June 23, 2022

Game Preview | Lions vs. Argonauts

2022 CFL BC Lions vs Edmonton

It may only be a one-game sample size. Yet the early returns on this 2022 Lions offence suggest the sky could be the limit. Look no further than the 59-15 drubbing of the Edmonton Elks in week one. The impressive numbers included 469 total yards, eight touchdown drives and a performance from the ages from running back James Butler who found the end zone on half of those occasions.

What’s more impressive? The fact they did all of that without having to rely too heavily on Lucky Whitehead and Bryan Burnham, although Whitehead quietly led all receivers with 110 yards. As the squad prepares for a home tilt with the Toronto Argonauts this Saturday, it comes with the expectation that their two big playmakers will play a bigger role sooner rather than later. To a man, they all agree that more balance is better.

“400 yards and help Butler get to that red zone,” chuckled Whitehead when asked about his projection for this week.

“It’s definitely great to see. As you’ve seen at the end of last season, we started to get that run game going. JB is a great workhorse and it’s nice to see our offensive line and all the boys just clicking together. The workload is not just looking at number 7 and number 16.  We’ve got well-rounded guys at receiver, o-line and at the quarterback position. Obviously, JB had a great game as well.”

The key now will be to prove that it is sustainable all season long. That task starts with facing a stingy Argonauts squad that boasts a few defensive studs: Even with the always productive Shane Ray out due to injury,  Shawn Oakman and J’Gared Davis are a duo trio up front while the linebacker group includes the always dependable Henoc Muamba.

“They’re a veteran group of guys that know how to win and they have another group of guys that are second-year guys and they’re a good football team,” said head coach Rick Campbell.

“Watching the Toronto-Montreal game last week which, obviously, either team could have won, that’s because they’re both good football teams. We just want to make sure we’re as ready as possible for Saturday night.”

The Lions will worry about themselves, first and foremost. What will Rourkle have in store in his fourth career start? It’s a question many inside and outside the locker room are eager to find out.

“People need to put some respect on his name,” Whitehead exclaimed.

“He showed what he can do. He came in at the end of the season and put up crazy numbers, first game of this season he put crazy numbers as well. He’s strong, he’s confident and he’s going to do that week in and week out.”


The Matchup

BC Lions (1-0-0) vs. Toronto Argonauts (1-0-0)

Saturday, June 25

7:00 pm, BC Place


Radio: AM730, Lions Audio Network, Sirius XM 147 Canada Talks

Season Series: The teams will meet once again on October 8th at BMO Field in Toronto.

3 Lions To Watch

#23- DB Delvin Breaux Sr.– The surprise free agent addition was flying around in training camp before an elbow injury in the pre-season finale put him on the shelf for week one. After being a full practice participant following the bye, fans will get to see the Breaux Show debut in orange. It will be a good shot in the arm for a new-look defence.

#24- James Butler– What will we have in store for an encore? The four-touchdown performance was perhaps the most positive storyline against Edmonton as questions lingered about the backfield.

#47- Sione Teuhema- If said defence can continue to get more pressure on the quarterback, then look out. Teuhema is just the second CFL player in history after some guy named Cameron Wake to have recorded three sacks in his league debut.

Extra Yardage

This marks the 100th all-time regular season meeting between these two teams. The Lions hold a 59-38-2 advantage in the season series. The last time these two teams met at BC Place was a 55-7 Lions triumph back in October of 2019.

The Argonauts did not visit Vancouver last season and are one of three Eastern trips to make the trek to BC Place in 2022. Hamilton is in town on Thursday, July 21 while Ottawa makes an appearance on Friday, September 30. The Montreal Alouettes will not visit the West Coast this season.

Weekly Bryan Burnham watch: this marks the 98th career appearance for number 16 with at least one reception in every previous game he has played. He is also just 42 yards shy of catching Mervyn Fernandez for 4th on the Lions’ all-time list with 6,690.

Two other line up changes to note: American linebacker Josh Woods takes the spot vacated by Micah Awe while newly signed National wide receiver Shai Ross gets in the lineup as defensive lineman Nathan Cherry is unable to go due to his knee injury.

The Lions will look to start a season 2-0 for the first time since 2016 when they stifled the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 28-3 in a Canada Day contest at Tim Hortons Field.

You just knew Lions historian Steve Daniel had this great one up his sleeve: the last time before this week the Toronto Argonauts faced a Canadian quarterback: none other than current radio analyst Giulio Caravatta back in 1996.

After leaving the win over Montreal with a tweaked hamstring, Andrew Harris is good to go this week. How weird will it be to see number 33 in double blue?

Matt Baker: