It goes without saying that every BC Lions fan would like to see a perfect ending to Geroy Simon’s career. But with news this week that Simon’s agent has asked the Lions to gauge trade interest for his client in lieu of the two sides unable to agree on a restructured contract, there is work to be done if Simon is to end his career in BC Lions orange.
It would of course just be plain wrong to see Superman playing for another CFL club. He has become one of the greatest if not the greatest BC Lions of all time and GM Wally Buono understands what he means to the football fans in this province. With good young talent waiting in the wings, Buono must decide on a role for the CFL’s all-time leader in reception yardage. Simon of course suffered through a season of hamstring injuries and during his rehab the team saw good performances from the likes of Ernest Jackson, Shawn Gore, Nick Moore, Courtney Taylor and others. They also went undefeated in Simon’s absence.
Assembling a CFL club is a constant puzzle that changes on a yearly basis. The salary management system (SMS) is a huge piece of that puzzle and for the better part of his career, Geroy Simon has been one of the higher paid players on the team and deservedly so. No BC Lions player has been more valuable to the franchise, not only for his play on the field but building the Lions brand and entrenching himself in the community. This is what makes Buono’s job so difficult when it comes to what to do about Simon.
From the club’s perspective, the first preference is to have Simon back. From Simon’s perspective, that should happen with an elite receiver’s salary, thus the current stalemate. The club recently rewarded Travis Lulay with a new deal averaging $450,000 a year. Not an uncommon number for the elite quarterbacks in the league. They shed the salaries of Arland Bruce and Byron Parker by releasing them and they hope to get the promising Canadian Shawn Gore signed to a new deal, unless he can find a home in the NFL. But as much as this negotiation is about money it’s also about getting their young players more playing time, while keeping the team competing for a Grey Cup. Simon could definitely play a role with the receiving core, it’s just a matter of what role he would be willing to accept and what he wants to be paid.
While fans get attached emotionally, it’s a trait that Buono can ill afford despite the enormity of the decision he’s facing. He’s always been able to make tough decisions in the past, and he’s usually right when it comes to assessing the talent mix on his teams. Alan Pitts, Jason Clermont, Aaron Hunt, are all players that come to mind as difficult decisions Buono had to present to fans in pursuit of making the right football decisions. Of course there has been an error or two as well. The premature demotion of Angus Reid is a perfect example and to Reid’s credit he sucked it up and proved Buono wrong, racking up back to back all-star seasons since.
Geroy Simon is special and he deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and by honouring his request to gauge trade interest, I believe the Lions are doing just that. I really hope the two sides can come to some sort of agreement and every BC Lions fan gets to see him finish his career they way he should. Fans will be upset if he leaves, no doubt about it. But a new deal has to work for both sides, with the goal of making the Lions the best team they can be.
At the end of the day it’s a problem Wally Buono will resolve one way or the other and judging by his track record, the Lions will be just fine, whatever solution he arrives at and Geroy Simon will always be a BC Lion, one of the greatest of all-time.
Ok this wasn’t exactly from the couch it was actually from the bar, fringe benefits of being a fan rather than an unbiased journalist. Some great CFL fans were in town from Montreal, and it was great to watch the game with them and a few others. It reminds you why you love this game and the fans that follow it.
It’s been awhile since I’ve had to blog about a loss, so here it goes.
Mistakes were the order of the day and the Lions were their own executioners on this day. Lulay, throwing into double coverage for a key interception, the veteran McCallum missing two field goals, and of course special teams allowing big returns again. Both defences battled hard and without those Lions mistakes the score is different. The Riders offence didn’t produce a lot, but as a team they made fewer mistakes and capitalized on the ones the Lions made.
Losing this game wasn’t the worst thing in the world. The Lions last had won 14 of their last 15 heading into Regina, so a little wakeup call might do them some good. The talk of 18-0 can be thrown out the window and we can talk about 17-1. (I kid). Seriously though, sometimes a loss can refocus the troops and I expect the Lions to be hungry next week against Edmonton.
In addition to the special teams issues the Lions offence has yet to reach peak efficiency this season. One drive they look fantastic, the next few they look ordinary or sub-par. Injuries to the offensive line have likely impacted the running game to some degree, and if you listened to the pregame show you would have heard that in addition to Jesse Newman having a setback with his knee, Dean Valli may have had similar bad luck this past week.
Kierrie Johnson’s injury no doubt hurts, and you have to feel sorry for him after it looked like he may be on his way to a breakout year. The Lions do have some options to plug in with Ernest Jackson and Nick Moore each having good training camps and on the practice roster. There wasn’t much success for either Geroy Simon or Arland Bruce on the day and the Lions must find away to get those two more involved. The Lions appear to have dodged a bullet with the early reports that Simon dislocated a finger rather than breaking one.
With a good Edmonton defence in town next week, better consistency will be needed in all areas on offence.
No hoody, no win?
Just throwing this out there; Coach Benevides wasn’t wearing his trademark grey hoody…discuss.
Is it any coincidence that Paul McCallum has missed a few field goals and shanked a few punts this year with a new long snapper and a new field goal holder?
The big play of the game was of course the missed McCallum field goal that lead to the Tristan Jackson return for a touchdown. By definition of the rule the block that sprung Jackson certainly could have been called a clip, but it was close. Even so, there were still 110 yards between Jackson and the end zone. Paul McCallum summed it up best on Twitter when he retweeted and commented on this submission:
“@Glenbuchat2: @BCLions @PaulMcCallum4 it was a blatant clip that sprung Jackson free. Should never have been a TD” If so it is what it is.
Tweets of the game
@ LadyApriil: Saskatchewan rough riders have the ugliest and scariest mascot ever… I’m pretty sure Lions eat gophers! #BCLions #Win3BC
Take that Rider fans!
@CanuckClay: Holy smokes! Was that Kierrie Johnson or Ben Johnson? What a great catch and run! @bclions #win3BC
Great question, too bad we’ll have to wait another 6-8 weeks to see more.
@geroysimon: Finger is good to go! I have 9 others that work fine. Making adjustments to win next week.
Well there you go; the silver lining in every cloud makes an appearance. I feel better already.
OUR CONTEST IS NOW OVER: Thanks to all who entered on Facebook, through the blog and on Twitter. Our winner is Jenna Liesch!
Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel and BCLionsDen.ca want to send you and a guest to the BC Lions home opener on June 29th. Not only that, we want you to make a night of it and set you up with a hotel room on game night. You’ll also walk away with a bag of Lions swag and get to watch the team raise their 2011 Grey Cup Championship banner and see Geroy Simon attempt to make CFL history! Not a bad way to kick-off the 2012 season!
There are three ways you can enter the contest and you can do all three to increase your chance to win.
1 Entry: Leave a caption for the photo below in the comments section of this page.
1 Entry: Enter the same caption you came up with with our Facebook app.
1 Entry: Tweet the following:
I want to win tickets, hotel & swag for opening night via @RosedaleRobson & @BCLionsDen! http://tinyurl.com/76av72f #BCLions #BannerRaising
Please make sure to give the generous sponsors of this contest, the Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel a like on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @RosedaleRobson for more great sports and hotel promotions all year round! They also have great ticket and hotel packages for both BC Lions and Vancouver Canucks games.
A winner will be randomly chosen from the total number of entries and announced the morning of Tuesday, June 26th.
Here is your photo so let’s see those captions! Please keep your submissions respectful and appropriate for all ages of Lions fans. Good luck!
The BC Lions are set to launch their newly engineered Reebok jerseys on Wednesday, May 2nd at BC Place and a fan will be chosen to unveil the newest look in the team’s history.
In a great social media move, the Lions ran a contest on Twitter in which one lucky follower will be chosen to unveil the new jersey along with a few high profile BC Lions. Travis Lulay, Geroy Simon, Paul McCallum and Khalif Mitchell will be on hand to model the new threads.
The event will also be open to fans, who are invited to attend at Gate A off of Terry Fox Plaza at 8:00am sharp. The new jersey will also be available for purchase and the Lions players on hand will be signing autographs.
Jerseys will remain on sale at Gate A until 6:00pm on Wednesday and then will be available at the team store in Surrey until May 9th, as well as the online store at BCLions.com.
Not much is known about the new look but information reported so far indicate they won’t look too different from the current edition. Reebok and the league are marketing the jerseys as “re-engineered.” Both player and fan versions will see modifications.
“The on-field jerseys were developed to improve the player experience, while the new (fan) jerseys will bring the fans closer to the game,” said Stewart Clark, marketing director for Reebok Canada. “After a two year process and a close collaboration with the CFL and its teams, Reebok is proud to introduce the new re-engineered jersey.”
The CFL signed a five year agreement with Reebok in 2008. The company was recently replaced in the NFL by Nike, who signed a 5-year $35 million dollar deal with the league to be it’s official apparel supplier. Reebok had held the contract for the last decade.
If you find yourself out in the valley, don’t forget to check out our friend Rick at Sports & Stuff in Chilliwack who will have a large stock of jerseys as well when the become available. Rick has the best selection of Lions and CFL merchandise around.
Lions fans were given some more good news yesterday when it was announced that Geroy Simon had signed a contract extension with the team through the 2013 season. As Lowell Ullrich pointed out, the event has pretty much become a yearly one in which Superman calls his own shots and who are we to are argue? Simon is of course on the verge of becoming the league’s all-time leader in receiving yards and with another two full seasons to come, all things willing, it will be a long time before anyone challenges the new mark he’s likely to set early in next year’s campaign.
Simon has indicated he has some coaching aspirations as well, but that he won’t pursue those goals until after his playing days are done so that he can continue to play at a high level. Simon will tell anyone who asks that he feels as good now as he has at any time during his career. That’s great news for BC Lions and CFL fans, but certainly bad news for the defenders that try and cover the man of steel.
Now if they can just get that guy throwing him the ball signed to a new deal…
The Lions have officially replaced defensive line coach Randy Melvin, who left for a job with the Tampa Bay Bucaneers. They will soon announce the hiring of Carl Hairston, who will begin work with the club next week with an impressive resume that includes a Super Bowl ring as a coach in St. Louis and 15 NFL seasons as a player.
Behind every great team is a great support staff and the BC Lions are no exception. Whether the players are on the roster or on the practice squad, they need to be kept in top physical condition. That’s where BC Lions strength and conditioning coach Chris Boyko comes in. Boyko is a fitness and personal training guru who has many private clients in addition to his job with the Lions.
Former Lion Emmanuel Arceneaux, now with the Minnesota Vikings flew to Vancouver this off-season, just to work out with Boyko.
We recently had the chance to speak with Chris about his duties with the Lions, his business of training athletes on many levels and his passion for his own love of martial arts.
BCLD: Chris, thanks for talking to us. Let’s start with a description of your duties with the football club and how you became involved with the team?
CB: Thanks for the opportunity to give some insight to what happens behind the scenes. As a strength coach and a member of a 5 man training room/equipment staff, I have many duties but my main focus is the players. All 5 of us Billy, Benjie, Kato, Gavin and myself do our best to make sure the players are well prepared to go into battle! My duties can be challenging but its simple. First, to get all players ready to use there talent to the best of their ability. Second, to get injured players back on the field as quickly and safely as possible, and third to develop the practice roster players and to have them ready for the possibilities of getting into the lineup.
I became involved with the team after years of being a personal trainer to up and coming athletes, including CFL players. I would design in-season and off-season programs for players years before I was a staff member and had some communication with Billy throughout, so when the position opened up 4 years ago I was on the list as a candidate and needless to say I attacked the opportunity!
BCLD: Can you tell us the difference between working with different types of players? Like for instance obviously with receivers you want them to maintain speed while being strong, offensive linemen you want bulk and power combined with agility. How do you approach things as a coach for different positions?
CB: I work with many different types of athletes who play different sports as well, and the first and most important factor is that every good trainer must know their athlete because no two athletes are the same. So when I have guys at different positions and body types I pay close attention to each athletes movements, his strengths and weaknesses and his primary function on the football field. So basically I assess my athlete! But even before that, I get info from Billy regarding previous injuries, and recruiting info from Wally and other coaches on specific attributes that need to be improved. So my approach is based on having a communication relationship with my player. Obviously he has talent or he wouldn’t be here, so I want to know what programs he followed in the past or in college or previous team to get a better understanding of my athlete, from there I work him into my program accordingly, then the quest for improvement begins! I will get each guy who works with me as big, strong, fast and explosive as possible based on his own capabilities. I have a certain expectation of the type of athlete that can be a champion, I will bring that quality out in my athlete.
BCLD: Describe your working relationship with long time Lions trainer Bill Reichelt. Obviously when players are injured team doctors and Bill are actively involved in the treatment that player takes. Are you involved from the start or does your role kick in once the player is ready for rehab?
CB: My working relationship with Bill is fantastic! We work very well together. Bill is an amazing athletic trainer and therapist. Bill is cool as ice in the hottest situations, and I do my best to follow his lead. First there is always time invested in going over the players that we have and the injuries to watch out for based on a history of our athletes. By the time training camp hits, Bill has already briefed me with an advantage. At that point I develop injury prevention programs. So yes, I am involved from the start, however when injuries happen during the season the athlete goes through Bill and the doctors first and then depending on the severity of the injury I begin active rehab based on what Billy and the doctors authorize. As we know injuries can be inevitable in contact sports so my goal in my program is to lessen the severity of these injuries so that my guys can stay on top of their game.
BCLD: You often tweet about players on the practice squad coming in for training sessions at the facility. I know these guys are professionals, but is it a challenge to keep a player on the practice roster motivated?
CB: Yes I do often tweet about practice squad players and their training success. First I can’t tell you how much I appreciate and respect the guys who are still grinding away to become a better athlete! And even though they are pros I can see that motivation for some begins to fade. But we are blessed to have each other in this environment. It is definitely a challenge at times to keep the PR guys pumped up! There comes a time that produces a negative thought I call THE ENEMY, when a PR guy may think he dosnt have a shot in ever playing a game during the season, and that’s where I come in! I am passionate about not ever giving up! So this is the point I get across to my players, I always tell them to BE READY! Because things can change so quickly. Before you know it your the guy expected to fill in for a fallen soldier. I usually develop a close relationship with some of these guys due to the fact that I spend more time with them during the week and when the team travels I stay with the slightly tweaked guys and the hungry guys fighting for a shot! I fully appreciate every drop of blood and sweat that my guys shed for me and I won’t stop grinding with them, its an honour.
BCLD: How closely do you work with veteran players like a Geroy Simon? Obviously he’s been doing this for a long time and is in great shape year round. Does a player like Geroy still get input from you or is he pretty much left to do what works for him?
CB: I work closely with a lot of the veteran players throughout the year but Geroy and I have been training together for over 6 years. Geroy hired me as his personal trainer in 2005 to get him ready for the 06 season and that led to an outstanding player award, new record and a Grey Cup championship! Since then we have had a lot of success with my program. Geroy is an unbelievable athlete, he never seizes to amaze me with the things he does on that field. Geroy is a unique man with unique training needs and I feel I have developed a training style that fits. Geroy treats his body like a finely tuned machine and stays in shape year round, and as geroy would tell his teammates ” that’s the difference between being good and being great”
Even though Geroy has been around a long time and has a lot of experience in training for football, we both have an understanding that when it comes time to train even the most elite athletes can benefit from having a trainer guide them to a higher level of performance. It’s because of all the experience we have together that makes the training process so successful. Geroy knows his body and I know Geroy’s body! So when I develop the program, I know what needs to be improved. The human body goes through changes year after year in this sport so the program has to evolve along with the athlete.
There is certain things that Geroy likes to keep in his training because he knows they work for him, but he is a true pro and still is open for input because he is a competitor and wants to always improve! I can tell you that Geroy is one of the hardest workers on the field and in the weight room/ track. The up and coming athletes should use his work ethic as a manual for athletic success. Its an absolute honor to be his trainer and his friend! I am definitely a Superman fan!
BCLD: I understand you do other training besides working for the Lions. Do you have individual clients in other sports?
CB: Yes I do other training besides the Lions. My passion for developing athletes of all ages has put me in a position to be a conditioning program designer for the youth program at GAME READY FITNESS, in addition to that I am the strength and conditioning coach for a high level of athletes for the India Field Hockey club, youth soccer and high school football teams. My amazing wife and I run our company BOYKO ATHLETIC DEVELOPMENT and cater to team, group, fighter and individual personal training.
Photo by: www.masiphotography.com
BCLD: Can you tell us a little bit about your passion for martial arts? Do you have a desire to, or do you compete in UFC type events?
CB: I have a burning passion for martial arts! I am deeply rooted in the lifestyle of a martial artist, I have been training since I was 12 years old in different fightings arts. Starting with tae kwon do, kung fu, and muay thai. I have been in many fighting tournaments, form competitions and in the ring fighting muay thai. I have been blessed with great trainers that have prepared me to fight here in Vancouver, Vince at WKX years ago and recently Master Song at KAI SING THONG MUAY THAI. I believe that if you want to be the best you have to train with the best! I absolutely love UFC and mixed martial arts. I still 100 percent have a desire to compete as a fighter and I don’t know if I will ever lose that, its such a part of me! I train hard year round, always developing new methods of improvement to add to my tool box. I also enjoy training other fighters when I am not preparing for a fight. I am a peaceful warrior, but my mind, body and spirit are ready for war.
BCLD: Chris, thank you for taking the time to give us a glimpse of your role with the BC Lions. Best of luck to you and the club in your pursuit of a Grey Cup in 2011 and with all your goals and ambitions for the future!
CB: A big thank you to you and everyone who is interested and supports us as we pursue a Grey Cup title in 2011! The pleasure is all mine. Talk to you soon!
In my life time, I’ve been fortunate enough to watch some of the truly great athletes of all-time in their prime. Names that come to mind are Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Warren Moon, Doug Flutie and Anthony Calvillo among others.
In Vancouver sports history there have been popular athletes that have endeared themselves to fans and the community. Among them are Trevor Linden, Kirk McLean, Rick Hansen, Bob Lenarduzzi, Jim Young, Al Wilson and Lui Passaglia. But would you classify any of them as “superstars”?
I feel that same good fortune when I realize I have watched the career of Geroy Simon and in particular his 11 years with the BC Lions. As Simon continues his climb to become the CFL’s all-time leader in receiving yards and his journey to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, it’s time to realize how blessed football fans in British Columbia have been to not only watch his accomplishments off the field but also appreciate his all-star performance off it.
A native of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Simon had dreams of playing in the NFL. Given a real opportunity it’s quite possible that he may have never landed in the CFL. The NFL’s politics were the CFL’s gain and after starting his career behind a stacked receiving core in Winnipeg, Simon landed with the Lions and never looked back.
Not only has Simon been an all-star on the field, he’s also become a member of the community. He lives in Vancouver year round and lends his name and time to many charity events. Imagine one of the CFL’s greatest receivers of all-time coaching your son’s football team. Yeah, he does that too. He’s an athlete giving back to his community, a quality not uncommon among CFL players. Simon certainly earns more than many CFL players as a star receiver, but it hasn’t stopped him from making a difference.
Angus Reid, who has played with Simon his whole career, agrees that Simon probably deserves to be appreciated more as a sports icon in Vancouver.
So enjoy him while you can football fans. We have been blessed to watch a great player, a classy individual who has made this city his home and has given back to it in return. The next time you talk about the great athletes in BC sports history, make sure that Geroy Simon is included in the discussion.
He is truly one of the best of all-time. He’s our Superman.
Thanks to Jacqueline Blackwell of the BC Lions for obtaining the audio for this blog on our behalf.
>> Want to see Geroy Simon do his thing in the newly renovated BC Place? We have a great contest in the works that might get you there for opening night!
The BC Lions defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 36-1 Friday Night (Photo Perry Nelson: Edmonton Sun)
The BC Lions knew they had to take care of business tonight against a depleted Edmonton Eskimos squad at Commonwealth Stadium, and take care of business they did. The Lions rolled over the Eskimos picking up their 2nd win of the season. With the win the Lions moved into sole possession of 3rd place in the CFL west and regained the crossover spot from Toronto who also moved to 2-6 the night before.
Defence was the story, picking up four interceptions and 8 sacks on the night. Edmonton had no answer for the BC pass rush and without Ricky Ray had little time to get in sync with a makeshift group of receivers that included former Lions Ryan Grice-Mullen and recent cut Dobson Collins.
While the Eskimos offence was depleted with injuries their defence also struggled badly. Travis Lulay redeemed himself after poor outing against Winnipeg going 22 of 37 for 343 yards, 4 TD’s and one interception. The offence sputtered on it’s first couple of drives, but got rolling on a great 56 yard catch and run effort by Akeem Foster to put the Lions up 7-0. The Lions built up a 20-1 lead by the half with two Paul McCallum field goals and the first touchdown by Arland Bruce as a BC Lion.
Bruce had a great game in his second appearance as a Lion, racking up two touchdowns and 129 yards on 9 catches. Rookie Kierrie Johnson also had a strong game for the Lions. The small but speedy receiver is making the most of his chance to crack the lineup and 6 catches for 84 yards. Johnson would leave the game in the 3rd quarter however with what the team is calling a bruised shoulder.
The most impressive part of the win was the fact the Lions kept their foot on the throats of the Eskimos in the second half, keeping the pressure on Ray and moving the ball. Ray eventually gave way to Kerry Joseph who wasn’t much more effective than his predecessor. The Lions defensive line was in the backfield on almost every play and the secondary played with some swagger (sorry Winnipeg) once again.
The Lions now head into the bye week on a high and can really get themselves back in the playoff picture with string back to back efforts against the Toronto Argonauts.
- The Eskimos have given up 18 sacks in the last three games, including eight to the Lions.
- Geroy Simon passed Darren Flutie to move into 3rd place all-time in receiving yards. His 87th touchdown also ties Willie Flemming for the most in Lions history.
- The game balls were awarded to Marco Iannuzi (Special Teams), Jacques Chapdelaine (Offence) and Mike Benevides (Defence).
- Kudos to the Eskimos fans who donated over 109,000 pounds of food for the Purolator Tackle Hunger program, 5,000 more pounds than their Calgary rivals down the highway.
Ever been to a sports merchandise or collectibles store and been disappointed with the lack of BC Lions and CFL gear? It’s happened to me many times, but after visiting Sports and Stuff in Chilliwack, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to BC Lions heaven.
There will be no better time to do check them out then on August 6th, when the store hosts its annual Football Day. There are a ton of prizes to be given away and you can meet BC Lion players Geroy Simon, Solomon Elimimian and Paul McCallum.
There are great deals on BC Lions merchandise and every purchase you make gives you chance to win fabulous prizes.
Like what you say?
- A trip to Las Vegas.
- A trip to Calgary to watch the BC Lions take on the Calgary Stampeders on Sept 17th. - Includes flight, hotel. taxi and game tickets.
- 2 tickets to the 2011 Grey Cup game in Vancouver.
- An official pro BC Lions helmet autographed by the whole team.
- Groceries for a week.
- Autographed Jerseys, footballs and many more great prizes!
When: August 6th. Player intros at 1:00pm, Prizes will be drawn at 3:15
Early bird prize will be drawn at 12:45
Where: Sports & Stuff: Chilliwack Mall, 45610 Luckakuck Way, Chilliwack, BC.
We’ll see you in Chilliwack, and make sure you tell Rick and Wendy that BCLionsDen.ca sent you!
Against a lesser team, the BC Lions possibly escape with a victory. Unfortunately, tonight they faced off against the two-time defending Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes instead and a valiant second half rally fell short by a 30-26 score.
With the first possession of the game, the Als managed to do what neither Calgary nor Saskatchewan could during the preseason, score a major on the Lions defence. Diamond Ferri took the opening kickoff from Paul McCallum at the Montreal 14 yard line, and the season was underway. Ferri would be brought down after a 23 yard return by Anthony Reddick and six plays later, Anthony Calvillo found S. J. Green behind the Lions secondary and the 51-yard scoring toss drew first blood, putting the Alouettes up 7-0 after the conversion.
While Montreal may have gotten exactly the start they could have hoped for, the same could not be said for the visiting Lions, who went 2-and-out on their opening possession, yielding a sack on the first play under centre followed by an incompletion from Lulay intended for Jamal Richardson, leaving McCallum to kick the ball away.
The little errors and untimely penalties which plagued last year’s edition of the Lions looked as if they might recur when an unnecessary roughness penalty against Aaron Hunt tacked fifteen yards onto a Brandon Whitaker 28-yard run, moving the ball inside the Lions’ 25, leaving BC in danger of dropping ten or more points in arrears less than halfway into the first quarter. The Als were unable to convert, however, with Sean Whyte hitting the right upright on a 35-yard attempt.
The Lions were able to capitalize somewhat on the momentum shift after the Whyte miss, moving the ball sixty-four yards in eleven plays before getting on the board with the first of McCallum’s four field goals on the night. On the drive, Geroy Simon caught a sixteen-yard toss from Lulay to move into fourth place among the CFL’s all-time receiving leaders.
The Lions secondary in particular looked shaky for most of the first half, letting the Als stretch the defensive backfield and tally 27 points by the half with the Lions only managing to add a late touchdown throw by Lulay to Akeem Foster on a drive kept alive on a 2nd-and-10 completion from Lulay to rookie receiver Dobson Collins good for 49 yards.
The second half would see the Lions come out and move the ball downfield only to stall when a blown coverage allowed Ferri to drop Jarious Jackson, who had come in on the short-yardage play with the Lions looking at first-and-goal from the 2 yard line for an eleven yard loss. Rather than punching the ball in for the touchdown, the Lions settled for McCallum’s second FG of the night to close to 27-10.
Reddick would continue his strong play on defensive special teams with a big hit on Tim Maypray which seemed to set the tone for the Lions’ play when Montreal had the ball in the second half. The Alouettes generally had the better field position through the third quarter, but the BC defence proved stalwart when needed and kept their hosts from capitalizing.
With three minutes left in the third quarter, Tim Brown managed to pull off something which had the Lions’ faithful (and your BCLionsDen.ca staff) asking “Yonus who?” as he returned a Whyte punt 97 yards for the touchdown bringing the black and orange to within ten. If Brown can continue with the play he showed this evening, his predecessor as Leos’ kick returner will surely be forgotten in the “ecstasy” of the Lions’ coaching staff and fans.
Montreal would close out their side of the scoring ledger with a Whyte field goal in the waning seconds of the third quarter and would take the final turn up 30-20. Bracketing the opening of the final frame, Lulay would find Simon and Collins for 36 and 14 yards respectively before the drive would fizzle when Lulay just slightly overthrew Collins in the end zone. McCallum would tally his third field goal of the night from 39 yards, and it seemed as if the comeback might be on.
In the end, though, Lions’ fan’s hopes to steal a victory from the beast of the East were dashed as the team started to win the field position battle, forcing Montreal coach Marc Trestman to elect to have Sean Whyte punt from fifteen yards deep in his own end zone up by seven points with under three minutes to play. The Lions started to move again, but without a timeout came up a bit short and settled for McCallum’s fourth field goal of the night to round out the scoring.
Coach Buono’s decision to kick the field goal on third-and-five rather than going for the conversion will certainly be questioned at some length before next week’s tilt at Empire Field against the Stampeders. With the momentum and field position favouring the Leos and Lulay having success finding several receivers, the call seemed an overly conservative one, as with no timeouts left and 1:42 left on the clock at the change of possession, the Lions were unable to get the ball back to take one more shot at the victory.
- Travis Lulay had a good statistical evening, going 26 of 45 for 366 yards and out-throwing Calvillo, who ended up 22-of-30 for 312.
- The offensive line for the Lions showed significant improvement in their pass protection, only allowing the opening drive sack of Lulay and the blown coverage which dropped Jackson down in the red zone.
- Tim Brown had five punt returns for 132 yards, including the 97-yarder; and added 50 yards on three kick returns, with Andrew Harris netting 59 on the other three.
- On the defensive side of the ball, Solomon Elimimian led the charge with seven tackles, while Anthony Reddick tallied five and a pair on special teams.
- Geroy Simon, Shawn Gore and Jamal Robertson each had five catches, followed by Dobson Collins, Akeem Foster and Nick Moore with three apiece. Simon’s catches netted 115 yards, rookie Collins finished with 85.
Next game: Friday July 8th versus Calgary at Empire Field. 7:30pm. Tickets