Lions tamed by surging Stamps
Friday night’s chilly West Division match-up did not start the way B.C. Lions fans would have liked. Less than five minutes into the contest QB Mike Reilly, getting his second straight start in place of Travis Lulay, was stripped of the football deep in Lions territory.
Linebacker Malik Jackson knocked the ball loose and chased it down to fall on top of it in the end zone for an early Calgary touchdown.
And things would get worse before they got better for the Leos, who were sporting rare, all-white uniforms for the first time this season.
The Stampeders put up 34 unanswered points to begin the game on their frozen home field in a contest neither team needed to win for playoff reasons. But pride runs deep between these two squads and the red and black wanted to avoid the season sweep by B.C.
On a night where three different Calgary quarterbacks threw for a touchdown there was one special moment for the Lions, as Geroy Simon recorded his 100th career touchdown reception.
Offensive Game Ball
Mike Benevides decided to keep Travis Lulay on the bench for the second consecutive game to ensure he heals fully and is ready to go for the playoffs. No word yet as to who will start the Lions’ final regular season game, but backup Mike Reilly was awarded his second professional start against the Stamps Friday night.
Reilly impressed in last week’s convincing victory over the Eskimos, but got off to a rockier start at McMahon Stadium. Reilly fumbled the ball three times, losing one of them, however none of the B.C. players seemed to be ready to play on the brisk night in Calgary.
After trailing by a mile early, Reilly led the Lions back to at least a respectable score by the game’s end. Despite the poor team effort, number 13 still managed to complete 19 of 26 passes for 261 yards, with two TDs and zero picks.
He was pulled late in the game to give rookie Thomas DeMarco his first action of the season. Mike Reilly has earned his second straight game ball from me.
Defensive Game Ball
On a night where the only thing crisp was the sub-zero weather it was hard to name a defensive star for B.C. Coming in as the best defense in the league, the Lions seemed shaky at first, but settled in slightly as the game wore on. The numbers don’t actually look too bad considering the final score.
The Lions held the league’s rushing leader Jon Cornish to under 100 yards, and didn’t allow any rushing TDs by Calgary as a team. B.C.’s heart and soul on defense earns my game ball again this week. LB Adam Bighill registered eight solo tackles along with two QB sacks in the loss.
Bighill continues to make a case for himself winning the league’s most outstanding defensive player award with solid numbers on an otherwise disappointing evening for the Leos.
Keep an eye on number 44 next weekend as he looks to stack up his statistics even more.
Special Teams Game Ball
This game ball is very easy to award this week. With very poor punting by Lions’ kicker Paul McCallum, who averaged just 36.2 yards per punt, there is only one man deserving of the ball. KR Tim Brown continued his hot play of late with a spectacular punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter of Friday’s game.
Brown showed an amazing burst of speed as he took the ball virtually straight up the gut of the punting team and into the end zone for six.
The play was one of the only noticeable bright spots for the Lions as they came up 20 points shy of their rivals from Alberta.
B.C. rounds up their 2012 regular season this coming Saturday night at B.C. Place against their enemies from the prairies. Saskatchewan is in town to play their fourth game against the Lions this season.
Get on down to the dome to check out all the action, or tune into TSN at 7pm pacific.