Early Season Question Marks
It was billed as a defensive battle and the hype turned reality as Edmonton downed the BC Lions 27-14. The Lions Defence held the Eskimos to four field goals and the Eski’s D turned in the biggest of the contest as Joe Burnett returned a Travis Lulay interception 108 yards for Edmonton’s only touchdown.
Defensive games are rarely exciting to watch and this event was no different, especially when your club comes out on the losing end.
But without fail, there is often bright spots in a loss, let’s recap in this week’s Love Em and Hate Em.
Back in the Saddle
Andrew Harris is quickly becoming the offensive superstar for the Lions. Being an afterthought in Saskatchewan, Harris returned to prominence against Edmonton, rushing 9 times for 65 yards, and receiving 11 passes for 120 yards.
Harris is being used in almost every situation for the Leos and this type of effort should help BC secure more wins the future.
Closing the Umbrella
Tighter kick coverage by BC was definitely noticeable in this game. Edmonton was limited to just 125 yards of returns on 9 kick opportunities.
I’m not saying that Coach Mike Benevides reads my articles but did anyone else notice Paul McCallum angling all of his punts to the sidelines instead of straight-away center-field? Sacrificing distance for coverage is always a wise decision.
I also noticed that the coaching staff was a little gun shy by punting instead trying a long field goal attempt, negating any chance of missed kick and ensuing return.
The offence once again racked up a litany of stats both rushing and passing behind the improving offensive line. Edmonton only recorded one sack on 38 BC passing plays. On the other side, the BC D-line had 2 sacks on 22 Edmonton passing plays.
Khreem Smith and Keron Williams each had QB takedown on Friday.
As frustrating as it is, we can’t be too upset at the Pick Six turned in by Burnett. That was just chance meeting opportunity.
The play was designed to go to Geroy Simon, who we all know is the best pass catcher in the history of the CFL, can’t fault Jacques Chapdelaine on the play. In hindsight maybe rushing the ball was the safer option, especially on first down, but Geroy catches that pass 9 times out 10.
Similar to last season, BC seems content to just sustain drives, they have to learn to convert these opportunities to scoring plays.
Speaking of Geroy, he, Akeem Foster and Arland Bruce caught a total of 5 passes. If the Lions are happy to keep going to Marco Ianuzzi and Nick Moore, it is going to be a long season. Lulay must focus his attention on the major players in his system to have any hopes of success.
Khalif Mitchell is a nasty player, playing a nasty position where extreme attitude and aggression is often rewarded. While I am a fan of Mitchell and applaud the effort he puts in trying to make plays, he definitely crossed the line when he intentionally injured Simeon Rottier’s arm.
I suspect he will get a call from Commissioner Marc Cohon and probably a suspension for this incident.
Let this be a lesson, an illustration on what not to do, but let’s not ask big Khalif to settle down any.
Hugh Charles was Edmonton’s only weapon on offensive heading into the game at BC Place. Charles still finished 118 rushing yards. He’s either really good or the Lions D couldn’t recognize the play in time.
With only 22 pass attempts by Edmonton, the BC secondary spent too much time getting blocked and not assisting the front 7 with much run support.
Leading into the game, the two offences were equally matched at the Running Back position and the game was to be decided by the throwing arm of the Quarterbacks.
Travis Lulay led the matchup in every statistical category, including interceptions, which proved to be the deciding factor in the Lions demise.
The Lions head back to road this week to take on the Calgary Stampeders. Another loss in Cow-town and they will find themselves in familiar territory, last place in the CFL West.
Cheers, The Bartender