August 13, 2022

Bakes’ Game Takes | BC 41 CGY 40

Nathan Rourke of B.C. is hit in the backfield by Fraser Sopik of Calgary during first half CFL action in Calgary on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. (CFL PHOTO - Dave Chidley)

Win or lose, it was going to go down as the BC Lions’ biggest nailbiter of the young season. Leave it to Nathan Rourke to ensure it was a winning situation. The Lions’ quarterback continued his storybook campaign by engineering a brilliant  20-point fourth-quarter as the Leos stunned Calgary 41-40 at McMahon Stadium.

Sean Whyte kicked the winning, 25-yard field goal with two seconds left to complete the roller coaster win. The victory puts the Lions four points clear of Calgary for second in the West Division.

Now for some game takes after the Lions improved to 7-1.

Fourth Quarter Heroics

Rourke and the Lions once again were behind the eight-ball early thanks to a couple of early interceptions that led to 14 Calgary points and a 30-18 Lion deficit at halftime. All it did was set the stage for an amazing comeback. Fast forward to the fourth quarter when Rourke hit Bryan Burnham for a 54-yard touchdown on a third down gamble to cut Calgary’s lead to 33-31 with 6:58 to play, only to have Calgary go back up by nine when Peyton Logan returned the ensuing kickoff for a major.

Rourke responded by marching them down the field and converting another key third-down play to Burnham before punching his second short-yardage major in to get them back to within two. Ice water in his veins is how you’d best describe him.

” Just a great game. It wasn’t pretty by any means, but we found a way to win and I’m proud of the guys for staying together and finding a way,” said an emotionally spent Rourke after the win.

“That’s a good football team and they’ll be tough to play, hopefully in the next three matchups; two in the regular season, but we’ll see them in the playoffs. I guarantee it. We’ll learn from this game and look forward to the next one.”

Rourke once again broke his own single-game Canadian record with 488 passing yards on 39 completions. He threw for majors to Burnham and Dominique Rhymes while also scoring two of his own. Just another chapter in the amazing 2022 story that is still being written.

Added Burnham: “Just going out and handling business. I think we have so many leaders in each position group that the receivers, we’re all on the same page. We understand one play at a time. Make a play when it comes to you. Offensive line, the same way. One play at a time, protect the quarterback. And then Nate, just handling business as usual. We believe in each other and we just keep fighting to the end. Man, good things happened tonight. Good things happen when you stay together and when you fight. We gave our everything.”

Defence Responds

They gave up some big yards in the first-half and had to start with a couple of short fields, but credit to TJ Lee and the defensive unit for buckling down and giving Rourke a chance to set Whyte up for the game winner late. The special teams unit overall needs to improve, but two of three phases were dynamite in this one. A win is a win, ast the end of the day and indeed feels great to get one against a team they’re battling with in this elite Western Division.

“It can’t matter who our opponent is. It’s always got to be the next team up,” said Lee afterwards.

“We want the same end results. So we prepare to be lights out. We honestly did everything in our power to lose it. Our offence came through for us. The defence, we did a good job down the stretch, but we can’t complain. Great overall team win.”

Not a perfect performance on defence, particularly with the pass rush where they failed to record a sack. What matters is, they made a play when they need it.

Key Numbers

100- career CFL games for Burnham. He has registered at least one reception in all of them.

165- game-high in receiving yards for number 16, who is certainly a Top Performer of the Week candidate along with Rourke.

533- the Lions’ total offence in this back-and-forth affair.

246- Rourke’s passing yard total in the fourth quarter alone. He finished with a career-best 488, once again shattering his own single-game record for Canadian QBs.

35:11– time of possession was once again key for the victorious Lions.

82– yards Rourke marched them down for the game-winning drive after they started at their own ten-yard line.

20– the Lions’ point total in that crazy fourth quarter.

3- points allowed to Calgary in the second half as the defence once again adjusted well after the break. The other seven came on the kickoff return.

Next Up

The Leos are back on the road for the second meeting in Saskatchewan in four weeks. The clash goes down on Friday, August 19 at 7:00 pm PT.