The BC Lions went into Regina and gift-wrapped a home playoff game for the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday thanks to an offence that simply cannot get on track. Here’s how I saw the game, From the Couch.
The Lions ran five offensive plays and committed four turnovers. Thomas DeMarco couldn’t be blamed for all of his four interceptions and would have had six had it not been for flags calling them back, but he can be blamed for missing open receivers. His protection has been good the last two games so you can’t blame it on the offensive line. Simply put, he has not been progressing since his first game and that has to be a concern for the Lions going forward.
It certainly wasn’t all on DeMarco; the Lions need to protect the ball better, period. You will not win many games in this league with eight turnovers, but you also won’t win many with an offence that simply can’t get into a rhythm.
Can someone tell me why the Lions acquired Buck Pierce? With DeMarco struggling so badly, it would have been a great time to give Buck a look. Instead the Lions decided to let Pierce, a QB with CFL and playoff experience sit on the sidelines. If I had a choice I would start Pierce against the Eskimos and see if he can get this offence going. The last two games mean nothing as far as the Lions and playoff positioning go, so you might as well get Pierce up to speed in case you want him to start the playoff game if Lulay is unable to return.
Logan showed flashes that he still has the speed and moves that caught the NFL’s attention after one season in the CFL. He averaged 27.4 yards per kick return, and had some decent runs from scrimmage, mostly on first down, but with the Lions down big after the first half they once again had to abandon the running game. Andrew Harris only had six carries and looked frustrated at the end of the game. It remains to be seen whether the addition of Logan will bring out the best in him in the final two weeks and into the playoffs.
This loss simply can’t be blamed on the defence with all the turnovers offensively. They started the game aggressively forcing two turnovers of their own but were barely able to catch their breath before being called on again and again. The defence held the Riders to just four points in the second half but the damage was done and they got no support from the other side of the ball.
That said, Kory Sheets ran for 145 yards while Jon Cornish racked up 130 the week before and the Lions definitely need to shore up that part of their game if they hope to have success in the coming weeks.
Where do they go from here?
The Lions have talked all season about the season being a marathon, not a sprint. How they want to be peaking at the right time. The injury to Travis Lulay hasn’t helped, but it appears the Lions are running on fumes as they approach the finish line.
I’ve already stated that I would start Pierce next week, and we’ll see if that happens, but the same problems on offence that plagued the Lions with Lulay in the lineup still exist today. The team has two games to figure their issues out, but you have to start to wonder if they simply don’t have the horses, or the coaches to get it done.
There is certainly no hurry to rush Lulay back now and all they can do is hope that in the next two weeks his shoulder improves dramatically.
To come out in such a big game like this and basically gift wrap a win for the opposition is concerning to say the least, but this is the CFL and stranger things have happened. They are in the playoffs and have a chance to redeem themselves in three weeks in Regina or Calgary.
It’s safe to say that if they hope to finish their marathon, they still have miles to run. The Lions are 3-6 on the road in 2013 and to win the Grey Cup they will have to equal those three wins in the playoffs.
I’d love your thoughts on the game and the Lions as they head into their final two games of the season. Do they have what it takes to get on a roll and get to the Grey Cup? Leave a comment for me and of course I’m always up for Lions talk on Twitter, @BCLionsDen