The BC Lions had a dominant win on the road in Winnipeg. Coming off a shutout win against Edmonton the Lions won a game outscoring their opponents by 26 for the 2nd week in a row.
The BC Lions Are the Best Defense in the CFL
Reflecting on BC’s win over Edmonton last week I stated the BC Lions’ defense was elite. Today I now believe them to be the best defense in the league which was an honor I would have previously have bestowed to Winnipeg prior to this game.
Similar to the game against Edmonton the BC Lions’ pass rush was unstoppable against Winnipeg and was constantly getting to Zach Collaros who was sacked 7 times. Collaros was pressured early and often against Winnipeg which was a big reason he was held to under 200 yards. To clearly win the battle at the line defensively is impressive against Winnipeg as they have one of the offensive lines that’s regarded as one of the best in the CFL. In weeks 1 and 2 Winnipeg had 2 offensive line players named to Pro Football Focus’s Team of the Week.
The pass protection was also very sharp as receivers were often unable to get open in time before a dominant pass rush would pressure Collaros. Collaros is good at going through his progressions quickly.
This was an absolute statement game for every facet of defense for BC against an offense that was averaging 43 points across their first 2 games.
BC Has held Jake Maier, Taylor Cornelius, and Zach Collaros have been held to under 200 yards passing. And have only allowed 482 passing yards after 3 games, an average of 160 yards passing allowed per game.
In total yards, BC’s defense has allowed 877 yards in 3 games, an average of 292 yards per game.
Gary Peters Was Clutch
Gary Peters was listed on the game log as having 4 completions thrown to receivers in his direction on the 7 times a receiver he was covering. Peters had 6 defensive tackles, a special teams tackle and 2 passes knocked down which both were in the endzone.
The first knockdown was in the second quarter as he dove across breaking up what would have been a touchdown to Drew Wolitarsky. Collaros was sacked on the following play by Sione Teuhema and Winnipeg settled for a field goal.
Peter’s second knockdown came in the 4th quarter as he got his hands on the ball with perfect time breaking up a would-be touchdown to the 6’6 receiver, Carlton Agudosi.
Mathieu Betts Was Unstoppable
Defensive End Mathieu Betts was on fire against Winnipeg. There were many players on BC’s defensive line that were having a game to be remembered. Betts’ performance really stood out as he had 4 tackles, 3 sacks, and a knockdown. He was winning his 1 on 1 battles very frequently. It felt as if he was in Winnipeg’s backfield all game long.
Many plays were similar to his first sack of the game. The 2022 CFL All-Star, Stanley Bryant, was unable to contain Betts’ speed as rushed around the edge. In this particular play Winnipeg running back Brady Oliveira was in pass protection yet Betts was in the backfield so quickly that Oliveira did not even notice him. Betts was on Collaros in just under 2.5 seconds on this particular play.
His other 2 sacks he got into the backfield between left tackle Stanley Bryant and left guard Geoff Gray.
Lions’ Receiving Room Continued to Show Great Depth
The BC Lions were without Keon Hatcher and Dominique Rhymes who both had over 1,000 yards last year. Coming into this game Rhymes was third in the league with 172 receiving yards.
Alexander Hollins continued to take on a larger role in the receiving group as he was the most targetted receiver for BC as he caught 8 of his 10 targets for 83 yards and his first touchdown of the season.
Justin McInnis caught 4 of his 8 targets for 54 yards and a touchdown after being the most targetted receiver for BC last week.
Lucky Whitehead looked good coming back after missing last week to injury as he caught 5 of his 8 targets for 72 yards. He did have 1 drop that would have been a difficult catch but one you would like to see a receiver of his pedigree hold onto.
Every starting receiver had at least 1 completion as Ayden Eberhardt caught both of his passes for 17 yards and Jevon Cottoy caught his lone target for 11 yards.
Vernon Adams Jr. Played Very Well
It was not an eye-popping performance on the stats sheet as far as collecting a massive amount of passing yards but Veron Adams Jr. looked very good against Winnipeg. It was his first game this season without an interception so far as he made smart reads and threw very accurately against Winnipeg. He also took off for a 24-yard rush showing off his speed which is sometimes a rarity as he is a quarterback with a style of play very centered around passing despite having the ability to run. VA completed 20 of his 29 passes for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns.
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