Road games usually means that this blog is entitled ‘From the Couch’, but seeing how I was at McMahon stadium Friday night to witness the huge 25-24 BC Lions win over the Stampeders we’ll use the home game application. Here’s how I saw the game, From the Stands.
The Offensive Line
It’s no coincidence that the Lions three wins this season have come in games where the offensive line has come together and played a solid game, and Friday night they did just that. Coming into the game that was my main concern against a good Stampeders defensive line and the Lions did a great job keeping Kevin Glenn upright, even if it didn’t result in points early in the game.
It was in the second half where the line really stepped up as Khari Jones decided that if the Lions were going to win this game, it would start with Andrew Harris who finished with 143 all-purpose yards. The line opened holes for Harris and gave Glenn protection for quick checkdown passes to the Lions best offensive player, who took it from there.
Hunter Steward looks to be settling into the left tackle spot and battled all-star Charleston Hughes well. Jermarcus Hardrick, who started in place of Kirby Fabien, looks to be a solid find as well.
The game saw two solid defences go head to head. In the first half the Lions had some issues dealing with former Leos running back Martell Mallett, who hit 100 yards rushing before halftime, but the Lions locked things down in the second half.
The defensive front was solid and Eric Taylor was a handful for the Stampeders all night. Will this be the year that the big man gets acknowledged for what he brings to the table? Khalif Mitchell was also causing problems for the Stamps, and won’t have to answer questions about his lack of stats anymore after picking up two tackles on the night. The Lions appear to have found a good one in Alex Bazzie who had another strong game and the only Lions sack of the night following a huge pursuit and loss for Bo Levi Mitchell.
Solomon Elimimian continued his journey to a possible defensive player of the year nod, adding another 10 tackles to his league leading total. But the big hit of the night came on the final play of the game courtesy of Adam Bighill who ran right through Simon Charbonneau-Campeau.
With Calgary driving in the third quarter Mallett fumbled the ball after being hit by Bighill, an alert play by Dante Marsh knocked the ball out of bounds and the resulting turnover after a BC challenge seemed to give the Lions the momentum they needed.
Like the Stampeders, most of the Lions offence came from the running game, even though both of their offensive TDs came via the pass. Harris once again put the team on his shoulders in the second half and led the way. If the Lions can find a way to get more production from the dangerous Stefan Logan, it would be a scary situation for opposing defences.
Courtney Taylor continues to be the Lions most consistent receiver, and it was nice to see Marco Iannuzzi have a strong game.
Glenn threw another costly interception but for the most part had more time and managed the game in a tough environment, beating his former club. His pass to Ernest Jackson for the game winner was on the money, and it must have felt great for Glenn to get the win at McMahon.
While the Lions return game wasn’t productive, the cover teams were thanks to the return of Ricky Schmitt. His hang time on punts allowed the cover teams time to get downfield and contain, often giving the Stamps a long field to work with.
The Lions did a better job with penalties, but there were still some that need to be eliminated. Jordan Matechuk took an unnecessary roughing penalty that gave the Stamps good field position on the ensuing kickoff, a drive that led to a touchdown. Shawn Gore’s holding call that nullified an electrifying touchdown run by Harris could have been costly, but in fairness to Gore that type of play goes uncalled a lot.
No report from Calgary from a fans perspective would be complete without talking about the tailgating at McMahon. Through my CFL travels I have met a lot of great fans from other cities, so when I come to Calgary I have a lot of stops to make around various tailgate parties around the stadium.
Calgary is the mecca of tailgating in Canada and this pastime adds so much to the football experience. I was fed ribs, Spolumbo’s sausages and had to turn down even more. My cup was never empty thanks to some great Alberta hospitality. If you have never been to a game in Calgary, put it on your CFL bucket list.
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.