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Hamilton Tiger-Cats improve to 11-3 after convincing victory in Winnipeg

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Dane Evans (9) throws against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the first half of CFL action in Winnipeg on Friday, September 27, 2019.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Dane Evans (9) throws against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the first half of CFL action in Winnipeg on Friday, September 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats burst out to a 17-point lead in the first half and went on to beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 33-13 Friday night.

Dane Evans threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and ended the game at IG Field by completing 25 of 32 pass attempts for 359 yards and three TDs as Hamilton improved to a Canadian Football League-best 11-3 record.

Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence, playing in his 125th career game, broke the CFL single-game record for defensive tackles in a season by registering 17. That bested the previous mark of 16 set by Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker Reggie Hunt in 2003.

The Bombers (9-5) opened the scoring with an impressive drive that culminated in an eight-yard touchdown pass from Chris Streveler to Andrew Harris.

The lead was short-lived as Hamilton ripped off 24 consecutive points.

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Evans hit Bralon Addison for an eight-yard TD and tossed a 10-yard major to Brandon Banks while backup quarterback David Watford scored on a one-yard touchdown run with 56 seconds to play in the first half.

Kicker Lirim Hajrullahu also chipped in a nine-yard field goal in Hamilton’s scoring barrage before Winnipeg’s Justin Medlock kicked a 42-yard field goal just before halftime.

Hamilton’s lead was cut to 24-13 early in the third quarter when Medlock drilled a 46-yarder but the Ticats restored their 14-point advantage when Hajrullahu booted a 49-yard field goal with 5:11 remaining in the third quarter.

The Bombers grabbed some momentum in the early going of the fourth quarter when Adam Bighill intercepted a wobbly pass by Evans at the Hamilton 44-yard line and returned the ball to the Tiger-Cats’ 32.

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But Winnipeg gave the ball right back when Justin Tuggle intercepted Streveler and rumbled all the way down to the Blue Bombers’ 10-yard line.

Two plays later and the Cats were back in the end zone when Evans slung an eight-yard TD to newly acquired running back Tyrell Sutton to give Hamilton a commanding 33-13 lead.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ quarterback Matt Nichols out for the season

The Bombers had trouble stopping Banks, who made eight catches for 113 yards, and Addison, who finished the game with four receptions for 90 yards. Fellow receiver Marcus Tucker had five catches for 80 yards.

Winnipeg’s Kenny Lawler erupted for 10 receptions for 144 yards while Hamilton held running back Andrew Harris to just 37 yards on 10 carries and six catches for 34 yards.

Hamilton next plays on Oct. 4 when the Ticats host the Edmonton Eskimos.