It was a night of accomplishments for the BC Lions on Friday night. Travis Lulay got the work he needed to and seemed to emerge no worse for wear. Andrew Harris got the yards from scrimmage lead back from Jon Cornish. They closed out the regular season with a win while their defence added themselves to the club record book for the best 18 game season ever. Here is I saw this exhibition type game, from the stands.
All eyes were on the face of the franchise as he returned to his starting role behind centre. Lulay took a shot early on the shoulder on a tackle from James Patrick and it survived the test. He went 9-14 the rest of the way and his passes looked crisp and accurate for the most part. Lulay played just over a quarter before giving way to Mike Reilly. While his consecutive touchdown streak ended at 26 games, I’m sure he’ll take the successful test of the shoulder over that streak any day. So will his coach, teammates and the fans.
The Lions didn’t escape the mean nothing game unscathed and the state of the offensive line remains the primary concern of this blogger heading into the post season. Dean Valli left the game in the first quarter with what appeared to be a knee injury and if he can’t go its slim pickings at guard. Jesse Newman is having a horrible time out there and has knee issues of his own. The Lions are hoping that Jon Hameister-Ries will be ready for the Western Final, but just watching the man walk the sideline makes you realize that may be wishful thinking.
On the post game show they indicated that the Lions are looking at the logistics of flying Matt Norman in for the Western Final which would be tricky with his school schedule, but that they should be able to bring him in should they reach the Grey Cup. A healthy body on the line would certainly be a welcome addition.
Courtney Taylor and Nick Moore may give way to Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce for the Western Final, but both had strong games in relief again and Ernest Jackson and Shawn Gore were even better. For a team that at the beginning of the year had questions about the future of its receiver depth, the future looks pretty bright, as does the present.
We’re not going to take anything away from the defence, but it should be at least noted that the Riders were resting Darian Durant, Chris Getzlaf and the always dangerous Weston Dressler. Now that we have that out of the way; this Lions defence is the best in team history for a reason.
J.R. LaRose had a nice game at safety, and the defensive line did a great job all night long. At one point I decided to focus on Khalif Mitchell and it’s just amazing how much he gets double teamed and held. Adam Bighill picked up another interception and added another eight tackles to his regular season total.
Regardless of other issues, the fact remains that defence wins championships and the Lions are going to be very tough to beat with this group.
Lumbala had a couple of nice carries tonight and it sure would be nice to see a larger offensive role for him, because I think he can contribute. He’s a big load when he gets going and you would think he could be utilized more in short yardage situations, as well as down near the end zone.
One Last Thanks
On a non-football note, I want to send out one last thank you to our veterans who were saluted at halftime Friday night. The Lions do a fantastic job of this annual salute each year, and no matter how many times I watch it, it reminds me of how fortunate we are to live in such a great country and to enjoy the freedoms that we do because of these men and women.
Off To the Playoffs
I can’t believe the regular season is done and the playoffs are upon us. The Lions have set themselves up to play one game for a chance to defend their title in the 100th Grey Cup. I really hope that the fans in this city and province come out and pack BC Place on November 18th because this team deserves the support.
Until the Western final, take care and roar you Lions roar!
When the game started Friday night the BC Lions were apparently on Vancouver time as they didn’t start playing versus an eager Calgary Stampeders team until the 2nd quarter. There was no shortage of reasons why the Lions found themselves down 34-0 before they knew what hit them, and here’s how Brian Wawryshyn from BCLionsDen.ca saw it, from the couch.
Short field for the Stamps
The Lions started the game by giving the Stamps a short field, an occurrence that was frequent on the night. Paul McCallum continues to struggle punting the football, and that has to be a concern as the playoffs approach. I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing Hugh O’Neill dress for the Saskatchewan game because you may as well see what you have in him with live bullets flying. The Lions are giving up too much field position of late because of a poor kicking game.
Turnovers and penalties (the Lions took the first 10 of the game) also contributed to the poor field position for the Lions on a night where pretty much anything that could go wrong did.
If that was a preview of what life might be like on the offensive line without Angus Reid as the general, someone find me an anti-aging machine, stat. The Lions offence was clearly out of synch most of the night and it was mainly because the offensive line had no answer for the Calgary pass rush all night long.
There is no point in singling anyone out because as a unit they weren’t good enough. Not only was the pass protection poor the run blocking was awful as well, the five times they elected to hand the ball off to Andrew Harris, whose frustration was evident more than once last night.
While you’re getting me that anti-aging machine, get me some new knees and a new back for Jon Hameister-Ries.
The second start in the CFL career of Mike Reilly didn’t go as smoothly as the first. The previously mentioned offensive line didn’t help his cause, but Reilly looked a little off as well. To his credit he battled back and for a moment you felt that with one more touchdown, the Lions just might come all the way back. They almost got that TD when Reilly connected deep with Courtney Taylor only to have the ball ripped free by a Stampeder defender.
It will be an interesting week at Lions practice. If Travis Lulay doesn’t throw again this week, do we start to get concerned that this injury is more serious then the team is letting on? With two weeks before the Western Final the Lions would like to get Lulay some work, and it would be a month before he had any snaps if he doesn’t play until then. Some anxious times are coming for the Lions and their fans in the next two weeks.
As mentioned above, Harris was visibly frustrated at times in this game. It was the second game in a row that the young star of Lions has been held in check for the most part by the opposition. There doesn’t seem to be any holes open for Harris on handoffs and they aren’t finding him out of the backfield either. The team is going to have to find ways for him to get the ball as they are going to need a solid running game in the playoffs, especially if teams are going to be teeing off on the QB like the Stamps were doing all night.
Seeing some positives
There were some good things to take from the game as well. Geroy Simon returned to the lineup and was somewhat productive, showing no signs of a sore hamstring. Thomas Demarco got in a little work in the fourth quarter and didn’t look to bad, showing some of the accuracy the Lions like in him. Adam Bighill continued his never take a game off attitude and was the best Lion on the field, again.
Of course the fact the Lions did show some pride after getting down 34-0 and almost made a game of it was a small positive. If the Taylor turnover hadn’t occurred who knows what would have happened, but it was just kind of night and the Lions probably didn’t deserve such a comeback.
What does it mean?
It’s hard to take much from this game. The game obviously meant more to the Stampeders who had yet to beat the Lions this season and wanted to plant a seed for the future. BC was obviously not ready to play, and you can only hope the game served as a wakeup call. Coach Mike Benevides was not a happy camper on the sidelines and he’ll make adjustments. This is a veteran group and I expect the Lions will want to bring their “A” game next week against Saskatchewan. If they don’t there could be cause for concern heading into the playoffs.
BC Lions president Dennis Skulsky introduces the BC Lions new Reebok jerseys. Photo: Rebecca Bollwitt: Miss604.com
The BC Lions introduced their new jerseys on Wednesday and in this case the Lions felt it was a case of why change a good thing?
The only real design change to the newest threads is the removal of the black piping that ran from the shoulders, across the chest. The Reebok branding is different with the logo gone and the company’s name on each shoulder over the numbers. The quality is higher end, the material is different and the jersey has a different fit. The BC Lions logo on the shoulders is now a sewn on patch. A big upgrade over the screened only option fans had with previous editions.
When Bob Ackles returned the to Lions in 2002, he felt the team had lost it’s identity. One of the things he wanted to change was to bring back orange as the dominant colour of the team’s uniform. Club president Dennis Skulsky alluded to the fact that the Lions think their look is pretty good, so why mess with it?
“[The CFL] came to us last year but we said ‘we like our jerseys,’” said club president Dennis Skulsky. “To be honest we lost our way as an organization for a little because we had a whole bunch of different designs for awhile. This is the design.”
The team will be looking at redesigning their popular black third jersey with an eye for a 2013 debut.
Overall as a fan I’m happy that the look didn’t change drastically. I think the Lions uniforms are clean and sharp. The numbers are easy to read and the colour scheme works. These are clearly an upgrade in quality, so I will definitely buy one. And boy do we have a deal for you!
Our friends at Sports in Stuff in Chilliwack are taking pre-orders for the new jerseys and are offering a price of $179.99 for a pro-stitched jersey if you order and mention BCLionsDen.ca.
Jerseys will take about 10 days to get customized once they’re in stock. Give them a call at 604-858-2614 or email them at email@example.com! Of course you can always drop in and see them at the store, located at the Chilliwack Mall, 45610 Luckakuck Way, in Chilliwack.