July 22, 2023

Bakes’ Game Takes | BC 19 SSK 9

They lost their starting quarterback in the early going and struggled to find consistency on offence for various stretches of the evening. Thanks to another stout defensive effort, it will still be filed under the win column at the end of the day as the BC Lions (5-1-0) prevailed 19-9 over the Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-3-0) on a hot Saturday evening in front of 23, 902 fans at Save-On-Foods Field at BC Place. Now for some game takes from Matt Baker.

Evans Pressed Into Service Early… Next Week TBD

Following a sack by Pete Robertson, Vernon Adams Jr. went down with a left knee injury on the Lions’ third series of the game. After a long evaluation in the medical tent and an attempt to warm up on the bike, it was quickly determined he would not return. Adams Jr.’s status for next week in Edmonton will remain up in the air as he continues to get evaluated ahead of the squad’s return to practice on Tuesday.

“I don’t have a definite update. He’s going to have to get looked at further; that initial indication is we’re talking about something that’s a week or weeks,” said head coach Rick Campbell after the win.

“It’s not season-ending or anything like that, but it would be misguided for me to speculate further than that. Other than it. It doesn’t seem crazy serious that way.”

Enter Dane Evans, the Leos’ very capable veteran insurance policy picked up in an offseason trade with Hamilton. Evans engineered a remarkable 101-yard scoring drive right away, culminating with a 27-yard touchdown toss to Alexander Hollins. This came after the Lions were given a clean slate when the Riders were flagged for roughing the passer on Evans in the end zone which nullified a safety.

Hollins’ major would be the only of the night with four Sean Whyte field goals rounding out the scoring. Evans finished his night 16/25 for 219 yards, the major and an interception which led to a field goal to make things interesting in the fourth quarter.

“It sucks. Praying for VA,” said Evans.

“Obviously not going to get into that right now. Thankfully or not thankfully, I’ve been in this position before in 2019 when Jeremiah (Masoli) went down (in Hamilton), and it was so eerily similar; just the deflation of a sideline.”

It certainly helped that he was able to get into a groove on his first series. As for the remainder of the night, it’s all part of the peaks and valleys of pro football.”

I mean, it just felt good to get back out there. I just haven’t had many reps since training camp,” added the QB.

And really even last year how the season ended for me personally, kind of ended with no reps, right?  So personally, it felt good to just get out there and play. But yeah, it took a little bit and we weren’t really helping ourselves with all the penalties we have committed because kept telling the guys on the sideline don’t get frustrated. We need to be better. But every defense is good when you’re in second and 18 multiple times, you know?”

About The Defence…

The unit bent a bit but refused to break and would bail out Evans after the interception as well as fumbles by Marcus Sayles and Terry Williams on punt returns. Each miscue led to only three points for the visitors as this Lions’ defence limited the big-play ability of Mason Fine who managed to complete 32 passes for 284 yards but was forced to settle for shorter completions for much of the game. The best sequence came in the late stages where they forced turnovers on three straight drives: one on downs followed by interceptions by Garry Peters and Jalon Edwards-Cooper.

I mean the mindset the whole game is to just be consistent. You know, it’s a long game, whether it’s the first quarter or the fourth quarter for me, I’m not really watching the score. I’m just trying to execute my job no matter what was going on around me,” said Peters.

“So you know, it was a lot to win out scoring on both sides of the ball. For us to see them get like a six-seven play drive, you know, that’s kind of refreshing as a defensive player. But for me, our mindset doesn’t change we got to go out there and execute and just stay within the game because in the CFL the game can change so quickly.”

The Lions also held Riders’ running back Jamal Morrow to only 11 yards on 12 carries.

“We’ve got the best defence in the league. It’s not just something that starts just now or today,” added Peters.

Maybe not the prettiest win, but an important one at that is they also improved to 4-0 in the West Divison.

Key Numbers

74- receiving yard total for Keon Hatcher to lead all Lions.

15- combined point total of turnovers in this contest; nine for the Riders and six for the Lions.

3- sacks for the aggressive Lion defence: a pair from Woody Barron and a big one from CFL leader Mathieu Betts on the game’s final play.

25:40– the Lions get it done despite losing the edge in time of possession by a wide margin.

Next Up

The Lions look to keep it rolling when they visit the 0-7 Edmonton Elks next Saturday, July 29. Kickoff at Commonwealth Stadium is 4:00 pm Pacific Time.