B.C. Lions Vs. Montreal Alouettes: What went wrong?

Als edge out Leos in shootout

How the B.C. Lions lost to the Alouettes after forcing seven Montreal turnovers is still baffling fans province-wide. It was a wacky game from start to finish featuring flash rain showers, a 123-yard missed FG touchdown return, a game-saving Hail Mary and a last second winning field goal.

Any game that ends with a score of 39-38 is virtually an instant classic, Lions fans just wish it was a classic their team had won.

The end of this battle was somewhat of a Hollywood ending, with an unlikely hero leading his underdog team to a last second miracle victory on their home turf. Yes, you’ve seen movies and TV shows end that way, but this time it was real life, and days later the result still stings bad.

It certainly wasn’t a lack of effort that led to the devastating one point defeat for the Leos. A few key players made a few key plays for Montreal, and then when you sprinkle in a bit of CFL magic, you never know what’s possible.

In a game this crazy it’s hard to pinpoint every little detail as to why things didn’t quite go B.C.’s way, but here’s a breakdown of a few of the crucial factors that propelled the Alouettes to just their third win of 2013.

Ground game collapse

Andrew Harris is almost a shoe-in to rack up 100 rushing yards each week, but that was not even close to the case on Thursday night. The Montreal defense stopped Harris dead in his tracks, a feat few teams can or have accomplished. Harris only rushed for 19 yards on eight carries.

Which also tells of a problem, he didn’t get enough touches. Including his four receptions, Harris only saw the ball 12 times, which is not nearly enough for a guy who strives late in games when he’s carried the load and the other team is tired of defending him. B.C. was leading and should not have ditched their ground game, period.

The end of this battle was somewhat of a Hollywood ending

The end of this battle was somewhat of a Hollywood ending

Too many yards surrendered

The Lions’ defense is one of the league’s stingiest, particularly in the secondary, and although the unit forced a boatload of turnovers, the yards just continued to rack up against them. B.C. allowed an uncharacteristic 464 yards of offense on Thursday, far higher than their typical numbers.

Ex-Lion Arland Bruce III had himself a great game against his former team, hauling in seven catches for 167 yards.

And third string QB Tanner Marsh came in to throw 329 yards in relief of Josh Neiswander.

No lead is safe

This is one of the CFL’s promotional sayings, and boy is it true.

The rules and structure of this game allow for some crazy things to happen in a short amount of time, and that was on full display in Montreal. We see this time and time again in the CFL, which is another reason some NFL fans just don’t understand or like the Canadian game.

It’s too unpredictable to bet on, that’s for certain, but it makes for amazing entertainment.

The Hail Mary catch by Eric Deslauriers was not a defensive collapse by any means, as the coverage was as tight as glove. But with the perfect combination of a great throw, a perfectly timed jump, and a bit of CFL magic… voila.

My heart sank well into  my stomach watching this play unfold, and I didn’t even need to watch the chip shot field goal sail through with time expiring to know what had just happened.

After this heart-breaking loss expect the Lions to come out swinging against the Ti-Cats, who are no longer a joke having won three straight games and pulling back to .500 on the season.

Let’s hope the game never gets close enough to allow for last second heroics again.

Go Lions!


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About Bryan McFarlane

Bryan no longer writes for NWSB
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