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October 20, 2018

Roar Report | Lions Lock Up Playoff Berth With Win Over Edmonton!

In what was perhaps a microcosm of their season, the BC Lions (9-7-0) received contributions from all three facets, and the end result is a return to the CFL Playoffs. DeVier Posey had his first three touchdown receptions as a BC Lions, all in the third quarter, to lift them past the Edmonton Eskimos (8-9-0) 42-32.

The result officially locks up a post-season berth for a resurgent Lions squad that looks to be gaining even more momentum as we inch closer to the November dance. Travis Lulay added a touchdown strike to Bryan Burnham while Chris Rainey got the ball rolling with a 95-yard kickoff return after the Eskimos had built up an early 12-0 lead. Chalk it up as the ultimate team victory. You could tell Posey was ready to break out.

“I just believe in sticking to the process. If it’s not my turn, I’m going to clear it for my brother,” said Posey.

“When you play offence, you need 11 guys. You need the O-Line blocking, you need the quarterback to you, and you need the running back to step up in protection. I just felt like it was my night.”

During the always exuberant locker room Game Balls presentation, Posey was quick to remind his new teammates that there are much higher goals to achieve, starting with next Saturday’s crucial visit to Saskatchewan where second place and a home playoff game could be on the line.

“We’ve got one loss in the last two months. That’s where we want to be and that’s where we want to keep going,” reminded Posey.

The winning quarterback has been at this long enough to know you can’t be satisfied just because you have the X next to your name in the standings.

“It’s that time of year where you work so hard to accomplish a goal and it’s got to be a single goal each week,” said Lulay.

“The goal shifts now. We’re going to Saskatchewan and that’s going to be the focus and again, you don’t worry about the scenarios and how those things are going to play themselves out. We’ve got to focus on the progression in our own locker room and our own team and keep going to work.”

Lulay finished with 251 passing yards and the four touchdowns to earn his first personal three-game winning streak since originally unseating Jonathon Jennings as the starting quarterback in week four. After trailing 22-17 at halftime, he and the offence picked up the slack.

“We made some mistakes early and directly took some points off the board on our opening drive which would have been huge momentum for us and it didn’t happen. I had a couple of turnovers tonight, but this isn’t a game of perfect right? We preach that all the time. You’ve got to find ways to make more plays than your opponent. Those guys get paid and they’re playing desperate football. That team needed a win tonight and so did we. In the third quarter, we took control of the game. Fourth quarter we did what we needed to do to hold that lead. In a lot of ways, this was a really important win that says a lot about who we are as a group.”

Lulay threw an interception to Aaron Grymes that was returned for a touchdown and pulled the Eskimos to within ten points with just 5:44 to go. After getting within seven points of tying the game, Lulay salted it away with a big first down completion to Ricky Collins Jr. which set up a Ty Long field goal that put it out of reach for good.

Another microcosm of this season: guys who haven’t had a ton of accolades making big plays when they need them.

“I think what Ed (Hervey) did was, he found guys with the right intangibles,” added Posey.

“We talk about that process of gelling, I think you’ve got the right guys with the right intangibles.”

Impact moves that are paying dividends. That was on full display in this one.

As for the struggling Eskimos, their playoff chances are now on life support. With a bye next week, they must hope Winnipeg loses at home to Calgary. That would set up a ‘winner is in and loser goes home’ situation when the Bombers travel to Edmonton on the final weekend.

Key Numbers

21- the Lions third quarter points on three DeVier Posey touchdowns to break the game wide open.

113- Posey’s receiving yards, his highest total as a member of the Lions.

222- all-purpose yards for Rainey after earning his second special teams major of the year. Both have come in wins over the Eskimos.

109- all-purpose yards for Tyrell Sutton, 97 of those coming on the ground.

4- the number of sacks by an opportunistic Lions defence on Mile Reilly.

4- the number of games the Lions have won after they trailed by ten or more points. Edmonton jumped out to the early 12-0 advantage in this one.

7-1- the Lions home record in 2018 with a visit from the Calgary Stampeders in the November 3rd still to come.

13- the number of rushing touchdowns for Reilly this season after his one-yard plunge in the opening quarter.

The Coach Says

Wally Buono held court with the media post-game and hit on plenty of topics, including:

On Posey’s heroics:

“When we got DeVier we just felt that he was going to give us that dimension we were lacking which was a big receiver that can give you the big play. It’s taken its toll, he’s had some opportunities but tonight I think he showed it. Again, you have to have a night like this so that the player has confidence, the quarterback has confidence and the coach has confidence because we’ve been close a lot of times since he’s been here, but tonight is the first night that there was a connection and there were big plays.”

On the energy of the 20,000-plus fans at BC Place:

“It was nice to see the lower bowl as energetic, it was nice to see fans buy into it because when you’re on the sidelines you can feel the energy right from the announcing of the home team. BC Place has got kind of its aura back. I think we’re what, 7-1 at home? Hopefully, we finish the year at 8-1 and if we do our jobs, we might  even have a home playoff spot.”

Next Up

The Lions pay a visit to Saskatchewan’s Mosaic Stadium for a clash with the Roughriders on Saturday, October 27th. It is a 4:00 PM kickoff.

Matt Baker: mbaker@bclions.com