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WINNIPEG — The BC Lions stunned a large crowd at Canad Inns Stadium on Friday night, on a last-second drive to set up a 41-yard Paul McCallum field goal, giving the Lions a come-from-behind 20-17 win.
|Related: Lions vs. Bombers
The Bombers came out firing on the opening drive, as Joey Elliott quickly hit Kito Poblah along the left sideilne for a first down on the game’s first play. The Lions defence quickly tightened up after that, but a booming punt by Mike Renaud inside the five set up an early battle for field position between the two teams.
With less than four minutes left in the quarter, Lulay had the Lions moving and into position to score. But as the Lions took a shot for the end zone with a one-on-one chance, Johnny Sears made an athletic jumping play on the ball and came down with the interception, much to the delight of the Canad Inns Stadium crowd.
Elliott look to take advantage quick, finding breakout rookie receiver Chris Matthews with a 29-yard hook-up on the very first play after the turnover. But the Bombers couldn’t sustain the drive, which brought Renaud out to punt once again.
The chess match continued into the second quarter, and with the Lions bringing fierce pressure, the Bombers’ starting pivot made timely completions to Poblah and Clarence Denmark. After a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty for Dante Marsh moved the Blue and Gold into scoring range, this time it was the Bomber pivot going for the big play.
But just like Lulay earlier, Elliott would be picked off in the end zone as Byron Parker jumped in front of Denmark’s route in the seam to make the interception in the end zone.
They exchanged punts again until six minutes to go in the opening half, when Lulay heated up with completions to Arland Bruce and Geroy Simon to move the Lions into Bomber territory. The Lions would then convert on a third-and-one to extend the drive, but a Kenny Mainor sack and a BC time count violation forced the Lions to bring out the kicking unit for a 23-yard field goal from Paul McCallum.
The Bombers would go two-and-out on the ensuing drive, giving the Lions one last chance to get points before the half.
They’d take advantage, thanks to some undiciplined play by the Bombers. Twice the drive would be extended on 15-yard personal fouls, and Lulay would do the rest, completing his eighth straight pass to set the Lions up deep in the red zone. After an incompletion at the six, Lulay rolled out and hit Harris for the six-yard scoring play, giving the Lions a 10-0 lead heading into the half.
Head Coach Paul LaPolice would get a chance to make adjustments at the half, and they appeared to be working on the first drive of the third quarter, as Elliott came out and completed passes to Cory Watson to move the offence deeper into Lions territory than they had all game. But after a Watson penalty for unsportsmanlike and a long incompletion by Elliott, the Bombers would be forced to try a 38-yard field goal.
Justin Palardy put the kick wide left, and the Bombers would have to settle for a single point to break the shutout, making it 10-1.
But Elliott would get another chance to do more damage after the Bomber defence came out with a quick stop, and once again showed he was starting to find holes in the Lions ‘D’.
A long completion to Matthews would give the Bombers the ball close to the red zone, where Elliott and Matthews would continue to hook up to move to the one yard line.
It would come down to a gamble on third down from a yard out, and short-yardage quarterback Alex Brink was able to fight through the pile for the Bombers’ first touchdown of the game.
That ended the Lions’ streak of 15 straight quarters without allowing a touchdown against their defence, and put the Bombers down by just two points with time left in the third quarter.
The Bomber defence would continue to make a statement on the following drive, as Brandon Collier fought through the offensive line to bring down Lulay on a key second down play, giving the Bombers the ball back.
|4-Straight for the Leos|
From there though, the Lions defence responded as well, shutting down Elliott and the Bombers on consecutive drives and not allowing the opponent to advance past the 55-yard-line.
But in a defensive game, it was a big defensive play that would turn the tides. The Bombers had the Lions pinned deep in their own end, and on first down with Lulay under pressure, the young quarterback was picked off on a beautiful diving interception from Demond Washington.
On second and long, Elliott stepped into the pocket and took off with the ball, fighting for the first down to set the Bombers up at the 13. But on an ensuing second and six, Elliott tried to take off again, but 2012 second overall pick Jabar Westerman made a diving tackle from behind to catch the Bombers third-year pivot, forcing a 17-yard field goal from Palardy to give the Bombers their first lead of the night, 11-10.
The Bomber defence would keep the momentum rolling on the very next drive, as Marcellus Bowman made it two interceptions in two plays on Lulay, giving the Bombers the ball again in great field position and sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
But the Lions defence bailed Lulay out, forcing another field goal with Palardy striking from 31 yards out to make it 14-10 Winnipeg with just over three minutes remaining in the game.
Lulay and the Lions offence made it known they were greatful for their defence’s efforts on the very next drive. First, Lulay hooked up with Shawn Gore for a long completion on second and long, after the quarterback evaded pressure and fired over top of the defence to move the chains and get deep into Bomber territory.
After another completion, the Lions moved down to the two-yard-line, where Harris did the rest for his second rushing touchdown of the game, giving BC a 17-14 lead with not much time remaining.
Elliott wasn’t about to give up either though, as the Bomber pivot stood poised in the pocket and made a big completion on third-and-10 at their own 38 yard-line, hooking up with Matthews for a 17-yard gain to keep the game alive.
Then, Elliott struck again on a long pass to Denmark, who moved the ball into field goal range inside the 30-yard-line. But after he tried to run on second down, he was snuffed out by the Lion defence, leading Palardy out onto the field to attempt a third field goal of the game from 32 yards.
Palardy made the kick to tie the game, but on the following drive, the Lions moved fast on a pair of long completions to Ernest Jackson and Simon, setting the Lions up with one last attempt to win the game.
McCallum connected from 41 yards out, to give the Lions the 20-17 win, stunning the crowd at Canad Inns Stadium.