The BC Lions Defense has been elite this season as they have now had 3 games without allowing an offensive touchdown. Thoughts following their 19-9 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Amazing Run Stopping Defense, Truly Elite Performance
The BC Lions allowed 16 total rushing yards on 14 rushing plays allowing only an average of 1.1 yards per carry by the Saskatchewan offense. Saskatchewan’s starter, Jamal, Morrow, had only 0.9 yards per carry as he was held to 11 yards on 12 carries. Frankie Hickson had 1 carry for 3 yards and the other rush was a QB sneak by Jake Dolegala for 2 yards.
I don’t remember another time a starting running back was held to under 1 yard per carry. Heading into this game the lowest yards per carry a starting runningback had in a game was recently with James Butler having a 1.8 average on 8 carries this past Friday against Toronto and Brady Oliveira also having a 1.8 on 9 carries average in week 6 in Winnipeg’s loss to Ottawa.
Coming into this game Jamal Morrow had a 5.2 yards per carry as he had 322 yards on 62 carries prior to the Lions’ most recent victory.
Jalon Edwards-Cooper, Emmanuel Rugamba, Sione Teuhema, and Woody Baron all had a tackle for a loss. The longest run of the game BC gave up just 6 yards.
Everyone on the Defensive line executed close to perfectly on all of Saskatchewan’s run plays.
In BC’s last game in week 5, they held Montreal’s Wiliam Stanback to 2.8 yards per carry as he rushed 6 times for 2.8 yards before Montreal largely gave up on the run against them.
Pass Defense Performed Well
Saskatchewan had Mason Fine starting at quarterback following the injury to Trevor Harris. Fine completed 41 of his 32 passes for 284 yards with 2 interceptions as Gary Peters and Jalon Edwards-Cooper both had an interception. Fine completed 78% of his passes but BC held him to only 6.9 yards per attempt and kept things largely in check. It was the third time this season that the BC Lions’ defense did not allow their opponent to score a touchdown.
Mason Fine did have a tough task coming in for his first start of the season playing against the Lions in a game in which Saskatchewan was unable to provide run support.
An Amazing Defensive Year
The BC Lions have been extremely impressive on defense this season. BC has the lowest points allowed as they have given up 94 points in 6 games (15.7 average).
BC allowed 45 points against Toronto which was the game in which Vernon Adams Jr. threw 6 interceptions. 4 touchdowns and 2 field goals came off of those interceptions with 2 of the touchdowns being set up with interceptions providing field position just outside the red zone and a touchdown being a pick-six.
In the 5 games played that were not the loss to Toronto, BC allowed 49 points in 5 games (9.8 average) which is a ridiculous performance.
BC held the first 3 quarterbacks they faced to under 200 yards in each game against Taylor Cornelius, Jake Maier, and Zach Collaros. The only time a quarterback threw more touchdowns than interceptions against BC was Chad Kelly as he threw 1 TD and no interceptions in week 4 for Toronto. It has happened more often that a quarterback playing them throws more interceptions than touchdowns now as Zach Collaros threw a pick with 0 TDs in week 3 against them and now recently Mason Fine threw 2 interceptions without a touchdown.
BC has also been good against the run as previously mentioned in this article. In the last 2 games combined BC gave up 28 yards in 18 carries to the starting runningbacks they faced for just 1.6 yards per carry. And that’s against talented runningbacks in Jamal Morrow and William Stanback.
BC has only given up 2 offensive touchdowns across their 5 wins so far this season. In the loss to Toronto, they allowed 3 offensive touchdowns.
Dane Evans Played Well Coming off the Bench
Dane Evans came into the game early following the injury to Vernon Adams Jr. Coming into the game part way through is never an easy task and Evans did his job very well. He completed 16 of his 25 passes for 229 yards with 1 touchdown pass to Alexander Hollins and 1 interception. He did have another play that was a near touchdown pass but was bobbled by Justin McInnis which gave J Clark the opportunity to break up the would-be touchdown. That drive later ended with a Sean Whyte field goal. Justin McInnis later made up for it on a 31-yard reception.
It sounds as though Vernon Adams Jr. did not sustain serious damage to his knee. It is very positive that Dane Evans for situations just like this. The CFL has 4 quarterbacks who started a game currently on 6-game injured lists so depth in such an important position is very important.
Thoughts on the Run Game
Shaun Shivers had trouble getting the run game going as he had 10 carries for 21 yards (2.1 average). Shivers is a smaller running back but has a lot of upside with his high speeds and agility. Shivers had a very good game in his debut in week 5 as he had 14 carries for 63 yards (4.5 average) and also added 73 receiving yards.
Taquan Mizzell has had a very good CFL rookie season as he has 246 yards on 46 carries (5.3 average). Mizzell missed the last 2 games to injury but when he returns BC could have a very good 1-2 punch. Both runningbacks seem to have different styles of play and have both looked very talented so far.
Sean Whyte has been very good for the BC Lions. It’s no surprise to see continued reliability from the Whyte who entered the league in 2007. The kicking game is so important and is often the difference between victory and defeat but it’s often not celebrated as much as is deserved.
Sean Whyte has now made 16 of his 17 field goal attempts. He has the 2nd highest field goal percentage among kickers with 5 or more field goal attempts. He has missed 1 of his extra points but he has also made 14 extra points. The only kicker to have 10 extra points made so far is David Cote who has made all 10 of his kicks.
Sean Whyte is expected to be excellent based on his resume but his performances still deserve recognition and celebration from the BC faithful.
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