games. You have to find a way to close them out.”
Both Winnipeg victories this season have been against the Ottawa Redblacks, 19-17 at home in the season opener and 19-12 last week on the road.
While needing to look forward, the matchup will afford the Blue Bombers a chance to look back this week.
“It is fond memories,” said Winnipeg linebacker Kyrie Wilson, who made the game-clinching overtime interception in the 2021 Grey Cup final against Hamilton. “But at the same time, we’ve got to leave that to last year and keep moving.”
One thing the Blue Bombers need to start moving is their running game, which had been a strength in the past.
“We’re definitely not running on all cylinders,” said running back Brady Oliveira, who has a total of 65 rushing yards over two games.
“You see some glimpses of it … but we’re just not putting a full 60 minutes together, yet. We’re winning games, which is great. The fact we’re not playing our best football is exciting.”
Tiger-Cats defensive tackle Dylan Wynn (calf), who missed the last game, is available Friday but running back Don Jackson (knee) is out.
Winnipeg offensive lineman Michael Couture (arm) is out.
–Field Level Media