It was BC Day in British Columbia and it turned out to be the BC Lions day in Ontario in a hard fought 18-9 victory over the Toronto Argonauts. Turnovers and defence were the stories of the game, and the Lions won on both counts, moving their record to 4-2, good for interim sole possession of first place in the CFL’s West Division.
Here’s how I saw it, from the couch.
The Argos lost this game in large part to turnovers and they started early, with the Lions cashing in 10 points off two early interceptions thrown by Ricky Ray. Byron Parker looked to have the first interception for the Lions secondary this season and his 10th career pick six, but a bad offside call on the Lions wiped out what would have been a sweet return to Rogers Centre for the former Argonaut. Dante Marsh ended up getting the first pick for the unit with Toronto moving the football. It was a key moment in the game.
While the offence struggled to get into a rhythm for much of the game, the defence went blow for blow with Argos, and for the second straight game, didn’t allow a touchdown by the opposition offence. They were also responsible for all four Argo turnovers. The Lions got solid pressure on Ray for much of the game, and kept Cory Boyd in check with just 23 yards on 8 carries, which was a key considering they were without defensive play caller Anton McKenzie. Rookie Jabar Westerman has a nice game for the Lions with a sack, two tackles and a forced fumble and may be the answer for when Khalif Mitchell serves his pending suspension.
With the two early gifts from the Argos the Lions were able to cash in on their first two offensive possessions. But success was infrequent after that and I don’t believe the offence had a first down in the 3rd quarter (I could be wrong). Andrew Harris found the running tough, and Travis Lulay was under solid pressure from the Argos defence, making effective receptions sparse as well. Lulay was 18 for 27, but many of the completions were short passes that left the Lions with several two and outs. Lulay did find newcomer Ernest Jackson for a key 51 yard strike to the one in the fourth quarter, but the Lions needed four cracks, including an offside call on the Argos to get into the end zone.
The Argos held Andrew Harris in check for much of the night, but July’s Top Canadian ripped off a couple important runs in the dying minutes to help seal the deal for the Lions.
The previously mentioned Jackson had a strong debut performance and may have laid claim to the receiver opening that Nick Moore failed to grab hold of in his two game audition.
I’m not sure the break could come at a better time for Paul McCallum. There is something just not quite right with the veteran kicker. While the team did a good job containing Chad Owens, McCallum’s punting continues to be inconsistent and has to be a concern at some point. Tim Brown continues to leave a long field for the offence, but he isn’t getting a lot of blocking in front of him, unless my untrained eye isn’t seeing him miss the holes.
The Lions kept McCallum from trying a 46 yard field goal, no doubt in part because of Owens waiting to return the kick if it went wide or short. But it’s worrisome that the team doesn’t have confidence in their kicker’s leg on anything over 40-45 yards. Some in Lions nation are wondering if there is a way to get two kickers on the roster if this continues.
@andrewharris33: Wasn’t pretty, but we stuck together and got the win! 4-2… #BCLions #33Nation
Stick together they did, particularly on a late headlock tackle on Harris that went uncalled. Rolly Lumbala and Harris were not pleased after the final whistle.
@LionFan15: #BCLions I guess it’s a safe bet that Ernest Jackson just leapt over Nick Moore on the depth chart for good. #CFL
Agreed…for now. Jackson has a lot to offer; size, speed and strength. I wouldn’t rule out Courtney Taylor getting a shot at some point as well, and Kierrie Johnson will be back at some point.
@GlennLove20: Just had my first game. What a great experience, but I still have a lot to improve and learn about this game. Great win for the #BCLions.
New BC Lions linebacker Glenn Love comments on his first CFL game experience.
@Heatbagger: Dominant closing drive to end the game for BC. Suitor saying BC wasn’t dominant. They only gave up 3 FG’s on the road, yup they suck. #BCLions
Well, I would say the game was pretty even. The Lions created more chances because of the turnovers, and that was the difference. Kind of agree with Suits on that one.
Until Next Time
It’s a bye week for the Lions and there is much to work on when they return, but at 4-2 the Grey Cup champs are in a good position to start the next phase of their season. Here is hoping that fans come out for a rare afternoon game in BC Place against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on the 19th. Enjoy the break everyone!