Lions use second string Quarterback to dismantle Edmonton 39-19
I’m changing my vote for team MVP from Paul McCallum to BC Lions GM Wally Buono. Year in and year out Wally has been the biggest player in free-agent acquisitions, keeping the franchise fully loaded with weapons that are eager to take over when starters get banged up.
With second stringers at the forefront of the receiving and defensive line units, the Lions looked to back-up QB Mike Reilly to vanquish the pesky Eskimos.
Hats off to Buono as he keeps finding gems hidden under rocks.
The win locks up the West Division with two games to go, but enough about the future, time to re-cap with this week’s Love ‘Em and Hate ‘Em.
Like Christmas Morning
He’s the CFL‘s newest shiny toy that everyone’s talking about. Lions QB Mike Reilly steps in for an injured Travis Lulay and has himself a game to remember. It didn’t start out perfectly, throwing an interception on his second play from scrimmage, after that it went systematically well.
Reilly finished with 276 yards and 2 TD’s while showing poise and confidence throughout the contest. He’s more elusive than expected and can throw downfield on the run but what I liked best about Reilly was his ability to shake off an early mistake, apologize to his teammates and continue to lead the offence.
Appreciate him while you can Lions fans, with an expansion draft looming and this being Reilly’s option year, Mike’s big breakout is making him one of the league’s most sought after acquisitions.
Young Defensive Tackle, Brandon Jordan, is quickly becoming the epicenter of destruction for the interior of the Lions Defensive Line. Filling in for Eric Taylor, which are, quite literally, big shoes to fill, he has had yet another solid game, this time recording two QB sacks. The last sack eliminated all hopes of an Edmonton comeback.
The 6’5″ 255 University of Illinois alum has been with the club’s practice roster all season but is now finally getting his chance to roar on game day.
Williams sack keeps him in top spot in the CFL with 11 QB takedowns.
In what is becoming an accolade filled season, Lions RB Andrew Harris cracked the 1,000 yard rushing barrier against the Eskimos.
The first time any Lion has accomplished the feat since Sean Millington in 2000. With the way Harris has been running all season, it was only a matter of time before the Vancouver Island Raiders product surpassed the four digit mark.
Harris still has an outside chance of gaining 1,000 yards through the air, but with the Lions already advancing to the West Division Final I can’t imagine him seeing to many touches in the next couple of weeks.
Big Plays ?
Finding blemishes on a 12 and 4 team may be hard to do but there have been two recurring problems that must be identified by Coach Mike Benevides.
1) The offence struggling to find the end-zone with any measure of consistency. While BC amassed close to 40 points in the victory, and Paul McCallum was successful on every attempt, the Lions Offence is settling for field goals way too often.
I will concede that BC had a back-up quarterback at the wheel; this has been a problem all season. The sense of urgency to score the major points seems to be lacking.
2) Lions Defence’s inability to stop the big play. Continually they have been torched for plays for over 30 yards. Attributed to poor communication, the secondary is continually late recognizing run plays leaving the middle of field open for opposing rushers.
It still appears that Safety Cauchy Muamba, although he is getting better, breaks too late to provide additional coverage on deep routes. Winning breeds confidence but it also glosses over the mistakes that could eliminate a team from the playoffs.
Sometimes you get what wish for and I’m sure that everyone associated with the BC Lions organization wished to host the West Division Final at the outset of the year.
Unfortunately, with the Lions being so successful this season, that West final will be next meaningful game the orange-clad warriors will play, one month from now.
Because the Leos have locked up the Division with two games to, many of the second string players will be auditioning for next year while the starters should see some rest time. I just hope that a sense of complacency does not settle over the franchise.
Congrats to the Lions for accomplishing two of their three team goals, win the West and secure a home playoff game. But it’s up to Coach Bene and his staff to keep the team focused on the task at hand, a road trip to Calgary to take on the Stampeders.
The Stamps still have some playoff seeding to sort out so the Lions know they will see Calgary’s best effort.
And with Lulay’s throwing shoulder still bothering him we will see if Reilly is more than a flash in the pan.
Cheers, The Bartender