Guarantees in sports get thrown out the window as soon as the first whistle blows, and after three quarters of tough defensive football, the Saskatchewan Roughriders were the team that found the plays they needed, coming from behind to defeat the BC Lions and give 33,196 fans a free ticket to another game. Here are my thoughts, From the Stands.
The Lions exploded out of the gate thanks to the spark plug known as Tim Brown, but sadly he was the only player could provide a Lions touchdown on the night on a first quarter punt return. Kevin Glenn and the offence had no response to a Riders defence that contained Andrew Harris and Stefan Logan. There were slips on receptions that looked promising, dropped balls and untimely penalties. In a game that featured no turnovers for either side, the offence failed to deliver the points the Lions needed.
The offensive line did a decent job protecting Glenn for the most part despite giving up three sacks, none of those to John Chick who was held to just one tackle. What they were unable to do was open holes for the running game which was stymied all night. Andrew Harris had just 11 yards on 8 carries, while Logan only had just 1 carry for 1 yard, a stat that is hard to fathom after Logan’s success last week. But with Glenn and the Lions unable to sustain drives, there wasn’t many opportunities to establish the run, much to the credit of a stingy Riders defence.
Second guessers are wondering if the Lions should have given Travis Lulay the second half but with the bye week coming up, now is the time to hand over the torch. Glenn didn’t have a strong game and the Lions playoff hopes are starting to look in doubt in the tough CFL West. Lulay has to return and return ready to go when the Lions take on Ottawa on Sept. 5th.
Big Plays Given Up
In the second half it was Riders backup Tino Sunseri that ran on the field after an injury took Darian Durant to the bench. Sunseri almost made an immediate impact but had a sure touchdown pass dropped by a wide open Rob Bagg. But Sunseri made multiple big throws to keep Riders drives alive and the Riders started to have success with their running attack, which was often gaining solid yards on first down. A huge run by Will Ford setup the touchdown the Riders needed and they rode it out for the win.
The Riders running game really took hold with the loss of Solomon Elimimian, and Lions fans hope the bye week will be enough to mend whatever took him out of the game.
The Riders made a few big plays, the Lions didn’t make any, and that was the difference in the game.
Whenever the Riders come down the atmosphere is always ramped up and Lions fans were ready to their part. Riders fans were there as usual but were fairly quiet until the final two minutes of the game, but certainly had a lot to say outside of the stadium after the game.
Officiating was in no way the reason the Lions lost this game, but there was more mind boggling stuff on pass interference reviews, as a play very similar to what was deemed pass interference in the Bombers/Alouettes game was ruled as insufficient evidence in this contest. It’s become a crapshoot for coaches and the league is going to have to really look at whether this experiment is helping or harming the game.
Just how many yards does a receiver have to be offside before a linesman throws a flag? If anyone has the answer, please let me know.
The Lions are doing a good job establishing the “Roar Factor” among the fan base. Fans are making noise on their own most of the time, or at least they were on Sunday. It was also great to see the B-C chant slowly returning to BC Place, a tradition that has been lost for several years now.
The guarantee aside, 33,196 football fans will get a free ticket courtesy of the home side and if that turns a few more onto the game on a regular basis, a positive can be taken from the loss.
The Lions may have lost the game, but they secured the season series against the Riders on point differential. It could be a valuable tool to have in their back pocket, but they’ll have to rely on other teams to bring the Riders back to the pack, and they’ll have a lot of work of their own to as well.
It was the best tailgate of the season in Tailgate Empire. The lot was packed and a great time was had by all with many football traditionalists getting to the lot around 10:30 am. Kudos to all who attended for another great party, and another spotless lot after the game.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the game. Post a comment, or hit me up on Twitter @BCLionsDen. Make sure to check out BCLionsDen.ca for all of our Lions coverage and Pawdcasts as well.