The BC Lions must have had a vision when they printed their 2014 season tickets. The featured player on the ticket for Saturday’s game against the Montreal Alouettes was Emmanuel Arceneaux, and the The Manny Show was on full display in front of over 25,000 fans at BC Place as the Lions kept their dominance over Montreal at BC Place intact. Here’s how I saw the game From the Stands.
The Manny Show
Lions fans have been waiting for the type of performance that Emmanuel Arceneaux turned in Saturday. Finally healthy, Arceneaux had no match defensively on this day, using his size and leaping ability to torch the Als for 145 yards and three touchdowns.
There are few defensive players in the CFL that can match up to Arceneaux physically and he took full advantage of that against an Als defence that looked nothing like the one we saw on Montreal two weeks ago.
If Arceneaux can stay healthy the Lions could have a lethal weapon on their side, and it didn’t seem to matter if it was Kevin Glenn or John Beck throwing him the football, never mind Travis Lulay.
Let’s be honest here; the Alouettes were brutal. Troy Smith looked lost out there, and as the Alouettes head into their bye week they have a major decision to make at quarterback. The Als were also without Duron Carter and SJ Green sat out the second half after making a go of it with sore ribs in the first. Chad Johnson? All he does is run routes and you have to wonder if the Alouettes are doing enough to try and get him involved.
But let’s give a whole lot of credit to the Lions defence, who have only allowed two touchdowns in the last three games. They had relentless pressure on Troy Smith most of the night, even without Khalif Mitchell, who was nursing a sore back.
Following the Lions 0-2 start it was hard to point too many fingers at the defence, and now that they are getting some offensive support, the Lions are starting to show signs that they will be a contender in the CFL west.
Khreem Smith is having a great year and combined with Eric Taylor provided one of the night’s best moments when he blocked an Alouettes kick that was picked up by Taylor who rumbled down the field only as fast as a big man like him can.
Newcomer Alex Bazzie had a strong game as well, and Brandon Jordan didn’t look out of place, despite a poor roughing the passer call that the coaches won’t be pleased with.
Thunder and Lightning, Part Two
With the original ‘Thunder and Lightning’, Sean Millington and Cory Philpot in the building to celebrate the Lions 1994 Grey Cup team, Andrew Harris and Stefan Logan showed more signs that the Lions running game is starting to get rolling. Behind an improving offensive line, the two combined for 146 yards along the ground, and the Lions had big success sweeping to the right side.
Having two backs that bring different styles is a huge tool for the Lions to have at their disposal, and it appears Khari Jones is finding ways to make both of them effective, while at the same time keeping both of them fresh.
Solid Start for Hunter
Hunter Steward made his first start at left tackle for the Lions and did not look out of place, which is great news for fans who would love to see the turnstile at that spot stop spinning. Steward is young and is going to make some mistakes but the Lions may have something here as they attempt to replace national Ben Archibald. With the game well in hand the Lions pulled several starters and newcomer Jermarcus Hardrick saw some reps at the right tackle spot of Jovan Olafiyoe and also showed well.
Overall it looks as though progress is being made both in run blocking and pass protection and that’s a great sign.
I really love this game, but this week’s games were really tough to watch with all the orange linen being thrown around by officials.
I get the fact that early in the season the officials want to make a statement to set the tone for the rest of year. The league says that over 90% of the penalties thrown this year have been legitimate, so where does the fault lie? In the Montreal-BC game, it seemed as though you couldn’t go more than two plays without a flag and that doesn’t make for quick games and sucks the flow out of the game.
Yes players have to be smarter and clean up their part, but the league really has to realize that football is a physical and emotional game. Perhaps they could start by eliminating some of these flags thrown simply for guys reacting to the adrenalin flowing through them and keep the flags for the penalties that effect the play. And yes, I am referring to call made on Harris, who spun the ball down following a run where he lowered his shoulder on an Als defender near the sideline. By the book, it was likely a penalty, and Harris knew it as soon as he saw the flag, but was it really that bad?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. Post a comment here, hit me up on Twitter, @BCLionsDen and checkout this week’s Pawdcast on BCLionsDen.ca for more reaction on this game and a look ahead to the Lions and Bombers this Friday.