lions

Week 1 Flashback: Lions vs. Stamps what went wrong?

Lions tamed by Calgary

There was a lot more riding on this game than just a win or a loss. It was the rematch from last year’s West Division Final, which Calgary won in upset fashion.

A lot of off field trash talk surrounded last Friday’s regular season opener between the elite teams of the West.

Both Andrew Harris and Jon Cornish, the Lions and Stampeders’ respective star running backs, were very clear that this game meant more than others to the already always motivated Canadian all-stars.

Harris revealed that he had plastered newspaper pages from last year’s unexpected playoff loss all over his home and locker room to add fuel to his fire.

While Cornish was out to prove that Calgary’s Grey Cup appearance last year was no fluke and they would once again beat the Lions.

Sadly, Cornish was right. Maybe not about last year being a fluke, but they sure took care of business Friday against the Leos.

On top of the back and forth media battles surrounding this game, there was an even bigger factor arguably in Calgary’s favour.

Their city was recently ravaged by horrible flooding and the subsequent fallout of destruction and damage.

The city of Calgary has been through a lot, and a big win from their beloved Stamps would be a huge step moving forward to getting back to ‘normalcy’.

That was surely an added motivation to the team to step up and play a rock solid game.

Here are a few of the main causes of the Lions’ opening day defeat.

Poor B.C. secondary play

Coming into this season it was noted that B.C.’s strong defence had some holes to fill.

jon-cornish-calgary-stampeders.jpg

Jon Cornish had a field day against the Lions. (Photo: canada.com)

The preseason showed us that the deep ball was a problem for our defenders and that Safety was a particular weak point for the Lions.

Calgary showed us once again that we can not currently cover the aerial attack as well as we need to. The Lions surrendered 44 points and let Calgary QB Drew Tate get too comfortable back there, tossing three touchdowns.

The Lions’ linebackers are among the best in the league, and the line is very athletic and shows great upside, however if they cannot fix the issues downfield they can expect to continue to allow opposing QBs to go to town on the scoreboard.

Cornish had a field day

Stamps RB Jon Cornish was very fired up for this game, and it showed. The Canadian veteran ran all over the Lions defense en route to the first win of 2013.

Cornish racked up a whopping 172 yards on 24 carries with two majors and also caught a pass for 20 more yards.

That yard total is more than the Lions allowed him to gain in all of last year’s regular season games combined.

It’s rare for a CFL running back to near 200 yards on the ground, but if anyone is to do it, Cornish is the guy.

On a less sour note, Cornish donated ten dollars for every yard he gained to the Alberta flood relief efforts. He’s another class act of the CFL and a reminder that humble, giving professional athletes still do exist.

We didn’t utilize Harris

This game was highly anticipated for a handful of previously mentioned reasons. And on top of those, this matchup really is the two best running backs in the country going head to head.

Andrew Harris and Jon Cornish are both Canadian, both physical and both absolutely hate to lose.

But the head to head battle was absolutely dominated by Cornish. B.C. only fed Harris the ball five times on the ground and completed only three passes his way.

He and Travis Lulay are our most talented players, and in order to beat a solid team like the Stampeders we need both men to have great games.

But Harris can’t make his magic happen when the ball isn’t in his hands.

He’s a workhorse and in my opinion needs 25-30 touches per game to really utilize his skillset. When we let him run wild he usually does just that. Let’s hope next game’s plan is to feed 33 the rock A LOT more.

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About Bryan McFarlane

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