July 9, 2022

Bakes’ Game Takes | BC 22 WPG 43

2022 CFL BC Lions vs Winnipeg, photo Paul Yates

There is still plenty of growing to do yet. And members of the BC Lions (3-1-0) will get back to the drawing board and hope Saturday’s 43-22 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (5-0-0) serves as an early-season wakeup call.  From the opening kickoff, Zach Collaros and company proved they are still championship material.

Now for some game takes from Matt Baker following the week five clash.

Early Blows Too Much To Overcome

The visitors were on a mission to start this one as Janarion Grant took the opening kickoff yards to the house to put the Bombers up 7-0 before many fans even settled into their seats. Nathan Rourke and the offence then appeared to have a good response in order before the quarterback threw an ill-time interception to Jackson Jeffcoat to help officially open the flood gates.

Zach Collaros drove them down the field and found Dalton Schoen for a 12-yard major while their next offensive series ended with Dru Brown’s one-yard plunge to put them up 21-0 after the opening quarter.

Rourke and the offence gave them life before halftime as the impressive young pivot hit Josh Pearson and Dominique Rhymes for long touchdown passes to cut the deficit to just 13 points at the break. However, they would fail to build off the momentum while being shut out in the third quarter on route to the 21-point defeat.

“I don’t think we put our best foot forward tonight,” Rourke said.

“I don’t think we put our best foot forward today. But I think we’re a lot closer than what the score reflected to a team like that. I’m glad this happened early in the season so we can bounce back, learn from it and make those adjustments later in the season.”

Rourke finished his night 16/25 for 278 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions that each led to six points for the opportunistic Blue Bombers who look every bit as like the elite team that won it all again in 2021.

“Obviously, you’ve got to play better to beat those guys,” said head coach Rick Campbell.

“They’re a good football team and we want to be like these guys; they’ve won consistently over several years and we’re trying to build stuff here where we can win on a consistent basis. Definitely a disappointing result. I give them full credit though. They made more plays than we did and they deserved to win today.”

Crediting The Opposition

The most satisfying element of last week’s win in Ottawa was the ability of Rourke and the offence to overcome the two key turnovers and respond by scoring quickly. This is no disrespect to the REDBLACKS, but you simply can’t shoot yourself in the foot against a formidable opponent like the Bombers. The Lion players and coaches owned all of it in their post-game comments.

“They did enough to stay on the field and make longer drives for them,” said veteran TJ Lee.

“That ultimately made our defence a little more tired down the stretch, that’s what equals winning football games. All the credit to them. We’ll be back, trust me.”

Sustaining those long drives and allowing Collaros too much time to hit open receivers. When that didn’t work, it was creating running lanes for Johnny Augustine and Brady Olivera. Balanced football teams doing what they do best. Rourke himself admitted it wouldn’t come easy every week.

“It wasn’t going to be all sunshine and roses. I’m not that good of a player,” added Rourke.

A good lesson to live by.

Key Numbers

136- a game-high in receiving yards for Rhymes who added a second touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter.

409- the Bombers’ total offence.

39:00- time of possession for the Bombers who beat the Lions at their own game in that regard.

4- turnovers committed by the Lions; three interceptions and a lost fumble.

Next Up

The Lions now head into their second bye week of the season before returning to BC Place to take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday, July 21 at 7:00 pm. The 0-4 Ticats were on a bye this week and will host 0-4 Ottawa next Saturday.

Matt Baker: