Lions D exposed in playoffs
In the end, it was the Lions greatest strength all season that cost them.
The Roughriders ran roughshod over the Lions D for the entire second half and the Lions made Darian Durant look like Mike Vick circa 2004. For as good a game as the Lions Andrew Harris and Stefan Logan had on the ground – Durant was better.
And it wasn’t just on the ground that Durant killed the Leos – Taj Smith ate up Josh Bell all day and had an incredible 126 yards receiving.
Smith’s big reception in the first half summed up the game for the Lions D.
Bell had the perfect chance to just bat away a long bomb from Durant but he tried to snag a pick and the ball deflected right into the arms of Smith.
Durant beat the Lions and the really disappointing part is that BC wasted a great showing from the offense.
The offensive line was the best its looked probably the entire season, especially in the first half when they made a ton of space for Harris and Logan. Lulay had ages in the pocket to create and his shoulder looked pretty damn good.
Best of all, the Lions were being create on offense, including using some pretty unique version of the I formation in the second quarter.
The problem was the Lions should have had the game in the bag after the first half and were only up by a single point. The defense couldn’t stop the Riders when they had to and all game long were pretty lazy on tackles.
Sure, the offense mostly dried up in the second half but the D didn’t do them any favours. Personally, I would have liked to see Buck Pierce get a few snaps in the fourth quarter. Lulay and the offense was sputtering and trying something new wouldn’t have hurt. And for as much as I was praising Chapdelaine earlier, that final set of plays was horrible.
The Lions needed a touchdown and instead of a Hail Mary play he decided to throw a short pass and expect the team to be able to lateral the ball 60 yards to the end zone.
Lulay, for his part, was fine but the bottom line is he got outplayed by Durant. The highest paid player in the CFL needs to be the best player on the field in the playoffs and he simply wasn’t.
Weston Dressler also made the Lions secondary look silly and it was a pretty quiet night for Cord Parks and Dante Marsh.
The Lions needed the D to make one big stop in the fourth quarter but Durant was just too much.
The frustrating part if the Lions did almost everything right: they didn’t turn the ball over, the running game was going and they contained one of the best backs in the CFL. But they didn’t have an answer for Durant and the one aspect of the game they thought they could always rely on – the defence – let them down when they most needed it.
It’s back to the drawing board for the Lions after a peculiar and ultimately disappointing season.
What’s worse is that they could be heading to Calgary with just one more defensive stop.