Former CFL MOP Casey Printers made his return to the field for the BC Lions Saturday and it was like old times in many ways, but his only mistake of the night proved to be a costly one as the Lions dropped a 33-30 overtime decision to the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic field in Regina.
Printers started the game looking a little nervous on his first drive, on which he had good field position thanks to a nice kick return by Tristan George to start the game. As Lions fans have seen far too much of this season, the offense was stopped on 2 and 1 and turned the ball over on downs.
The Riders punted and on BC’s next drive Printers evaded several tacklers to find Geroy Simon and set up a field goal to open the scoring.
Riders went two and out on their first two possessions, but proceeded to have a nice drive to end the first and begin the 2nd quarter highlighted by a 60 yard completion over the middle from Darian Durant to Rob Bagg. A favourable spot on 2nd and 1 when it appeared the Lions had stuffed the Riders, gave the Riders a first down and two plays later Stephen Jyles followed the surge from his line up the middle to give the Riders a 7-3 lead on the converted touchdown.
Both teams failed to respond on their next possessions but eventually Durant found Bagg again in single coverage on a 32 yard touchdown pass to extend the Rider lead to 11. The teams then took turns kicking field goals including a nice 22 second march executed by Printers make the score 17-9 for the Riders at halftime.
The Riders opened the 3rd with a single off a Congi 54 yard punt. On the Lions first play of their second drive, centre Angus Reid went down with a badly sprained ankle on a 7 yard Martell Mallett run and the Lions were stopped on 2nd and 3 with about a yard remaining. The drive stalled, with Buono opting to punt rather than take the chance with his challenged short yardage offense on 2nd and 1. Reid would return to the game, hobbling around on one leg, reportedly refusing to be pulled.
Following a nice return by Michael Bumpus, Printers a 34 yard catch and run with Emmanuel Arceneaux to make the score 18-16. McCallum’s kickoff went out of bounds again, setting the riders up at the 45 to start their drive, but they went two and out and punted. Field position shifted however and after the Lions failed to get a first down, McCallum continued to struggle shanking the ensuing punt, and the Riders started at the BC 44 yard lie. The Riders settled for a single off a wide left 42 yard Congi field goal.
Jason Armstead provided some spark for the Riders on a big return, but the Lions defense held again. Congi added a 35 yard field goal to make the score 22-16 Saskatchewan with a 1:29 left in the 3rd quarter.
Then the injury bug really started to bite. Martell Mallett hurt went out with a leg injury and did not return. But on the very next play AJ Harris had nice run to bring the Lions near midfield. A Holding penalty moved the Lions back and Geroy Simon came up a yard short on a 2nd and 20. The Lions punted and pinned the Riders deep and appeared to have them ready to concede the safety but a bad pass interference penalty on LB Jojuan Amour gave the Riders a second life and they worked their way out from deep in their own end with three straight first downs but punted to end the drive.
Printers then hit Geroy Simon on a long pass to put the Lions on the Rider 19. A holding penalty put the Lions 1st and 20 on the 29, but Printers evaded the rush on the next play and launched a pass into the end zone that created a showboat catch by Michael Bumpus to give the Lions the lead at 23-22.
The teams exchanged punts before Barron Miles jumped on a medium route over the middle and picked off Darian Durant returning it to the house to give the Lions a 30-22 lead with just over 3 minutes remaining and the momentum looked to be in the Lions favour. But the TD proved costly, as Miles tweaked a hamstring on the return and had to come out on the next Rider drive. The Riders took advantage targeting backup Tad Crawford and marching down field for the tying touchdown with the successful two point convert.
The Lions were forced to punt and the Riders had enough time to get into position to try a 50 yard field goal but the kick was a little off target and hit the upright, sending the game to overtime. With the Riders having the first possession they appeared to have scored a go ahead TD but the replay showed former Lion Jason Clermont did not maintain possession on the catch and Riders settled for a field goal.
Crowd noise and the Riders continuous practice of blitzing then played a factor as the Lions took two procedure calls costing them nine yards on their drives. Still though, Printers got them close, hitting Paris Jackson over the middle and setting the Lions up first and goal. But the Riders brought the pressure again, and Printers, scrambling for his life chose to throw to Simon in triple coverage, and the Riders intercepted it, ending the game, and giving the Riders the 33-30 overtime win. It looked like Simon was held on the play, but there was no flag.
The Lions battled hard, but came up just short. Casey Printers finished the game 19-of-31 for 339 yards for two touchdowns and the one interception.
- S Barron Miles had his 64th and 65th career interceptions in the game.
- WR Michael Bumpus likely earned himself another look after replacing Ryan Grice-Mullen with a nice return and a great touchdown catch.
- Casey Printers finished the game 19-of-31 for 339 yards for two touchdowns and the one interception.
- The game was tough injury-wise for the Lions with Angus Reid (ankle), Martell Mallet (leg/foot), Barron Miles (hamstring) all getting nicked up.
- Travis Lulay (shoulder) didn’t even dress for the Lions, while Buck Pierce did.