Originally published on the TheProvince.com where we write for The Fifth Quarter blog following all BC Lions games.
There was no denying the importance of Saturday’s game with the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the BC Lions. The team made a huge statement about their character coming out on top of a defensive football game in a hostile environment. Here’s how I saw the game, From the Couch.
The Andrew Harris Show
Andrew Harris stated before the season that he wanted to assume a bigger leadership role on the team, and he led by example against the Riders. With just 18 touches in his first two games, Harris carried that many times in his third, racking up 138 yards on the ground including a tough and determined 58 yard run for a touchdown. Harris also racked up 65 yards through the air.
It’s been a long time since Harris had a game like this and it was encouraging to see. The Lions need more games like this from Harris and they did a great job game planning with him in mind.
The offensive line, who saw the return of Kirby Fabien to the starting five, was much better against a good Riders offensive line. They were aided by some solid help from FB Rolly Lumbala much of the night, whose work helped new left tackle Ryan Cave, who still had some moments, but provided some nice run blocking as well. They got great push most of the game as Harris and the Lions often picked up five or more yards on first down.
Locking it Down
It was the second game in a row that the Lions only allowed one touchdown, and this time it was enough for a win, as it should be with the offence doing their part. The Lions had Durant on the run for much of the night, but only managed to sack him twice. The crafty Rider QB escaped a couple of times to produce big plays.
Solomon Elimimian and Adam Bighill had seven tackles each, with the latter negating a Riders touchdown when he knocked the ball from Hugh Charles’ hands in the end zone. Both of them were excellent with their pursuit of the ball all night, and that’s something the Lions are banking on for success.
Kevin Glenn looked more like the player of the last two years, managing the game well, even though the Lions had a lot of problems with the noise at Mosaic, especially in the second half. Glenn was only sacked twice, and was left relatively untouched most of the night. More importantly, Glenn didn’t turn the ball over.
The usually sure-handed Courtney Taylor had two drops that should have been first downs, the second leading to what basically amounted to a turnover as the Riders used the ensuing drive to score. But Taylor had a big touchdown to seal the game in the fourth, fighting off a tackler to get to the end zone.
Logan Special on Teams
Stefan Logan had his best game of the year returning the football averaging 22.8 yards on kick-offs and 12.8 on punts on the way to 168 yard night. The Lions coverage on teams was good but they’ll want to clean up some of the penalties they took.
Urgency was Evident
Mike Benevides was the most animated I think I’ve ever seen him. You could tell he knew how important this game was and he was fired up on the sidelines. On the post-game show his voice cracked from the strain he had exposed it to. He and his coaching staff did an outstanding job with the game plan and getting Andrew Harris involved. His coordinators, Marks Washington and Khari Jones were each given the game balls for their first victory in their new roles. The challenge now will be to maintain this progress and get on a roll.
Hope You Were Watching
Some people probably think I go on about this too much, but you could clearly see the impact that a loud crowd on defence has on a football game. The Lions struggled with the noise in the second half, and hopefully the casual fan that comes to BC Place takes notice. Our house can be just as loud if everyone buys in, and the defence certainly would appreciate your participation.
And with that public service announcement, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the game, here or on twitter, @BCLionsden.