I wouldn’t be surprised if to a man the players would say the bye week is coming at the perfect time. After travelling to Toronto and back, having a short week in which they only had two practices, and playing their second game in less than a week, the Lions had to scratch and claw their way to a win over the Bombers. It was a critical win, as the Lions couldn’t afford to fall another game behind the leaders in the West with another loss to an East Division team.
The Lions certainly came out with a purpose on the opening kickoff after the hit of the game by Solomon Elimimian gave them an early turnover and great field position to work with. But the Lions couldn’t advance the ball and settled for Paul McCallum field goal. In fact it took the Lions until the second quarter to solve their red zone woes when Travis Lulay found Shawn Gore in the end zone after a nice fake on the end around. Elimimian made his presence felt again picking off a deflected Justin Goltz pass and two plays later Lulay zipped a ball into Korey Williams who made a great catch for his first CFL TD.
Overall though the offence was average which wasn’t helped with the fact that the Bombers defence held Andrew Harris in check for most of the night. I thought the offensive line did a fairly decent job protecting Lulay for most of the night with Dean Valli stepping in for the injured Kirby Fabien.
There is lots of work to be done to get the unit firing on all cylinders.
It was the defence that should get most of the credit for the win. Turnovers had the Bombers in the game and Goltz looked decent in spurts. Chad Simpson and the Bombers offensive line had some success but the defence didn’t break often. After 16 points on the first half the Lions used good field position and their defence to hold the Bombers to four points in the second half.
Still, there should be more concerns about the lack of pressure from the Lions defensive line as the Lions head into the bye week. Lack of pressure has been a big reason why in back to back weeks young QBs have had some success against the Lions defence, although against the Bombers it had less of an impact. But the Lions didn’t give up the big play all night, and overall, it was a strong performance.
Anyone else know what Dante Marsh did to draw an unnecessary roughness penalty in the second quarter on the second Bombers touchdown? Just wondering, because I didn’t see it at the time, and the replays sure didn’t show anything.
We already talked about Elimimian’s big hit on special teams to start the game and the Lions did a good job of holding to the Bombers to modest returns on the night. Paul McCallum’s coffin corner punt was a thing of beauty and led to the Bombers giving up a key safety, but the veteran did miss two field goals from 45 yards leaving this blogger to wonder why they don’t send in Hugh O’Neill for anything over 40 yards. McCallum’s shank on the late punt that gave the Bombers a hope looked to be an early snap that he wasn’t expecting.
It should be interesting to see how the kicking game evolves as the season progresses, because 45 yarders are going to be needed down the stretch.
Steve @TheSpecialist4: @ryan_4real21 Congrats on 150 consecutive games. All played with class, style and the right amount of flying around.
Indeed, all with the Lions as well.
Jamie Cartmell @SweetJimmyC: Dedicated to the end. Gonna miss ya @JacqBlack #BCLions #CFL pic.twitter.com/XY278wdaUe –
Lions communications director Jamie Cartmell on the departure of assistant Jacqueline Blackwell, who worked her last game last night after eight seasons. She has been a great friend to me as a blogger, and I wish her all the best in her new endeavours. She’s been a big part of building the Lions social media brand.
Jordan Ortillan @jortillan: I love this stadium. A shame there aren’t more people in it. #BCPlace #BCLions #CFL #football
A shame indeed, but I was surprised there were as many as there were. One of the most popular long weekends of the year for folks to get away, so just fewer than 27,000 was decent. I’m still confident crowds will approach 30,000 as we head towards Labour Day and play key Western Division opponents.
Enjoy the bye week everyone. Next up is a big Western Division match against the Calgary Stampeders, where we will get a real gauge of just how the Lions stack up against the West.
As always, we would love your comments on the game, either here or on Twitter @BCLionsDen.