When the game started Friday night the BC Lions were apparently on Vancouver time as they didn’t start playing versus an eager Calgary Stampeders team until the 2nd quarter. There was no shortage of reasons why the Lions found themselves down 34-0 before they knew what hit them, and here’s how Brian Wawryshyn from BCLionsDen.ca saw it, from the couch.
Short field for the Stamps
The Lions started the game by giving the Stamps a short field, an occurrence that was frequent on the night. Paul McCallum continues to struggle punting the football, and that has to be a concern as the playoffs approach. I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing Hugh O’Neill dress for the Saskatchewan game because you may as well see what you have in him with live bullets flying. The Lions are giving up too much field position of late because of a poor kicking game.
Turnovers and penalties (the Lions took the first 10 of the game) also contributed to the poor field position for the Lions on a night where pretty much anything that could go wrong did.
If that was a preview of what life might be like on the offensive line without Angus Reid as the general, someone find me an anti-aging machine, stat. The Lions offence was clearly out of synch most of the night and it was mainly because the offensive line had no answer for the Calgary pass rush all night long.
There is no point in singling anyone out because as a unit they weren’t good enough. Not only was the pass protection poor the run blocking was awful as well, the five times they elected to hand the ball off to Andrew Harris, whose frustration was evident more than once last night.
While you’re getting me that anti-aging machine, get me some new knees and a new back for Jon Hameister-Ries.
The second start in the CFL career of Mike Reilly didn’t go as smoothly as the first. The previously mentioned offensive line didn’t help his cause, but Reilly looked a little off as well. To his credit he battled back and for a moment you felt that with one more touchdown, the Lions just might come all the way back. They almost got that TD when Reilly connected deep with Courtney Taylor only to have the ball ripped free by a Stampeder defender.
It will be an interesting week at Lions practice. If Travis Lulay doesn’t throw again this week, do we start to get concerned that this injury is more serious then the team is letting on? With two weeks before the Western Final the Lions would like to get Lulay some work, and it would be a month before he had any snaps if he doesn’t play until then. Some anxious times are coming for the Lions and their fans in the next two weeks.
As mentioned above, Harris was visibly frustrated at times in this game. It was the second game in a row that the young star of Lions has been held in check for the most part by the opposition. There doesn’t seem to be any holes open for Harris on handoffs and they aren’t finding him out of the backfield either. The team is going to have to find ways for him to get the ball as they are going to need a solid running game in the playoffs, especially if teams are going to be teeing off on the QB like the Stamps were doing all night.
Seeing some positives
There were some good things to take from the game as well. Geroy Simon returned to the lineup and was somewhat productive, showing no signs of a sore hamstring. Thomas Demarco got in a little work in the fourth quarter and didn’t look to bad, showing some of the accuracy the Lions like in him. Adam Bighill continued his never take a game off attitude and was the best Lion on the field, again.
Of course the fact the Lions did show some pride after getting down 34-0 and almost made a game of it was a small positive. If the Taylor turnover hadn’t occurred who knows what would have happened, but it was just kind of night and the Lions probably didn’t deserve such a comeback.
What does it mean?
It’s hard to take much from this game. The game obviously meant more to the Stampeders who had yet to beat the Lions this season and wanted to plant a seed for the future. BC was obviously not ready to play, and you can only hope the game served as a wakeup call. Coach Mike Benevides was not a happy camper on the sidelines and he’ll make adjustments. This is a veteran group and I expect the Lions will want to bring their “A” game next week against Saskatchewan. If they don’t there could be cause for concern heading into the playoffs.