Pickin’ Em Apart
Headline: Lions DB’s come alive for 3 INT’s in 24-5 rout over Saskatchewan.
Like a ninja warrior, the BC Lions bided their time with their opponent and then with a few quick strikes it was all over and the Saskatchewan Roughriders were sent away from BC Place stilled trapped in their losing streak.
The Lions offense was effective late in the contest, lashing out with big plays in the second half. But the story of the day belonged, once again, to the defense.
D-Co-ordinator Rich Stubler’s squad has now held opponents under 10 points in three straight matches and have not allowed a Touchdown in 13 quarters.
No shock here but this week’s Love ‘Em and Hate ‘Em is heavy on the D.
It wasn’t that he just intercepted Darian Durant, it’s how Cauchy Muamba intercepted Durant. Leaping above the Sasky QB’s intended target and reaching behind his body to make the catch. Body contortion like that are featured in Vegas shows, not so much on a gridiron.
And then to pick off Durant for a second time, for good measure, later in the game.
After a revolving door of applicants at safety for BC, Muamba seems like the real deal. He was honoured as the CFL’s Canadian Player of the Week.
Shut the Front Door
One of the topics heading into the game was the absence of DT Khalif Mitchell and how would Rookie Jabar Westerman fare in his stead? Well, pretty good actually. He did get a lot of help from the guys around him but the young man held his own with his extended playing time.
The Riders looked intent on testing Westerman and the Lions by running up the middle.
Jabar and the D-Tackle rotation absolutely stonewalled the rushing attack. Eric Taylor was his usual nasty self while Brandon Peguese and Mo Evans impressed everyone.
In case you missed it Coach Mike Benevides swapped LB Adam Bighill’s number 50 for number 44. A move that may have some offensive implications in the future but this past game, Bighill was all defence.
While the number may have been different, the production and leadership was the same.
Mopping up Roughriders for 9 nine tackles, Bighill was tremendous in guiding his young defensive lineman into correct positions and filling in the rare cracks of the front 4. You couldn’t tell that this was only his 7th game as a starting middle Linebacker in the CFL.
I thought it was his most complete game even though he has 2 CFL Defensive Player of the Week awards already this season.
While the Defence played well, they didn’t score any points. Leave that to Travis Lulay and his crew.
While it took a while to get started it appeared that Offensive Co-ordinator, Jacques Chapdelaine, was setting up his chess pieces for one final assault. It started with the 55 yard bomb to Arland Bruce and finished with a well-designed WR run by Ernest Jackson that caught the Roughies completely off guard.
Lulay finished with 1 passing TD and 1 rushing TD. It was Jackson’s 1stTD of his career.
Failure to Launch
I’m gonna keep banging this drum until someone listens, the Lions Punt return squad is rubbish. And don’t be fooled by Tim Brown’s big return, that was off a long missed FG, and all Brown has to do is elude a few O-lineman for a long run-back.
I’m talking punts here. Behind a Defence this good, Lions return men will have more opportunities than any other team.
Against Saskatchewan the Lions amassed 29 yards on 5 punts. 5.8 yards on average. These guys are barely making any progress, and it’s not all on the shoulders of the guys catching the ball. Big returns require 11 guys wanting to make a block.
Might as well invoke the fair catch rule.
It’s hard to be picky with a three game winning streak and an offense loaded with weapons at every position but one the leagues emerging stars, Andrew Harris, touched the ball a total of 10 times on Sunday afternoon.
Harris proved down the stretch last year that he is capable of huge plays at crucial times.
Unless that slight leg injury he suffered in practice this week was more severe than was let out, Harris should be called upon more often.
Chalk up another victory for the Defence, but in this case the O just wasn’t along for the ride.
The Defence, especially the D-Line kept the Green Machine at bay so Lulay could make waves in the second half.
Even when Saskachewan tried to sustain drives, great pressure up front forced 3 turnovers by the secondary.
When the dust settled it was a 19 point victory and left the Lions, rightfully, standing in first place in the CFL West division.
Cheers, The Bartender