Sports psychologists worked some voodoo on Evans, and that made the difference?! I don't buy that for a minute.
The difference in this game was the solidification of the O-Line, the key to that being the addition of Beard at Centre. I can't find the game stats (please if someone knows (I'm thinking Grover or Bobo) where to find game stats let me know), but by my count the O-Line allowed exactly zero sacks against the best D-Line in the league. I counted one hurry. I think this is the best O-Line the Cats have had in over a decade. The only way Dane makes those throws is with excellent protection, head screwed on straight or not.
The mystery is how the team entered into this season so weak at O-Line. I know there were injuries, but it still baffles me. The O-Line has always felt like an afterthought - even during the pass-happy Austin era.
Your front five was on a mission... but so was the rest of your team:
What Hamilton did (to upset Winnipeg by 17 points) was match their intensity. Winnipeg obviously has a lot of talent but the way they win is with knowledge and effort. If you can match their intensity, you can beat them any day of the week. The other thing (Hamilton) did well was slow down (Winnipeg’s) pass rush. If you can give the quarterback time to pick it apart, their secondary is not great.
The OLine lost LT Murray . Centre Ciraco , and TE Kalinic . That's 3 experienced blockers gone . We now have LT Riley . Centre Beard , and FB Felix Gauthier . That might explain the improvement . The OLine coach is the same Mike Gibson .
It is easy to say, after the game has ended .
But folks - this is not rocket science.
The reason the Cats won, was because ALL phases of the game excelled.
The running game was solid; the pass protection was phenomenal; the receivers caught the ball, even in traffic; the field goal kicking was fabulous ( a 52 yarder?), Etc .
When all works, the chance of winning is much higher.
It's that simple.
This is exactly what I have been saying for two seasons.
We also have lost CVZ for the majority of the year.
The Ciraco Experiment at Centre didn't exactly pan out last year, but remember it was Filer who had come into camp out of shape in 2019, and his retirement took about 2.5 years to come about - therefore forcing Ciraco to switch positions in training camp.
We signed Fontana - a guy who hasn't played on three years, who gets hurt on virtually the opening play. And when he DOES come back he PLAYS as if he hasn't in three years.
The other guy we traded for lasted three plays.
It took a grand total of 13 games for the O-Line to round into form. Beard just has to get his snaps under control.
During the bye-week it was clear that the Cats made many tweaks. Dane's mental state was a huge part of the Cat's performance but his shoulder also had time to heal. The O-Line play improved with the addition of Beard. Receivers were getting open and Condell called a good game.
All cylinders were firing simultaneously and that's what this team needs to do consistently in the next few weeks if they plan on entertaining us in the playoffs.
The O-Line was a problem last year and had never previously been good enough to stop the Winnipeg D. There were no significant upgrades in the off-season. The upgrades have happened late in the year with the season almost lost. Maybe Beard wasn't available until just recently - but I still don't think the O-Line has been a priority.