It’s always a good tailgate party when the Riders come to town!
Sunday afternoon football doesn’t come very often in Vancouver, although we have seen our share of Western Finals. With the Saskatchewan Roughriders in town and the roof open, the stage was set for a Western Division showdown before over 34,000 football fans. Here’s how I saw it, from the stands.
The Lions offence seemed to come out of the gate a little slow, but you couldn’t say that about the defence. Cauchy Muamba had a strong game and had two interceptions, including a key pick in the fourth that really seemed to deflate the Riders.
Adam Bighill continues to flourish while Jabar Westerman and Maurice Evans filled in nicely for the suspended Khalif Mitchell. But for my money it was Dante Marsh who was the player of the game on defence. The veteran cornerback had a big interception and added six tackles and was solid all night long.
Not much more needs to be said when you consider this team hasn’t allowed a touchdown in three full games. It would likely be scary for other teams to learn that on the post game show, Muamba stated that while the Lions defence was playing well, they “weren’t there yet”.
The Lions offence struggled early but stepped up when they were needed later in the game. It wasn’t Travis Lulay’s strongest game but he was hurried a lot, especially in the first half. The Lions were stuffed on third down from the one and a half yard line which was disappointing. Personally, instead of using the QB so much in short yardage I’d like to see us pound it with Rolly Lumbala or Harris.
Harris was held in check, with just 19 yards on 8 carries. Geroy Simon, Shawn Gore, Akeem Foster all had key catches, but it was Arland Bruce who led the way with 93 yards and a touchdown.
Ernest Jackson, making his second appearance of the season, continues to impress with size, speed and his catching ability. I loved what I saw from him in training camp and he could be on his way to finding a permanent spot in the lineup. The Lions will have some interesting choices to make when Kierrie Johnson eventually returns from his broken arm.
Special teams have been singled out a lot this season and most of the time not for good things. In this game there was very little not to like about their play. The Lions cover teams were strong for the most part. No yards penalties were few and far between (one?) and Tim Brown had a big return in the 2nd quarter that help set up a touchdown. Paul McCallum punted well which was nice to see since he has struggled in that department this season.
I thought the Lions did a nice job honouring the coaching career of Wally Buono. Video messages from Andrew Harris, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, daughter Christie Buono and Wally himself were tastefully done and understated, just the way Wally would have preferred it to be.
I don’t do this usually, but we had a great tailgate party on Sunday. I was very proud to return to the lot and find it spotless. Well done everyone!
Tweets of the night
@DGilmour24: Great environment at BC Place tonight. Can’t beat watching a football game at BC Place on a Sunday afternoon with the roof open. #BCLions
Absolutely, I’m certainly looking forward to more afternoon games in the future.
@angusreid64: Thanks to all our great #BCLions fans for cheering us on to victory tonight! first place feels GRRRREEEAAT!!
Angus has been eating his Frosted Flakes again.
@BCLions: Speaking of @dantemarsh, he’s just 2 tackles shy of surpassing Barrin Simpson (475) atop the #BCLions all-time rankings in tackles. #CFL
Had no idea Dante was approaching team records like this.
@Lilminimo Me and cardboard @DanielJWood won the kiss cam at the @BCLions game tonight. EPIC! haha #kisscam #bclions
It’s true, she kissed some cardboard and one the kissing cam contest. Awesome.
Talk to you next week everyone, 5-2 as we head into Bomber land!