Well that was a little embarrassing. For BC Lions fans across the nation, what we witnessed in Toronto at the hands of the Argonauts was a little disturbing.
And don’t get confused by the numbers. Yes Andrew Harris rushed for over 100 yards and yes Nick Moore had over 100 yards receiving, but it looked like there was no game plan, no emotion and little desire to compete offensively aside from the two guys who broke the century markers.
The trouble on offense started in the first quarter where the Lions were plagued by penalties.
Uncharacteristic for a Mike Benevides led club, the Lions seemed to be their own worst enemy from the onset of the game. There’s a devlish part of me that wishes I was in the locker room at halftime.
One would have to assume that Bene’s motivational speech shook the foundations of the CN Tower.
In fact, the only real exciting moments for Jacques Chapdelaine‘s Offence was on two consecutive 3 and short situations on the same drive which showcased backup QB Thomas Demarco and his ability to find a seam on an off tackle run and the confidence to execute a well designed slot counter, both of which resulted in decent gains and first downs.
It may have been the loss of Rookie Guard Kirby Fabien early in the contest that took the wind out of BC’s sails and put it solely behind the good ship Argonaut. But without Fabien, both Center Matt Norman and Tackle Jovan Olafioye looked a little out of sorts even though veteran Dean Valli tried admirably to fill in.
Defensively it was just as bad. It appeared that the Lions came in over confident facing a QB making his first professional start. The secondary lacked the necessary communication needed to be in the right coverage and the tackling skills required by a professional organization. Too many times, especially near the end-zone, the Lions defensive backs watched balls sail over their heads into the receivers hands.
Guys looked greedy, lurking the field for INT’s and not putting in solid efforts to bring down ball carriers. Maybe it was the long delay between games, but this is the second week in a row where one of the games basic fundamentals was lacking.
Linebacker Adam Bighill was effective in his return to action, flying off the edge for 6 tackles and 2 sacks as was his running mate Solomon Elimimian, who turned in 7 tackles of his own. But on at least two occasions that I can recall, Elimimian’s tackles came as he tracked down an Argo receiver after the catch was made.
Which brings us to special teams. Here’s all you need to know, the leading tackler on special teams was Lions back-up kicker Hugh O’Neill. Yup, that’s right, the beard. Apparently he is the only special teamer that still tries to prove to his coaching staff he wants a bigger role within the organization. And again, we laid witness to some pitiful returns. Returner Tim Brown is pretty good.
He’s way better if someone throws a block out for him. Brown’s punt return average on Tuesday evening: 2.0 yards. Again this is a problem that dates back to last season.
Just a quick reminder, this is a league where there is a 5 yard halo given to the punt returner. Yet the return man averaged 2.0 yards.
The lone bright spot on specials was Kicker Paul McCallum who went 4 for 4 on Field Goals and provided the Leos with all 12 of their points.
So was I right to be cautious about the Lions recent success? Probably, but I’m going to chalk this dismal performance up to the travel schedule and the peculiarity of playing on a Tuesday.
Although a stronger effort will be desired next week against CFL East cellar dwellars Winnipeg or this season could come off the rails quickly for the Orange and Black.
Cheers, The Bartender