EDMONTON – Hamilton’s high-powered offence could not be stopped Friday night.
Terrell Sinkfield reeled in a pair of touchdown passes as the Tiger-Cats won their fifth-straight game, with a dominating 49-20 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos.
The Ticats (6-2) moved into sole possession of first place in the CFL’s East Division with the win.
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“We’re just focused on playing hard and trying to play well on the road,” said Hamilton head coach Kent Austin. “We are trying to be as good a football team as we can be. Whatever the results are right now are not as important as our growth as a football team.”
Tiger-Cats quarterback Zach Collaros credited the defence for creating five turnovers that led directly to touchdowns.
“The defence does a great job at that,” he said. “They turn the ball back over to us the most in the league and that we would have our opportunities. That led to a number of touchdowns for us.”
The Eskimos (5-3) have lost two of their last three and saw a seven-game winning streak at home dating back to last season ended.
“The difference in the ball game is the turnovers and, defensively, we played our worst game since we’ve been here,” said Edmonton head coach Chris Jones. “Any time you turn the ball over against a good team like Hamilton, it’s going to result in some sort of points.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to hold them to field-goal opportunities, we allowed touchdowns.”
Edmonton had a rough start as quarterback Matt Nichols was picked off by Tiger-Cats defender Mike Daly on the opening drive and he took the ball back 51 yards. The interception led to a 22-yard touchdown pass from Collaros to Sinkfield.
The Eskimos came right back with a 43-yard Grant Shaw field goal to make it 7-3.
Edmonton turned the ball over again late in the first half as Shakir Bell fumbled on his own 30, leading to another 10-yard TD pass to Sinkfield.
Hamilton got another gift when Eskimos receiver Devon Bailey fumbled a completed pass, quickly leading to a 62-yard passing play from Collaros to Sinkfield. Ray Holley had a two-yard touchdown run to give the Tiger-Cats a 21-3 lead early into the second quarter.
A turnover finally went Edmonton’s way when Holley fumbled at his own 40, but all the Esks could muster was another field goal.
Hamilton took a 28-7 lead into the half after a four-yard TD run by Brandon Banks against a punt single for the Eskimos.
Backup quarterback James Franklin gave Edmonton a spark in for the second half, getting them their first major score of the game early in the third, a five-yard pass to Cory Watson.
Hamilton came right back as a 40-yard pass to Luke Tasker set up a 12-yard scoring strike on a catch by Terence Toliver.
Another Ticats interception led to their fourth touchdown off a turnover in the game when Collaros went in from three yards out.
Edmonton responded with a nine-yard TD pass to Bailey to close out the third.
Franklin fumbled a handoff attempt on the goal-line in the fourth quarter and Eric Norwood rumbled 106 yards the other way to help the Tiger-Cats score the third longest fumble return touchdown in CFL history.
“I thought you meant the third longest amount of time it took to get to the end zone,” Austin laughed. “I was teasing him after that.”
The Tiger-Cats return home to face Montreal next Thursday, while the Eskimos host the Toronto Argonauts next Friday.
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