After last Monday night’s debacle in Toronto in which Lions quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. threw six interceptions in the 45-24 loss to the Argos, all eyes were on the 30-year-old signal-caller to see how would bounce back against the Montreal Alouettes at BC Place Stadium on Sunday.
The day got off to a bad start when Als safety Marc-Antoine Duquoy intercepted an Adams pass and returned it for a touchdown on the Lions first possession. Luckily for Adams and the Lions, Duquoy was called for illegal contact and the Lions were awarded a first down instead.
Adams then went four-for-four passing on the opening drive which was capped off by a Dominique Davis two-yard touchdown run to give the Lions a 7-0 lead that they would never relinquish in defeating the Alouettes by a 35-19 margin.
“I did tell myself that you can’t start like that but I had no doubt that we were going to comeback and do our thing. He (Duquoy) had the little tug there…but you have to keep going. I want to be cleaner and better for the team though. We left a lot of yards out there,” Adams told the media in his post-game press conference.
Adams would finish the day 20 for 25 passing with 285 yards with a touchdown in a performance that left head coach Rick Campbell happy.
“It’s not surprising from how he’s been here the whole time. We took way more flak last week for losing the game, including our quarterback, than I thought was necessary so good on him for bouncing back. I’m proud of him,” Campbell told us on the AM 730 post-game show.
The legendary Wally Buono would always tell us that there are four or five big plays that determines a game fate. The touchdown return by Duquoy that was nullified was one of those plays, as was the blocked field goal by the Lions with just under five minutes remaining in the second quarter.
With the Lions leading 14-10, Montreal’s David Cote lined up for a 43-yard field goal attempt. Lions defensive tackle Woody Baron leaped up and blocked the Cote’s kick with the loose ball taking a Lions bounce right into the hands of Jalen Edwards-Cooper, who returned it 63 yards for a touchdown to give the Lions a 21-10 lead after a successful convert.
“That’s just a guy making a play. He (Baron) has had such a knack for pass-rushing. He got skinny on that and got through the gap and made a huge play, so good for him,” Campbell said.
Another bright spot for the Lions was the play of running back Shaun Shivers who racked up 136 yards of total yardage and provided the 20,106 in attendance with one of the game’s most exciting plays of the game when he caught a pass in the right flat, raced down the sidelines and appeared to be going in for his second touchdown of the game.
Unfortunately for Shivers, Alouettes cornerback Dionte Ruffin never gave up on the play and punched the ball out of Shivers’ hand at the one-yard line with Duquoy coming in to pick it up and give Montreal possession.
Shivers was filling in for the injured Smoke Mizzell, who was nursing a knee contusion, and his solid play showed that the Leos now have some depth at the running back position.
“We were expecting it. We had yet to see it translate from practice to a game but that’s how he looked in practice. In practice, it was eye-popping to see how quick and fast he is. Good on our personnel department and good on him for a guy who hasn’t been in Canada for very long and been able to pick things. You see that if he gets any type of space, good things can happen,” Campbell noted on the Auburn University product.
* The Lions now will enjoy a bye week before returning to action at BC Place on Saturday, July 22nd when the Saskatchewan Roughriders come to town.
* B.C.’s pass rush continues to terrorize opposing quarterbacks as Als pivot Cody Fajardo was sacked seven times. Lions defensive end Mathieu Betts continued his rampage by picking up two more sacks to increase his league-leading total to nine. Betts wound leaving the game late in the fourth quarter with a cramping issue but should be good to go for Saskatchewan.
* The same can’t be said for Edwards-Cooper, who suffered a rib injury and will be re-evaluated when the team returns from the bye. Lions linebacker Quincy Mauger avoided a serious injury when he collided with the TSN camera cart on a play near the sidelines. Mauger banged his head on the side of the cart but was no worse for wear. Mauger, by the way, is playing with a broken right thumb which requires him to play with his hand taped up like a club.
* Pro Football Focus announced its CFL Honor Roll for June with Sean Whyte of the Lions getting the nod as the league’s highest-graded kicker. Including the Montreal game, Whyte is now 12 for 13 on field goal attempts with his longest being a 51-yarder. Of his 12 field goals, seven have been from 40-yards or more.
Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media. And check out his weekly podcast every Monday at Today in B.C. or your local Black Press Media website.