Lions tame the Ti-Cats, roar to road victory
The B.C. Lions marched into Ivor Wynne Stadium on Friday night and imposed their dominance over the lowly Tiger-Cats with a convincing 37-17 win.
The battered Lions once again proved they can survive without numerous key players in the lineup.
Simon and Bruce have been sidelined since being injured in the Lions September 29th loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. After the win the Leos remained in first place in the west division, and with just three games left to play are likely to be hosting their second consecutive CFL West Final game.
Offensive Game Ball
It would honestly be easy to award Lions’ RB Andrew Harris the offensive game ball each and every week. However the same could be said about the Lions pivot, QB Travis Lulay. Harris was electrifying as usual, but Lulay was sensational.
Number 14 extended his remarkable streak of games with a TD pass to 26, the second longest streak of its kind in league history.
Lulay was calm and collected as he picked apart a shaky Hamilton secondary en route to the victory. Travis went over the 300-yard mark again, and notched two touchdowns with no interceptions. He has become that unshakable, consistent leader of a quarterback that most teams can only dream of having.
Rarely will you see number 14 throwing an errand pass or making a poor decision with the pigskin. It certainly helps that his offensive line has stayed relatively healthy this season and provided sufficient time for him to find open receivers down the field.
And of course on any broken play, Andrew Harris always seems to be right there in the flats ready to take the dump pass for a lengthy gain. For those instances where protection doesn’t quite hold up, Lulay has proven time and time again that he can scamper as well as any other QB in the league.
The receiving core is definitely better with the top guns Simon and Bruce in the lineup, but in their absence the other guys have been filling in admirably.
Coupled with a great rushing attack and outstanding defense, the Lions look to be just fine while their stars heal off the field.
Defensive Game Ball
It’s no secret that Hamilton gives up a lot of points, but they also score in bunches. The B.C. Lions’ D held their ground against the league’s highest scoring team. In the NFL it might not look amazing on paper to have held a team to 17 points, but in the high-flying, air attack-driven CFL that is a solid feat.
Adam Bighill continued his stellar play with two tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He has seemed, for now, to retain his starting job as middle linebacker for the orange and white. Solomon Elimimian was in the lineup again, but saw less playing time than Bighill.
Many expected Solomon to completely take back his starting role upon returning to the Lions after a brief stint on a few NFL practice rosters, however the team is respecting the amazing play of Bighill this season and have let him continue to shine.
Elimimian has not exactly exploded back into greatness since his return, but that could be due to lack of playing time. I’m pretty sure it’s just a matter of time before he has a breakout performance and gets back to his fearsome style of play.
The Lions’ DBs have been solid as of late.
Led by veteran Ryan Philips, with three tackles and a forced fumble, the Lions managed to hold Henry Burris to only one TD pass and kept him completely in check on the ground.
Burris, who has a franchise-record 35 passing TDs this season, just couldn’t seem to get into a great rhythm against a stingy B.C. defense.
Special Teams Game Ball
KR Tim Brown had a solid night for the Leos. The elusive Brown ran back four punts for 38 yards and three kickoffs for 104 yards. One of his kick returns was a spectacular 77 yard play that nearly broke loose for six. The field position he has given his team this year has been instrumental to their success on offense.
But my game ball goes the timeless kicker Paul McCallum. McCallum, who has struggled this season, went 3/3 on FGs and 4/4 on extra points. After a record-setting season a year ago, the 42-year old has been less than amazing this year.
Many fans call for him to hang up the cleats already, but he seems like the type of player who pays no attention to what is said about him.
You’d have to be to last 20 years in this league. On a fun side-note, McCallum has never missed an extra point in his entire career.
Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx him.
B.C. hosts the fourth place Edmonton Eskimos at B.C. Place this Friday night. Although sitting in the western division basement, the Esks are able to win the crossover playoff spot and represent the east division in this years playoffs.
It is sure to be another wild west showdown in the dome so make sure to check it out.