B.C. Lions Gameday: Can the Leos duplicate a once-in-a-decade feat?

The B.C. Lions have not had back-to-back seasons with dwelling playoff video games since 2012, however can match that feat with a win over Saskatchewan on Friday.

Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-8) at B.C. Lions (10-4)

Friday, 7:30 p.m. PT

TV: TSN. Radio: AM730

This rubber match doesn’t get the hype of the subsequent one, however that doesn’t imply it’s any much less necessary.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders go to B.C. Place for the second time this season, with each groups having overwhelmed the opposite on dwelling discipline. Friday’s recreation will determine the season sequence, similar to seven days later, when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers come to Vancouver for his or her third and deciding recreation.

Each the Riders (6-8) and Lions (10-4) are motivated, albeit for various causes, with a lot to play for on the Dome.

Right here’s 5 issues to look at …


B.C. checked the primary field of their preseason objectives final week by clinching a playoff berth. Subsequent up, a house playoff recreation. A win over Saskatchewan would do it, and could be the primary time for the reason that 2011 and 2012 seasons the Lions have hosted playoff video games in consecutive years.

The Riders have confirmed a tricky nut to crack for the Leos this season, even within the 19-9 loss at B.C. Place in July, and beating them at Mosaic Stadium.

After defeating the Bombers 32-30 in additional time in one other Banjo Bowl basic on Labour Day, the Riders have misplaced three straight. They’re nonetheless two video games up on the fourth-place Stamps, and a Riders win coupled with a Hamilton victory in opposition to Calgary would remove the Elks from the post-season.

“Everybody ought to perceive that the sky shouldn’t be falling contained in the stadium,” Riders GM Jeremy O’Day informed media on Wednesday. “I do know there’s quite a lot of discuss as a result of we’ve misplaced three video games (in a row). You’re in a rut and also you wish to pull out of it. The fellows will not be pondering, ‘Oh boy, the season’s going astray.’ They’re simply targeted in on the subsequent week and making an attempt to win a soccer recreation.

“It modifications actual fast if you win video games.”


The factor about Ferraris is, they value rather a lot to maintain in prime situation. Simply ask the Lions.

Head coach Rick Campbell likened the return of Dominque Rhymes to the lineup to “pulling a Ferrari out of the storage” after some prolonged upkeep.

It’s been six video games and 7 weeks for the reason that Leos’ wideout has been within the lineup, and even then, the foot challenge he was coping with made him a fraction of his ordinary self.

His eight-catch, 109-yard, two-touchdown efficiency within the season opener in opposition to Calgary was speculated to be a preview of the season, however Rhymes damage his foot the subsequent recreation out in opposition to Edmonton, and started a gradual descent in effectiveness as he jumped out and in of the lineup. A one-catch, two-yard efficiency in opposition to the Riders satisfied Campbell to place Rhymes within the storage till he was healed.

“I really feel good. I really feel like I’m speculated to really feel. I really feel dominant,” mentioned Rhymes, who is just one landing behind staff chief Alex Hollins (6) regardless of lacking a lot of the season.

“I undoubtedly (wanted the break). I couldn’t be the participant everyone was used to seeing. I used to be simply damage. My physique was hurting. It’s been enjoyable seeing my brothers flourish … however was robust. The primary few weeks on the six-game, I used to be nonetheless cheering my brothers on, however simply mentally as a competitor … it sucked. But it surely’s simply a part of the method. Typically accidents occur. I simply needed to rehab and ensure I’m prepared for this second.”


Shoot for the celebrities, hit the moon. And infrequently, dissipate on re-entry.

Vernon Adams Jr.’s critics — and he’s chief amongst them — ruminate over his league-leading 16 interceptions. However let’s take a look at how he’s gotten there.

No different quarterback throws the deep mid-range extra, or higher, than Adams this season. He has accomplished 43-of-94 makes an attempt over 20 yards for 1,213 yards and a CFL-best 16 touchdowns. His complete cross depth of 4,712 yards is most within the league.

He’s greatest when he’s pushing the difficulty, however not making an attempt to guard a lead nor make up an enormous factors deficit. He admits he can get inside his personal head generally.

Towards the Elks, he was intercepted twice, one a 56-yard pick-six he compelled after a fumbled snap. The second was an accurate learn — hitting Justin McInnis on an out — however he put the ball too far behind his receiver, permitting Darrius Bratton to wrestle it away.

And on the finish of the primary half on the Elks five-yard line, he elected for deeper throws that went incomplete as an alternative of hitting the beneath receivers for what would have been touchdowns.

“It’s my accuracy. I believe I’m going to the best guys, and simply leaving it behind them,” mentioned Adams, who has thrown 5 picks within the final two video games after having three within the earlier 5 video games.

“I talked to the quarterbacks and Jordan (Maksymic, offensive coordinator) earlier this week. I informed them I’m all ears for no matter I can do to get higher, whether or not it’s my shoulder opening up an excessive amount of, me over-striding … I don’t know. I’ve been engaged on it right here at follow this week.

“I simply threw three interceptions final recreation and I threw two this recreation, and it form of received to me a bit. … I simply wish to win. I don’t wish to throw interceptions, I don’t wish to flip the ball over and damage our staff that means, however I don’t wish to play protected both.”

The birds-eye view reveals he’s doing simply tremendous. Adams has a CFL-high eight 300-yard video games and is simply 37 yards behind Calgary’s Jake Maier for the league lead in passing yards (in two fewer video games). Of the opposite 5 quarterbacks who’ve cracked 3,000 passing yards this yr, his completion share (68.4) is among the many greatest.

“He wants to remain aggressive and maintain enjoying,” mentioned Campbell. “Clearly, we don’t wish to throw interceptions — and he doesn’t — however on the identical time, I don’t need him to play good. I don’t assume gamers play nicely in the event that they’re making an attempt to be good with every thing. We wish to make good selections and make them quick.

“We talked about being largely proper and quick versus second guessing (ourselves). We’ll do our greatest to maintain the ball — that’s clearly crucial — but additionally we have to make one another proper when one thing goes improper.”

Mario Alford, Roughriders returner
Saskatchewan punt returner Mario Alford runs the ball in opposition to the Lions in Regina on Aug. 20.Picture by Heywood YU/CP /PNG


However each recreation he has scored in, the Riders have misplaced, together with final week’s league-long 107-yard scoring scoot in opposition to Ottawa in a 36-28 defeat.

Do these scores really feel wasted?

“No. Not ever,” he informed the media after final week’s recreation.

“You by no means wish to quit it doesn’t matter what the rating is, it doesn’t matter what the circumstance is, you by no means wish to quit. You by no means let the coaches nor anybody else see you quit.

“We simply received to maintain battling. Preserve champing on the bit,” he added of his staff’s three-game slide.

“When instances get robust like this, we received to dig deep and determine what unity is. … We’re not going to stop. We’re simply going to maintain combating and see the place we go.”


B.C. trailed by 18 factors heading into the fourth quarter of their final assembly with the Riders, a 34-29 loss, however got here inside a fingertip of pulling off a outstanding comeback. 

Trailing by 5 with two minutes left on the Riders’ 23, Adams had his cross go off the outstretched hand of Keon Hatcher in the long run zone. They ended up having to accept a discipline purpose, and by no means received the prospect to make one other drive. 

It’s been a pattern for the Riders all yr. Of their present three-game skid, they’ve allowed a median of 41 ppg, however have led in every recreation. The difficulty is that they have been outscored within the second half of their final seven video games. 

B.C., in the meantime, leads the league in fourth-quarter scoring with 122 factors, going plus-54 within the ultimate body, and have a 6-1 report in video games determined within the ultimate three minutes.