Lions cruise to victory over Redblacks in battle of the CFL’s worst teams

It was a matchup between two basement-dwelling teams that generated little hype and lived up to the billing as the struggling B.C. Lions cruised to victory over an Ottawa team that seems to have lost all faith in itself.

The Lions took control of the game from the very start, taking care to establish Brandon Rutley on their first drive before Mike Reilly found Lemar Durant across the middle, who bounced off DeAndre Farris and sprinted the remaining 43 yards to the end zone.

The teams traded two-and-outs before B.C. made another splash play, this time on defence. T.J. Lee broke on a swing pass from Jonathon Jennings, accepting the ball as if he was the intended receiver and racing to the end zone. However, the pick-six was negated by a Shawn Lemon offside penalty, keeping the ball in Ottawa hands.

It wouldn’t matter though, as three plays later safety Brandon Dozier intercepted a Jennings pass of his own. The Lions got the ball in prime field position and Reilly would get just enough on a 28-yard end zone throw with pressure in his face for Duron Carter to get underneath it for his first touchdown as a Lion.

The Lions kept the momentum for the rest of the first half but failed to capitalize. B.C. twice turned over the ball in Ottawa territory, first with DeAndre Farris avenging his early missed tackle by picking off Reilly and later when De’Andre Montgomery forced a Rutley fumble.

For their part, the Redblacks failed to gain any real momentum. Their lone chunk play was a fake punt to Anthony Gosselin, which was called back due to the fullback being ineligible to receive the pass.

Action picked up again with under two minutes remaining in the half, when an Isaiah Guzylak-Messam sack forced Ottawa to punt the ball. Mike Reilly put the Lions’ offence on his shoulders, taking off for 27 yards on second down and freezing De’Andre Montgomery with a jump cut that would make your grandmother blush. He manipulated the pocket to find Jevon Cottoy and Bryan Burnham for key first downs, then shook Montgomery again off a free blitz to take the ball in himself and give the Leos a 21-0 halftime lead.

The Redblacks generated a little traction to start the second half, turning a 28-yard punt return by Stefan Logan into a short drive and a 32-yard Lewis Ward field goal. Gump Hayes intercepted an underthrown Reilly go-route on the next drive but an intentional grounding penalty by Jennings silenced any hope of more points.

Reilly and the Lions responded to their third turnover with a vengeance, putting a 10-play, 88-yard drive on the board to end the third quarter. Reilly found Cottoy twice for big gains of 30 and 25 yards, then Carter drew a pass interference penalty from Chris Randle in the end zone to set up Reilly for the one-yard touchdown plunge.

Ottawa finally looked to wake up mid-way through quarter number four, rattling off a 13-play, 95-yard drive that included several downfield passing plays, a rarity throughout the evening. The newfound offence was short-lived, however, as everything came apart at the seams on the B.C. five-yard line. Odell Willis smothered a Mossis Madu run on first down, Gary Peters knocked down a second down end zone shot and Jonathan Newsome finished off the team that cut him earlier this year with a sack on third down.

The rest of the game was mostly academic. B.C. added a single, Ottawa’s final chance at offensive points was finished by a Gary Peters interception and the Lions conceded a safety as they ran out the clock to clinch the 29-5 victory.

Reilly finished 20-of-29 passing for 286 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while adding two more scores on the ground. Rutley churned out yardage in the victory with 20 carries for 111 yards and the Lions generated the pass rush they’ve been missing with a four-sack performance.

In his return to B.C., Jennings was 19-of-31 for 239 yards and two interceptions, putting up plenty of garbage time yards in a performance he’ll likely want to forget.

The two teams will meet again next week in Ottawa, with 2-10 B.C. looking to match Ottawa’s 3-9 record with a third victory.

Must Read