The second week of the CFL season kicked off last night when the B.C. Lions headed to McMahon Stadium to take on the Calgary Stampeders. The story all week leading up to the game was that Canadian QB Nathan Rourke would likely get the start under centre, but when the pre-game warm-up got underway, the news broke that Michael Reilly would in fact be starting the football game. This marks the second consecutive week that the Lions didn’t start the quarterback that they were expected to start.
The first drive of the game saw the Lions go two and out and punt the ball right back to the Stampeders. Nothing would come of the ensuing Stamps drive, and the Lions would get the ball back. Reilly looked pretty good on this drive, leading the Lions right down the field and getting well into Takeru Yamasaki’s range. From 22-yards out, Yamasaki blasted it wide only scoring a rouge. The miss gave the Lions the lead, but it was only 1-0.
Again, the Lions’ defence hunkered down and stopped the Stampeders from doing much of anything and got the ball back after stuffing Michael O’Connor on a QB sneak from the B.C. 17-yard line. After a good chunk play on a run from Chris Rainey, Reilly cooked up one of the prettiest deep balls we are going to see all season.
Reilly came into this game not expected to start with the elbow injury he has been dealing with since training camp. He threw that ball roughly 60-yards in the air. Whatever the problem was for him in Saskatchewan, it clearly wasn’t bothering him that much in Calgary.
The drive would result in another short field goal for Yamasaki, this time from 20-yards out. With Lions fans hoping for the best and expecting the worst, he hit to give the Lions a 4-0 lead.
Second Quarter (BC: 4 @ CGY: 0)
The Stampeders looked to have found some life early in the second quarter. It started with a good return from Malik Henry and continued with a massive 30-yard gain from Kamar Jorden on the first play of the drive. After another seven yards from Hergy Mayala, the Stampeders were forced to try a field goal. Rene Parades split the pipe from 48-yards out to bring the Stamps within one.
B.C. went to work on their next drive tearing off strip after strip of yardage. Big plays from Lucky Whitehead and James Butler got the Lions right down to the doorstep of the goal line where Reilly was called on for the QB sneak, plunging his way into the endzone for the first touchdown of the game. The two-point conversion needed a review, but it was determined that Butler broke the plane of the goal line.
The rest of the quarter saw a lot of great defensive football with both teams struggling to move the ball. The Stampeders had it the worst though, and they started to compound their issues with turnovers. Late in the half, Bo Levi Mitchell threw his first interception of the game to Marcus Sayles.
It looked like B.C. might have a chance to drive down the field and get into field goal range for Yamasaki, but any chance of that was shattered when Butler took a major penalty for head-butting a Stampeders defender. The Lions kneeled out the clock and ended the half.
Third Quarter (BC: 12 @ CGY: 3)
The second half kicked off with Henry fumbling the ball of the kick return. Fortunately for the Stampeders, Darnell Sankey was there to fall on the ball and keep possession. After Calgary went two and out, the Lions started driving themselves. On third down and two yards to go from the Calgary 20-yard line, the Lions showed a lack of faith in Yamasaki and decided to go for it. They would come up short, turning the ball over.
Again, the Stampeders’ drive was short and resulted in a punt, but the Stamps would get a massive break on the very first play of the Lions’ drive. Lemar Durant looked like he was going to have a sizable gain, but fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Royce Metchie and the Stampeders.
If you thought the good fortune would last for the Stampeders, you would have been dead wrong. Only two plays later, Mitchell would throw his second interception of the game, this time to Bo Lokombo.
The Lions were forced to punt after the interception. In the last drive of the quarter, the Stampeders looked alright, getting all the way to the B.C. 41. The quarter would expire before they could kick the field goal.
Fourth Quarter (BC: 12 @ CGY: 3)
The fourth quarter started with the score 12-3, but on the very first play, a 48-yard field goal from Parades would make it 12-6 in short order. The Lions would respond right back. The drive was aided by a pass interference call and another big run from Rainey. The points came from a 29-yard field goal from Yamasaki who was good on this one once again.
With the Lions now up by nine, the Stamps went to work with a long drive of their own. Down all the way to the B.C. 24-yard line, Mitchell saw Mayala in the endzone and made an ill-advised throw on the run that was intercepted by KiAnte Hardin.
Yet another drive was killed by a mistake from Mitchell. It’s not something that we have ever seen before with him. Something is off, but it’s not all physical. He’s making throws that he knows he shouldn’t make.
Fortunately for Calgary, they would get the ball back with enough time to make things happen and win the game. At the three-minute warning, they ran Parades out there for a 20-yard field goal to bring the game within six. There was still a chance for a quick stop and score.
They got the stop, but Yamasaki had a chance to expand the lead back to nine for the Lions. He missed the kick, but Henry had the ultimate brain fart for the Stamps bringing the ball out to the one-yard line instead of giving up the single point. The Stampeders would now need to go 109 yards to score with about a minute and a half to go. Immediately to start the drive, Mitchell threw his fourth interception of the game.
It was the first time Mitchell has ever thrown four-interceptions in one game, it was also looking like he would start a season 0-2 for the first time. His defence had other ideas, however. They got another stop with 25 seconds left in the game and gave the offence a chance. The offence was driving late, but after a penalty, they would need a touchdown on the last play of the game from the B.C. 51-yard line.
Mitchell threw the ball right to the goal line and gave Jorden a chance to win the game, but Sayles knocked the ball to the ground and won the Lions the game. B.C. hands Calgary their second loss of the season.
The final score: B.C. Lions: 15 @ Calgary Stampeders: 9
Passing Yards: Michael Reilly (BC): 342
Rushing Yards: Ka’Deem Carey (CGY): 48
Receiving Yards: Bryan Burnham (BC): 121
Touchdowns: Michael Reilly (BC): 1
Tackles: Darnell Sankey (CGY): 8
Sacks: Bo Lokombo (BC), Obum Gwachum (BC), Tim Bonner (BC), Derek Wiggan (CGY), Mike Rose (CGY): 1
Interceptions: Bo Lokombo (BC), Marcus Sayles (BC), KiAnte Hardin (BC), Jalon Edwards-Cooper (BC): 1
13th Man Sports Player of the Game
POTG: Michael Reilly
26/33 passing, 342 yards, 1 rushing touchdown