Partly by design, Lions don't show much in 28-7 loss to Stampeders

 

 
 
 
 
B.C. Lions’ quarterback Travis Lulay prepares to throw a pass during first half CFL football action against the Calgary Stampeders, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
 
 

B.C. Lions’ quarterback Travis Lulay prepares to throw a pass during first half CFL football action against the Calgary Stampeders, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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The Calgary Stampeders second-team offensive unit might be better than the first squad on half the teams in the Canadian Football League.

With backup Drew Tate and third-stringer Bryant Moniz playing in place of Bo Levi Mitchell, the Stampeders easily defeated the B.C. Lions 28-7 Saturday night to close out the regular season for both teams before 22,900 fans at B.C. Place Stadium.

In a game that had the earmarks of a preseason contest, with numerous starters idled and practice roster players activated for the first time, Tate tossed two touchdown passes while Moniz ran for another score and threw for a third Calgary touchdown as the Stamps finished the season at 14-4.

The Lions, who dropped to 7-11, meet the Stampeders Nov. 15 at McMahon Stadium in the West Division semi-final and didn’t show much Saturday, to their fans or the Stampeders. Partly, that was by design. There was some method in their malaise, one would hope.

“I told George (Lions offensive coordinator George Cortez), ‘You play one scheme, and I’ll play one scheme and we’ll call it square,’” said Calgary defensive coordinator Rich Stubler. “We used three schemes (only three from the entire playbook). Same with them. They showed us about six (offensive) looks. It wasn’t a preseason game, but it’s tough to play a game like that. Nobody wanted to show too much.”

That was especially true of the Lions, who finished the season 4-5 at home, the same as last year, and go into the playoffs with almost no momentum. Rookie sensation Jon Jennings dressed for the game but didn’t get on the field as the Lions went with veteran quarterback Travis Lulay for the first 45 minutes before rookie QB Greg McGhee took over in the fourth quarter. It was the first offensive series run by McGhee in his CFL career.

“It was nice to take a week off. It was a good de-stresser as well,” said Jennings, who had started the Lions’ previous six games. Since becoming a starter on Sept. 26, Jennings ranks No. 3 in passing yards, No. 1 in touchdown passes (15) and has the highest efficiency rating of any CFL quarterback over that six-game period.

“There’s a lot to learn from every game, even when you’re on the sidelines watching,” Jennings added.

Along with Jennings, the Lions rested a host of stalwarts, among them CFL tackles leader Adam Bighill, Ryan Phillips, Mic’hael Brooks, Chris Rainey, Khreem Smith, Jabar Westerman, Lavelle Hawkins, Bryan Burnham, Alex Hoffman-Ellis, Richie Leone and reception yards leader Manny Arceneaux.

Feature back Andrew Harris played only the first quarter, in an attempt to reach 1,000 yards rushing for the season. Going into the game with 997 yards, Harris achieved his goal on his first carry. He had eight attempts altogether, for 42 yards, before he was replaced by rookie Shaquille Murray-Lawrence.

Sitting at 1,039 yards, Harris must await the result of Sunday’s Montreal-Saskatchewan game to find out if he will win his first league rushing title. The Alouettes’ Tyrell Sutton, the only back with a reasonable chance of passing him, is 119 yards behind.

“I knew I was only going to play one quarter, so I tried to run as hard as possible,” Harris said. “It’s a good simulation of how the playoffs are going to be.”

Well, not really.

The Lions’ seven points all came from the foot of rookie kicker Anthony Fera, making his first start as the replacement for Richie Leone, another first-year kicker who has struggled to find his groove. Fera was successful on field goals of 44 and 49 yards. He missed two other attempts, but not by much. Surprisingly, he averaged 49.5 yards on six punts, in what is supposed to be the weaker part of his kicking skills. Leone, whose punting is his strong suit, leads the CFL with the same average -- 49.5.

“We’ll evaluate them (Fera and Leone) through the practice week,” said head coach Jeff Tedford. “The ones that he (Fera) missed, he hit well. He just missed ‘em. But he was pretty solid. And he punted pretty well. There’s something to work with there. We’ll have some competition next week at the position.”

Lulay, making his first appearance since Sept. 3, when he suffered a knee injury against Montreal, completed 14 of 20 passes for 181 yards. Fifty of those yards came on a first-half pass to wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn, playing in his first CFL game.

“I felt pretty good about being able to step into some throws,” Lulay said. “I threw some balls downfield. I put some balls into some tight windows. I hit all those check marks that I’m hoping to accomplish. Took a few hits and held up fine. I think my confidence, as far as my physical health, is as good as it’s been in a long time.”

Unsigned for next season, Lulay lingered on the field after the game and posed for pictures with his daughter Parker, whom he cradled in his arms. It was suggested he was savouring perhaps his last appearance as a Lion at BC Place. But Lulay insisted he was not in a reflective mood.

“It is clearly the end of the regular season. Now we’re playing in a six-team tournament for the Grey Cup,” he said. “That’s it. It is a long journey to get to this point. You want to make some memories along the way. I wanted some pictures, with the kids, on the field. I was trying to make that happen. That’s all it was.”

mbeamish@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/sixbeamers

 
 
 
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B.C. Lions’ quarterback Travis Lulay prepares to throw a pass during first half CFL football action against the Calgary Stampeders, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
 

B.C. Lions’ quarterback Travis Lulay prepares to throw a pass during first half CFL football action against the Calgary Stampeders, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
B.C. Lions’ quarterback Travis Lulay prepares to throw a pass during first half CFL football action against the Calgary Stampeders, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
BC Lions’ Austiin Collie (17) held by  Calgary Stampeders’ Glenn Love (36)during first half CFL action at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC., November 7, 2015.
BC Lions’ Jason Arakgi (45) tried to syop the pass from Calgary Stampeders’ Drew Tate (4) during first half CFL action at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC., November 7, 2015.
BC Lions’ QB Travis Lulay (14) in action against the  Calgary Stampeders during first half CFL action at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC., November 7, 2015.
B.C. Lions’ Cord Parks, right, and Darious Lane crash into each other as Calgary Stampeders’ Lemar Durant (1)makes a catch during first half CFL football action, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
B.C. Lions’ Geraldo Boldewijn, left, gets tackled by Calgary Stampeders’ Brandon McDonald during second half CFL football action, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
Calgary Stampeders’ Ciante Evans, right, tackles B.C. Lions’ Shaquille Murray-Lawrence during first half CFL football action, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
Calgary Stampeders’ quarterback Drew Tate prepares to pass during the first half CFL football action against the B.C. Lions, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
B.C. Lions’ Terence Jeffers-Harris, left, gets tackled by Calgary Stampeders’ Jamar Wall and Deron Mayo (42) during first half CFL football action, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
BC Lions’ Ter Jeffers Harris (13) tackles  Calgary Stampeders’ Ciante Evans (0) during first half CFL action at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC., November 7, 2015.
BC Lions’ Tim Flanders (39) breaks pats the  Calgary Stampeders’ defence during first half CFL action at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC., November 7, 2015.
Calgary Stampeders’ Anthony Parker, left, celebrates his touchdown with teammate Greg Wilson during second half CFL football action against the B.C. Lions, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
B.C. Lions’ Bo Lokombo tackles Calgary Stampeders’ Greg Wilson during second half CFL football action, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
BC Lions’ Tim Flanders (39) tackled by Calgary Stampeders’ Adan Thibault (41) during first half CFL action at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC., November 7, 2015.
Calgary Stampeders’ kicker Rene Paredes kicks a field goal during second half CFL football action against the B.C. Lions, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
B.C. Lions’ Marco Iannuzzi, right, tackles Calgary Stampeders’ Adam Thibault as Lions’ Keynan Parker, left, looks on during first half CFL football action, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
B.C. Lions’ Geraldo Boldewijn, left, gets tackled by Calgary Stampeders’ Brandon McDonald during second half CFL football action, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
B.C. Lions’ quarterback Travis Lulay prepares to make a pass during second half CFL football action against the Calgary Stampeders, in Vancouver, on Saturday, Nov., 7, 2015.
BC Lions’ QB Travis Lulay (14) makes a run against the  Calgary Stampeders during first half CFL action at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC., November 7, 2015.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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