There’s goes that undefeated prediction…
After an early season clash of undefeated foes, the BC Lions return home with a blemish on their season record, falling to the Saskatchewan Roughriders 23-20.
While it was a close affair, the special teams hindered the Lions chance of success. The Roughriders win the turnover battle and ultimately win the war.
Let’s get right to it then and identify this week’s Love ‘Em and Hate ‘Em.
Yup, these guys on the O-line are banged up, patch-worked, and are starting a raw rookie that will retire at some point during the season. Yet they still managed to keep Travis Lulay upright, not allowing one sack on 40 pass attempts.
The rush yards aren’t exactly where they need to be after three weeks but the Lions have found themselves trailing in games and needing to throw.
Ringing the Bell
Byron Parker was ruled inactive for week three so the Lions played Josh Bell in his stead. The rookie was targeted by Rider’s QB Darian Durant on many occasions and Bell answered the call.
While only credited with one tackle he held his ground and covered his man. I’ll even give him a pass on the unnecessary roughness call when he dumped a receiver deep into sideline territory.
That’s just passion and aggression spilling over. Parker’s position isn’t threatened quite yet, but Lion’s management should feel comfortable playing Josh when they have to.
Kierrie Johnson is making a habit of hauling in long Tuddies. One catch, one touchdown, 69 yards. The pass through the air wasn’t that far. Upon completion Johnson found another gear and starting pulling away, much like he did on his last touchdown completion, the clincher in the Grey Cup.
Unfortunately, after being shoved in the back when crossing the goal-line, Johnson suffered a fracture and may miss couple of games.
Losing to the Riders
Losing sucks. Especially when a few regulars at the local pub are Rider fans. Go back to fixing a tractor and basking in your shrine of Ron Lancaster.
Whether it’s the play selection or being forced into predictable situations the Lions seem to have to work very hard for every yard. The Lions just do not have any rhythm in their game.
Mind you they are seeing every other team’s best effort. Being the champs with target firmly affixed on their backs. Coming down the stretch last year, BC players just seemed in tune with the playbook. Not so much this year.
Thankfully, this problem is resolved with practice and patience, and this season is just under way.
Mr. 88 has been Mr. Irrelevant so far this season. Only three completions on the season to date, Foster needs to factor in the offensive game for this team to have repeated success. With injuries to Johnson and Shawn Gore he will get more looks from Lulay.
I’m not sure if his lack of production is the play calling or lack of rapport with the QB’s but Akeem needs targets to spread the D.
I will finally hang some negativity on Coach Mike Benevides. This situation starts with Tim Brown and ends with Paul McCallum. In the second quarter, Tim Brown fields a missed FG and then hesitates to deciding to return the kick out of the end zone.
This pins the offense deep in their own territory. After going 2 and 0 the Lions elect to punt. After balking the first attempt, McCallum rushes a punt that travels just 28 yards giving the ball to Saskatchewan well inside the Lions half. The Riders score a Field Goal on the drive and breathe life into their team.
Coach Mike must insist that his players concede points or position to have a more effective offensive series.
I know I’ve mentioned it in my last two Love Em Hate Em posts, but I’m not going to hang the loss on the Special Teams defence.
Yes, the athletes should have made the tackles, on McCallum’s misses, stopping the run-back for a TD but ultimately McCallum needs to slot those kicks. Because he was so spot-on last season, this unit rarely got a chance to cover his mistakes.
Look for some changes to be made here or at least extra attention at practice.
The Lions will hope to amend the errors, and seek revenge on Edmonton as the Eskimos pay a Friday night visit to BC Place.
Cheers, The Bartender