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BC Lions Week 15 Takeaways: Run-Stopping Rallies in 4th Quarter Comeback, 41-37 Win Over Ottawa, Never Leave Early

It was a game that was tied as the biggest 4th quarter comeback in BC Lions’ history as they overcame a 19-point deficit. Pass Rushing Numbers Against Dustin Crum. Vernon Adams Jr. had 142 4th-quarter passing yards, and Justin McIinnis broke 100 yards and 2 touchdowns.

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Justin McIinnis Was Awesome

McInnis led the team in receiving pulling in 8 catches on 12 targets for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns. If you had him in fantasy good job! 2 of my favorite non-touchdown plays from him included a 17-yard gain in which he broke a tackle arming a player to the ground on the way. He had a 20-yard catch near the sideline doing a good job holding on as he absorbed a hit from Brandon Dandridge.

Lucky Whitehead and Jevon Cottoy

Lucky Whitehead scoring the game-winning touchdown with his mom in attendance is perfect. He had 6 catches for 87 yards in addition to the touchdown.

It was also good to see Jevon Cottoy break over 50 yards as he had 3 catches for 56 yards catching all of his targets.

It was surprising to see Keon Hatcher (20 yards) and Alexander Hollins (21 yards) trail in receiving yards in this game but this demonstrates Vernon Adams Jr.’s ability to spread the ball around to different receivers.

Ottawa’s Pass Rush Was Effective

Last week Ottawa had 4 defensive linemen listed among the top 10 pass rushers by Pro Football Focus. The RedBlacks pass rush was again effective against the Lions.

By my count, Lorenzo Mauldin hurried the quarterback 5 times and had a QB hit, Bryce Carter hurried the quarterback 5 times and had 2 sacks, Michale Wakefield had 4 hurries, Cleyon Laing had a hurry and a sack, and Kene Onyeka had 2 hurries as well.

Vernon Adams Jr. Often Negated The Pass Rush

BC gave up 3 sacks but it felt like it could have been more as Vernon Adams Jr. again displayed how slippery he can be in evading the pass rush. On one such play, he eluded 2 defenders in the backfield and took off down the middle for a 20-yard gain in the third quarter. On 2 of his 3 interceptions VA was hurried. In the 2nd interception, he did a good job escaping pressure but then threw back over the middle resulting in an interception being returned 50 yards for a RedBlack touchdown.

VA’s first throw was dropped in nicely to Keon Hatcher for 20 yards down the sideline. He threw a 19-yard touchdown to the back left corner with 2 players hurrying him in the 2nd quarter.

Vernon Adams had a lot of stats, some good, some bad. He completed 26 of his 37 passes (70.2%) for 325 yards with 3 touchdowns with 142 yards coming in the 4th quarter. He also threw 3 interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Adams had 5 rushes for 45 yards.

Lions’ Run Stopping in the 4th Quarter Was Excellent

The run-stopping was a big part of the Lions’ ability to make a comeback against Ottawa. Devonta Williams rushed 7 times in the 4th quarter. The first rush saw T.J. Lee make a tackle for a loss of 5 yards. Ottawa had a drive end in the 4th quarter after Willaims rushed for 4 yards and again for 3 yards the next play with stops coming from Jalon Edwards-Cooper and Matthieu Betts.

Later Williams rushed 8 yards on a 2nd and long to set up a 50-yard field goal miss (which was returned by Terry Williams).

Ottawa’s next drive saw Williams get stopped on a 1-yard loss by Rhett Varga before Williams rushed 8 yards on the next play before Ottawa punted the ball away. Williams’ final rush was a 4-yard loss thanks to a Sione Teuhema tackle followed by an incompletion resulting in Ottawa punting the ball when the game was tied with 1 minute left.

Williams rushed 7 times in the 4th quarter for a total of 13 yards. Only 2 of those rushes were more than 4 yards and both those led to a third down the following play. There were 3 rush attempts that resulted in tackles for a loss.

A pretty Good Day Against the Run

Dustin Crum scored 3 touchdowns with his legs and picked up 46 yards on 9 rushes. A lot of these were pass plays in which the quarterback decided to run. While BC did not do a great job containing Dustin Crum from picking up rushing gains on scrambles, they did a good job limiting Ottawa’s running back.

Against designed run plays Devonte Williams had 18 carries for 66 yards (3.7 yards per carry). Devonte Williams was coming off of a game in which he had a career-best of 146 yards against Hamilton with 7 runs over 10 yards and 12 missed tackles forced last week. Prior to last week, Williams had rushed 97 times for 556 yards averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Considering the fact that BC held him to 2 yards below his average coming into that game I would consider week 15 to be a positive for the BC Lions’ run defense.

Sione Teuhema had 3 run stops (tackle against the run that constitutes failure for the offense) and helped with another run stop. Ben Hladik had 2 run stops as well as Ryder Varga who also had a run stop assist. A lot of Lions’ contributed to this with the following players having 1 run stop including T.J. Lee, Woody Baron, Mathieu Betts, Jalon Edwards-Cooper, Nick Usher, and Tibo Debaillie.

Pretty Solid Day for the Secondary

Dustin Crum played well completing a lot of short passes quickly but was held to 7.8 yards per attempt and had no touchdowns through the air and 1 interception.

Garry Peters had another pretty clean day not allowing any deep passes his way. He provided good coverage on a deep ball to Shaq Evans in the first quarter that was incomplete. T.J. Lee also provided good coverage on a deep incompletion in the 4th quarter. Quincy Mauger did a good job covering the field and filling gaps.

Jalon Edwards-Cooper had a couple of key plays he provided tight coverage on resulting in incompletions as well. Marcus Sayles did not allow any big plays his way either but left the game in the 4th quarter with a hip injury after laying a heavy hit on Justin Hardy preventing a touchdown.

BC’s Pass Rush Performance

It was a quieter day in the Pass Rushing Regard compared to the heat BC has brought so often this season although they did still generate 3 sacks. By my count, these are the pressure numbers generated by the Lions. Hurrying the quarterback was less frequent than what we have seen in the past from the Lions but this was in part due to how quickly Dustin Crum was getting rid of the football on passing plays.

BC Needs to Commit to Establishing the Run

Mizzell was rushing for 5.3 yards per carry averaging 69 yards per game over his first 6 games. In the last 5 games, he has rushed 47 times for 187 yards (4 yards per carry). In the win over Ottawa Mizzell rushed 5 times for just 13 yards despite his longest being a 14-yard gain. I don’t fault a player’s performance too much when he’s not getting touches but BC needs to get this figured out.

The top teams in both the East and West, Winnipeg and Toronto, both share the same tendency of establishing the run and committing to the run.

Special Teams Notes

It felt like Terry Williams was due for a touchdown. He was named to the PFF Team of the Week in weeks 9 and 10 and likely will be again this week following his 120-yard missed field goal return. He averaged 20.2 yards on kick returns and 12.6 on punt returns against Ottawa.

Adrian Greene also had a great day in special teams as he made a very good tackle on a kickoff and had a massive punt block that ended up seeing BC get the ball at Ottawa’s 39 after they punted from their 31 in part due to a no-yard call.

Stefan Flintoft’s 55.3 average on his 3 punts was very impressive.

Let This Be a Lesson to Never Leave Early

The Lions tied their largest 4th quarter comeback winning 41-37 after trailing by 19 points. Some fans gave up on the team and left early and missed out on watching their team make a historic comeback. You paid for 100% of the game you may as well stay for 100% of the game.

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Jonathan Clink Reporter
Jonathan Clink joined CFL News Hub in early April of 2023. His primary responsibilities are covering the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes. He self awarded himself the CFL Rookie Journalist of the Year in 2023 following the 2023 CFL season. He also proclaims himself to be a "really cool guy". He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived a large portion of his childhood in Northwest Ontario. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and misses being being able to have 4 months of skating every winter. Clink has written over 240 articles for CFL News Hub. He was the publication's boots on the ground at the 2023 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Clink has always had an obsession for sport and has a background in other sports as well having played hockey all his life and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse in high school. As a young child he used to log his hockey statistics after every game which is either an indication that he was destined for the role or perhaps and indication that he is rather strange.
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