A sure 118-yard touchdown return became a 117-yard embarrassment for Chris Williams.
The 24-year-old receiver’s showboating nearly cost the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in their 39-24 victory over the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday night.
As he neared the endzone Williams turned around and began trotting backwards only to be hauled down at the one-yard line by Als linebacker Brian Ridgeway.
“Just a lack of judgement,” said Williams, who already has five TDs on the season, with three of them on special teams. “It won’t happen again. I already apologized to [Montreal’s head coach Marc Trestman]. It’s a lesson learned.
“That was definitely just me showboating, not thinking about it. I apologize to the coach. I apologize to my team. I apologize to the fans. It’s just a bonehead play. It won’t happen again.”
Luckily for Williams, teammate Chevon Walker ran it in from the one on the next play from scrimmage, and Hamilton moved into a tie with Montreal and the Toronto Argonauts atop the East Division, each with a 2-2 record.
Williams also recorded 115 reception yards on the night on seven catches, second to teammate Andy Fantuz who had 135 yards on eight receptions.
Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris threw four touchdown passes and completed 27 of 30 pass attempts for 360 yards in front of 23,392 at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
Walker scored two touchdowns for Hamilton, while Bakari Grant, Daryl Stephenson and Fantuz also added TDs. Brandon Whitaker, Brandon London and Patrick Lavoie scored for Montreal.
Hamilton kicker Luca Congi made one of two field-goal attempts, missing his first from 32 yards and making a 22-yarder. Montreal kicker Sean Whyte missed a 49-yarder and made one from 45.
Again the Ticats had trouble scoring in the third quarter while watching the opposition mount a comeback. But Burris said he’s happy they were able to at least move the ball in the second half and keep Calvillo off the field.
The 13-year veteran and team leader also added, in the case of Williams, that sometimes young guys have to learn the hard way.
“Chris is a humble enough guy to understand that he made the wrong decision and he’ll make sure he doesn’t do it again,” said Burris.
Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo threw three touchdown passes, but his one interception during the Als’ opening drive led to an eventual Hamilton touchdown as his Alouettes fell behind early and couldn’t catch up.
“We got off to a slow start,” said Calvillo, who has been nursing a sore left shoulder. “The interception on the first drive definitely did not help. It gave them momentum and we tried to fight our way back and it wasn’t enough today.”
Calvillo was sacked twice and said that while falling on his sore shoulder was “not fun”, it did not hinder his ability to throw. He finished the game making 24 of 39 pass attempts for 374 yards. His team, which had a last-minute come-from-behind win against Calgary last week, simply has to play better on the road, he said, and stop giving up early leads.
The Ticats were up 32-10 at halftime, before Calvillo and the Als began to pick away at the lead.
In the third, Calvillo struck midway through the quarter, needing just two plays on a drive to score a TD — a 32-yard strike to London — to pull to 32-17. He ended the quarter with a 92-yard drive in eight plays, hitting Lavoie for a 12-yard TD strike and the lead was cut to 32-24.
But the Hamilton offence finally answered to start the fourth, with Burris leading a 64-yard drive in three plays, finding Fantuz in the endzone for a 26-yard score and a little more breathing room at 39-24.
Looking for a second late comeback win in a row, Montreal twice converted third-down plays on a drive with less than five minutes left in the game, getting to the Hamilton 20 with two minutes left. But the Ticat defence held.