Did Andrew Harris and the BC Lions pull a fast one on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers? After publicly declaring that the goal was to rush for 250 yards on the Bombers, the Lions passing game was the dagger that delivered a 26-9 win for the Leos that gave them some breathing room in the quest for a play-off spot. Here’s how I saw the game, From the Stands.
It wasn’t the dominating rushing attack that Harris set goals for prior to the game, but instead a fairly balanced attack that got the job done for the Lions. Kevin Glenn didn’t put up huge numbers but make key completions at various points in the game, and more importantly, protected the ball well.
Glenn spread the ball around to no fewer than nine targets on the way to a 20-27, 261 yard, two-touchdown night. There were still breakdowns on the offensive line and penalties that killed drives, but for the most part Glenn was efficient at getting rid of the ball quickly and showed what he can provide as the starter.
Emmanuel Arceneaux and Shawn Gore had nice games for the Lions, the former with a big third quarter catch and a fourth quarter touchdown that put the exclamation point on the win.
The running game was much better than a week ago, especially in the fourth quarter where the Lions were able to kill some clock with key runs from Harris and Stefan Logan. They fell 90 yards short of Harris’ goal, but there was no doubt the offensive line responded to Harris’ challenge and gave the running game a chance against the Bombers suspect run defence.
There is still room for improvement of course with the offence managing just a single in the third quarter, but there were some positive steps taken. Not taking a step backwards against Toronto next week will be key to ensure the Lions keep the teams in front of them close, while putting Winnipeg in a tough spot in the West.
There haven’t been too many games this season where you could really question the effort of the defence and Saturday was just another day at the offence for the Lions, who for the second game in a row denied their opposition a touchdown.
Elimimian is simply the best player on this Lions team right now and it’s shocking how many people are just handing the most outstanding defensive player award to John Chick. There is no escaping the pursuit of Elimimian this year and while Chick’s sack stats are sexy, Elimimian is the complete package and can hurt you in multiple ways.
The Lions inside run game was outstanding, holding Nic Grigsby to just 27 yards on seven carries and the defensive line was effective picking up three sacks. Khalif Mitchell may have had his best game of the season picking up a sack and getting a big push at the line of scrimmage.
Lions fans got a glimpse of the talent that the Bombers’ Troy Stoudermire brings to the table, but the Lions stopped him from doing too much damage and leading the way was Bighill with five special teams tackles, including a beauty in the fourth quarter when he came from a long way away to drag down Stoudermire when it looked like the speedster had an open sideline staring him in the face.
It’s been mentioned earlier this season, but it’s worth mentioning again what a valuable addition that Ricky Schmitt has been kicking off and punting for the Lions. His kicks allow the cover teams to get downfield, while also sparing mileage on the leg of Paul McCallum. McCallum had his field goal streaked snapped but he’s also trying field goals he may not have at times last season, and a fresher leg could be the reason why.
Is a football culture finally settling in at BC Place? It seems to me that over the last couple of games fans have been a lot more involved and willing to participate. Even the old BC chant is starting to become noticeable and you have to give some credit to the Lions game day ops team for working hard at this the last couple of seasons. Here’s to a day when the blaring music and make some noise prompting is a thing of the past.
Want some evidence that there was a method behind the madness of Dennis Skulsky’s “guarantee” against the Riders a couple of weeks ago? Using my minimal math skills, the Lions averaged 24,808 fans over their first four home games before the Saskatchewan game bumped that up to 26,484. Saturday night on a beautiful bonus summer night in Vancouver, and following a week where the Lions laid a big egg on the offensive side of the ball, 27,784 took in a game that didn’t involve the Riders. Many of those were probably fans that took advantage of the Lions offering. The game was entertaining enough that a few of them might decide to come back on their own dime.
There’s a long way to go, but all of a sudden the Lions are one game behind Saskatchewan and Edmonton. They’ve passed the Bombers, and the Riders have yet to play the Eskimos or Stampeders and won’t have Darian Durant when they do. The Lions have a lot to work to do themselves but all of a sudden, things are looking a lot better for BC then they did even a week ago.
What are your thoughts? Did you see positive signs from the Lions performance on Saturday night? More thoughts this week on the BCLionsDen.ca Pawdcast.