The Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Tiger-Cats 27-26 at McMaster University's Ron Joyce Stadium in CFL action Thursday night, negating a Hamilton rally in the second half.
Winnipeg moved the ball 95 yards on 11 plays in the final 1:40 of play, scoring a touchdown as time expired when quarterback Drew Willy hit Nic Grigsby in the end zone from two yards out to tie the game 26-26. Lirim Hajrullahu kicked the convert for the Blue Bombers win.
"I'd rather lose 47 to nothing than to lose like that," said Hamilton head coach Kent Austin, remarkably composed just minutes after storming from the locker-room across the hall to a radio interview, slamming doors behind him as media scrambled to get out of his way.
The painful part for the Tiger-Cats was that they had overcome a 20-3 deficit in the second half to take a 26-20 lead into the final seconds of the game before losing and falling to a 1-4 record while Winnipeg improves to 5-1.
"I'm about the same upset after every loss," Austin said. "I can't stand to lose. Nor can anybody else in the locker-room or anybody else on the staff. Losing's not fun. It's not easy."
Hamilton quarterback Dan LeFevour, winner of last week's CFL offensive player award, had only 17 passing yards in the first half, but rebounded in the second and ended the game with 189 passing yards, one touchdown pass (plus one interception) and one rushing TD.
"It's hard," said LeFevour. "Everyone in this room is thinking about what they could have done . . .Give credit to Winnipeg. They finished and we didn't."
Penalties were a major factor in Hamilton's loss, as the Tiger-Cats were flagged 19 times for 114 yards.
"We're not a good enough football team to overcome penalties," Austin said. "We're not that football team and I told the guys we play with great effort, we're very resilient, we play hard, we play for 60 minutes but we can't get penalized like that."