Time runs out on B.C: Great regular season means nothing now after loss to Stamps
VANCOUVER, B.C. : NOVEMBER 18, 2012 -- The Calgary Stampeders celebrate, November18th,after winning the CFL Western final against the BC Lions at Vancouver's B.C. Place. (Ward Perrin/PNG) (For story by SPORTS/The Province SPORTS/Vancouver Sun) 00016304A 00016298A 00016322A
Photograph by: Ward Perrin, PNG
My, how time flies. It went from 5:01 to midnight in the relative blink of an eye for the B.C. Lions.
Dome-field advantage? A 14-1 home record over the last 14 months? What good was that? A dominating defence during the regular season? Send out a search party. And while they’re at it, put out an all-points bulletin for the top-ranked offence in the CFL, too.
None of it mattered once Kevin Glenn and the Calgary Stampeders mopped the floor with the Lions, posting a 34-29 win over the Lions in the West Division final before 43,216 fans at B.C. Place Stadium that knew the game wasn’t even remotely as close as the score indicated.
Whether you want to suggest they were schooled or out-coached, they had no idea what to do with the 33-year-old Calgary quarterback. B.C.’s gunslinger, Travis Lulay, had no answers, held out of the end zone until there was only 1:09 left.
The 5:01 rallying cry established at the start of training camp as a means to put last year’s Grey Cup win in the past by Mike Benevides, who was big on messaging throughout his first season as Lions coach, ended as if his team needed to readjust their watches.
Owner David Braley will have a team in the Grey Cup all right, but it will be the Toronto Argonauts, not the Lions. Toronto was the other road winner Sunday, beating the Montreal Alouettes 27-20 in the East Division final.
Reaction ranged from acceptance to disbelief after the pounding was over.
“We’re too good of a team to come out flat. That part is unacceptable,” said centre Angus Reid, fighting hard to choke away tears after what may have been the final game of a 12-year career.
“It’s one thing when the other team is better. I don’t believe anyone in this room thinks they are better. That’s why it’s hard to swallow. We weren’t overconfident. We take everything seriously. We stayed focused.”
If they weren’t focused, they got a pretty rude awakening two plays into the contest, when Glenn began a surgical undressing of the Lions secondary that had the masterful fingerprints of Stamps offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson all over the game plan.
The second-down play figured to result in a blitz by the Lions, and Glenn found Marquay McDaniel behind safety Cauchy Muamba with ridiculous ease. The 68-yard score was one of seven completions in excess of 20 yards by Calgary, six more than generated by Lulay.
“This is getting annoying,” said cornerback Dante Marsh, part of a veteran secondary that tried to cover up the shortcomings of the rookie safety all season.
The amazing part was, despite the constant barrage, the Lions only trailed 17-16 at intermission. And the Lions knew they probably should have been leading at the break, but only got an interception returned for a touchdown by Korey Banks and three of five field goals by Paul McCallum.
“We had two opportunities in the red zone; we kick two field goals,” said Lulay, who had no options most of the way other than to dump the ball to Andrew Harris. “And our first two drives in the second half weren’t good enough.”
Though there was the occasional flash of brilliance in the first half, the Lions showed an aversion once again to throwing footballs to Geroy Simon, a fact not missed by the veteran slotback afterwards.
“I could have helped. The first half we were moving the ball. The second half it was go-away-from-me,” said Simon, who only had one reception in the final two quarters.
But with the way Glenn routinely torched Banks everyone on the back end, it wasn’t going to matter. And no, rust was not a factor, not with Lulay nor any of his teammates.
“We didn’t play no damn football. Period. Point blank. End of story,” Marsh said.
The end, indeed.
And now the veteran players on the Lions, the oldest team in the league and built for only one result, have to wait to see the off-season personnel verdict to be rendered by Benevides and general manager Wally Buono, who clearly must make changes after being so brutally manhandled.
“We don’t know who is going to be here. It’s going to be a tough pill to swallow,” said receiver Paris Jackson, who has been marginalized for two seasons on offence yet still almost produced as much Sunday as non-imports Akeem Foster and Shawn Gore while on the sidelines.
And the feeling, said Reid, is only going to get worse.
“You’re in shock now. Maybe you watch the Grey Cup, maybe you don’t,” he said. “You’ll be reminded if you live here in the off-season that we had a team that coulda, shoulda, woulda. We had the horses. We had everything on our side. Everything. Calgary came in and played better.
“In football, there’s no seven-game series. It’s done. Before you know it, it’s what are you going to next week? You’re not going to Toronto.”
The clock struck midnight indeed.
Calgary 14 3 14 3 — 34
B.C. 7 9 0 13 — 29
Cal – TD McDaniel 68 pass from Glenn (Parades convert) 0:59 DRIVE: 2 plays 68 yards
BC – TD Banks 77 interception return (McCallum convert) 9:27
Cal – TD Price 29 pass from Glenn (Parades convert) 13:31 DRIVE: 7 plays 75 yards 3:58
BC – FG McCallum 35 5:02 DRIVE: 12 plays 48 yards 6:09 KEY PLAY: Bruce 19 pass
Cal – FG Parades 16 9:08 DRIVE: 8 plays 66 yards 4:06 KEY PLAY: Cornish 21 run
BC – FG McCallum 18 13:13 DRIVE: 9 plays 70 yards 3:58 KEY PLAY: Harris 19 pass
BC – FG McCallum 42 15:00 DRIVE: Moore 11 pass
Cal – TD Bryant 57 pass from Glenn (Parades convert) 6:01 3 plays 78 yards 1:58
Cal – TD Mitchell 1 run (Parades convert) 13:19 DRIVE: 9 plays 60 yards KEY PLAY: Price 42 pass from Mitchell on third down
BC – FG McCallum 33 1:19
BC – FG McCallum 45 7:32
Cal – FG Parades 20 11:46
BC – TD Moore 2 pass from Lulay (McCallum convert) 14:01
Attendance – 43,216
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