VANCOUVER -- Travis Lulay was forced out of the game in the fourth quarter with a suspected shoulder injury, as the BC Lions smothered the Alouettes en-route to a 36-14 win at BC Place Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The injury arrived just as Lulay was crossing the goal line on a 14-yard touchdown run.
He was replaced by Thomas DeMarco and did not return.
The Alouettes and Lions met for the first time since Week 9, when Montreal pivot Tanner Marsh orchestrated a dramatic late-game comeback to shock BC for the win.
Since then and up until tonight, both teams have been on the same up-and-down path, having each split their respective home-and-home Labour Day sets.
Montreal won their holiday weekend clash with the Argos, but dropped the rematch one week later, while the Lions went through the exact same sequence, but faced off against the Ticats.
|Related: Als vs. Lions|
» Video: Montreal at BC Highlights
» View Game Stats
» Images: MTL at BC
» Video: Gore Grabs 14-Yard TD vs. Als
» Video: DeMarco's 1st CFL TD Pass
» Video: Lulay Injures Shoulder on TD run
» Video: London Takes Off For TD
» Video: Bighill's 44-yard Pick Leads to TD
» Preview: Als go west to visit Lions
Heading into Week 12, the Lions’ offensive line vowed to do a better job of keeping QB Travis Lulay on his feet. Through 10 games this season, the Lions have allowed 26 sacks, which is just four fewer than the 30 they allowed all last season.
Early on during Sunday’s clash, the big boys in front of Lulay were holding up their end of the bargain, which allowed the veteran QB to give the Lions’ offence some early traction.
Following a conceded safety by Als kicker Sean Whyte to give the Lions a 2-0 lead, Lulay embarked on an impressive seven-play, 41-yard drive that culminated in a 23-yard field goal by Paul McCallum to extend BC’s lead to five.
Lulay completed three of his four pass attempts on the drive, but the most encouraging aspect of the possession came from tailback Andrew Harris, whose 15-yard run to the outside eclipsed his total yardage from all of last week.
In Harris’ last two outings prior to Week 12, he collected just 48 yards on 14 carries.
BC's offensive line ended up allowing just two sacks all game.
While Lulay seemed to have no problem moving the ball, the same couldn’t be said for Marsh, who failed to complete a pass on the Als’ first three drives, going 0/5 through the air in the first quarter.
Despite their woes with the ball, Montreal managed to keep themselves within striking distance thanks to the strong play of their defence.
Aside from the drive that saw them give up the field goal, the unit was all over BC’s receivers, refusing to allow them to gain many yards after catch in the first half.
Montreal’s bend but don’t break defence continued to put a halt to seemingly promising BC drives midway through the second quarter.
Starting from their own five-yard line, Lulay proceeded to complete his next seven passes , leading his offence into Montreal territory once again.
But with their backs against the wall, the Als clamped down and managed to ground the Lions, forcing them to settle for a 43-yard field goal by McCallum.
However, it was only a matter of time before the Lions offence finally broke loose.
After a few close-calls, Lulay engineered a 10-play, 96-yard drive that was capped off with a 14-yard touchdown strike to Shawn Gore in the endzone.
On the drive, Lulay hooked up with Courtney Taylor for a massive 58-yard reception that saw him maintain his balance close to the sidelines for some valuable extra yardage.
In the fourth quarter of Sunday's outing, Travis Lulay was forced out of the game with a suspected shoulder injury, after he was hit hard while running in a 14-yard touchdown. He was replaced by Thomas DeMarco and did not return.
Late in the second quarter, Marsh – who took a possession off in favour of Troy Smith – finally managed to create some traction for the Als through the air.
First, Marsh connected with Jerome Messam for the pivot’s first completion of the day – though it was for a loss of two yards.
On the next play, Marsh at last gained some positive yardage, finding Bruce for a gain of 28 yards and then SJ Green for a gain of six.
But that was all he was able to muster up, and the Als were forced to send out their punting unit.
Before the first 30 minutes came to a close, both teams had their fair share of trouble hanging onto the ball.
First, Lulay heaved up a deep ball in Marco Iannuzzi’s direction, but the ball was deflected and eventually landed in the hands of Als DB Jerald Brown.
Once the Als regained possession, Cord Parks managed to free the ball from Messam’s grasp and recover the ball as well, giving possession right back to the Lions.
But their possession was short-lived, as Harris gave the ball right back to the Als after putting the ball on the turf.
Despite the fumble, Harris enjoyed a solid first half.
By collecting 48 yards on the ground, Harris matched his entire total from his last two games, a feat that surely injected some confidence into the Canadian tailback.
But once the second half got underway, the Lions appeared to veer away from the run in favour of the pass.
On both of BC’s first two possessions of the third quarter, they opted to keep the ball in the air, but found little success in doing so.
Facing second-and-11, Lulay saw his pass intended for Emmanuel Arceneaux plucked out of the air by rookie safety Mike Edem – giving the youngster his second pick of the season.
When the Alouettes took to the field following the turnover, it was Josh Neiswander taking over for Marsh under centre.
The quarterback change, combined with the timely interception, seemed to swing momentum in Montreal’s direction.
In his first appearance since starting against the Lions in Week 9, Neiswander led the Als on an impressive drive that ended with Green bringing in a wobbly pass from three yards out for the touchdown.
|Finding the Endzone|
After posting an Instagram photo on Saturday that it had been too long since he scored a touchdown, Andrew Harris finally hit paydirt on a one-yard score following a 44-yard interception return by Adam Bighill.
The score was Green’s sixth of the season and brought the Als within striking distance of BC’s lead.
But any momentum the Als had gained as a result of Green's score was short-lived, as the Lions clawed right back thanks to a timely play from linebacker Adam Bighill.
Following a quick two-and-out by Lulay and the offence, Neiswander took to the field, looking to build off his TD on his previous drive. Bighill, however, had other plans.
Facing second-and-seven, Neiswander threw towards rookie Duron Carter, but the ball picked off by Bighill, who returned it 44 yards to Montreal's one-yard line.
One play later, Harris waltzed into the endzone untouched for the score, extending BC's lead back to 15.
From that point on, it was all Lions.
On the Als' next possession, Neiswander was unable to rebound following his previous turnover, and threw a second interception, this time seeing his ball picked off by Dante Marsh.
While it looked like Marsh had returned it 46 yards for a touchdown, a review confirmed that he had stepped out at the three-yard line.
It didn't take long for the Lions offence to find the endzone, but it came at a cost.
After being sacked for a loss of 11 on first down, Lulay took it upon himself on the very next play, and ran 14 yards through a few tackles for a BC touchdown.
However, just prior to crossing the goal line, Lulay put his shoulder down just as Geoff Tisdale was coming in for a tackle. While Lulay did manage to cross the plane, he rose up from the turf holding onto his shoulder, and immediately ran towards the sideline, where he was met by the Lions' medical staff.
It was then that DeMarco entered the game.
Facing an uphill climb, the Alouettes refused to go down without a fight. On the ensuing possession following Lulay's score, Neiswander completed three-straight passes to Carter, Green and Brandon London, the last of which was taken 35 yards for a touchdown to give the Als new life late in the game.
However, it was simply a case of too little, too late, as DeMarco brought the BC Place faithful to their feet, leading an impressive six-play, 62-yard drive that ended with the young QB tossing a 14-yard catch-and-run TD to Marco Iannuzzi, increasing BC's lead to 22.
Next week, the Als head to Moncton for NAPA Touchdown Atlantic where they will face off against the Tiger-Cats, while the Lions head to Saskatchewan for a crucial date with the Roughriders.