November 11, 2023

Lions lose second straight Western Final in Winnipeg

Jason Halstead/

WINNIPEG — The BC Lions came up short of the high standards they have for themselves.

BC’s season came to an end with a 24-13 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at IG Field in the Western Final for the second consecutive year as the team was unable to overcome a stellar defensive performance by the home team.

Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. was sacked nine times after the Bombers were able to win the battle at the line of scrimmage all night long. The Lions know that to go where they want to go, they have to find a way to beat Winnipeg.

“They have been the top dog in the West the last few years,” Adams Jr. told reporters after the game. “We have to take that step of beating these guys, especially when it matters.”

» Depth Charts: BC | WPG
» Defensive clinic leads Bombers to fourth straight GC Game
» Through The Lens: Lions at Blue Bombers Western Final images



Bombers and Lions dominated the West Division throughout the season, combining for 26 wins and only 10 losses while the other three clubs went a combined 16-38. Despite the regular season success by both teams, the Bombers have advanced to the Grey Cup for the past four consecutive seasons as the Lions continue to battle for their first appearance since 2011.

Adams Jr. believes they have the right culture in place to be able to take that next step as they shuffle the roster to remain competitive.

“We’re a pretty tight group in there,” said the veteran quarterback. “A lot of us are here from the year before and we love it. We love coming to work together every day. Those guys have so much fun in the locker room and our culture is unmatched. Trying to get back the best team we can is the hope next year.”

The Lions got down 18-3 in the first half before fighting back to within five points in the fourth quarter. Ultimately the offence was unable to complete the comeback attempt as the Bombers added a couple of late field goals to ice the game. BC also missed star wide receiver Keon Hatcher who left the game early, as Adams Jr. finished 13-of-26 for 221 yards, a major and three interceptions.

Head coach Rick Campbell knew it was going to be difficult to take down a Blue Bombers team that hasn’t lost at home in the Western Final since 1994, but is still proud of his team for never giving up.

“Could have played better, a little cleaner game,” said Campbell. “We knew what we were walking into and we can appreciate that our guys keep fighting and keep battling. We just didn’t didn’t play well enough to win and also give Winnipeg absolute credit because they played well. They played the game they needed to win.”

Winnipeg will now face the Montreal Alouettes in the 110th Grey Cup on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 6:00 p.m. ET.

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