BC Lions Air Attack comes together in win over Ottawa REDBLACKS

VANCOUVER — Playing at home, the BC Lions seized the opportunity as they defeated the Ottawa REDBLACKS 29-5 at BC Place on Friday night.

The win marked their first home win of the year and their second win of the season.

Quarterback Mike Reilly was quick to get the offensive tempo roaring for the Lions. In their opening drive, he’d connect with Lemar Durant for a 52-yard catch-and-run, opening up the scoring in the early minutes of the first quarter.

The touchdown became Durant’s fifth major of the season, snapping a scoreless streak for the national wideout after not scoring a touchdown since July 6 against the Argonauts.

Another positive front for the Lions — their offensive line kept Reilly clean for the first time this season. Reilly has led the league in an unfavourable category of sacks given with 45.

The run game was also clicking for the Lions. With John White out on injury, Brandon Rutley has stepped in and the ground attack hasn’t missed a beat for the Leos. Rutley finished the game with 20 carries for 111 yards.

Jonathon Jennings, in his return to BC Place since joining the REDBLACKS in the off-season, breathed a sigh of relief on the offence’s second drive of the quarter. After passing into the flat and being intercepted by TJ Lee, the officials determined that defensive lineman Shawn Lemon lined up in the neutral zone.

However, the Lions secondary remained on the prowl as a few short plays later, they’d get their hands on another Jennings pass. Branden Dozier came up with the interception, setting up Reilly and the offence on Ottawa’s 34-yard line.

Reilly kept the pedal to the metal, connecting with Duron Carter along the right side of the end zone for his first touchdown of the year.

With 100 passing yards in the first quarter, Reilly passed Tom Burgess and Sam Etcheverry for 15th on the league’s all-time passing yards list.

While BC looked to be boasting all of the confidence in the early-goings of the game, the Ottawa defence came up with an interception in hopes of stalling them. DeAndre Farris intercepted Mike Reilly with 3:05 remaining in the quarter.

Playing without their top receiver in Brad Sinopoli, the offence for Ottawa continued to struggle in gaining any sort of momentum. With the Lions secondary in tight coverage, Jennings had to opt for his check-down, targetting runningback Mossis Madu on four of their six plays for the drive.

Much of the second quarter had either squad exchanging offensive outings.

That’d remain the case until the final few minutes of the half as Reilly got his running shoes on. On a drive where he scampered for a 27-yard run, the Lions pivot capped off the drive with a touchdown plunge from three yards out, pushing the Lions lead to 21-0 following Sergio Castillo‘s third point-after of the half.

Entering the game as the league leader in quarterback sacks given up, BC’s offensive line finished the first 30 minutes of play without committing a sack.

Meanwhile, their defensive unit managed to wrap up Jennings on two occasions.

On 13 pass attempts in the first half, the REDBLACKS’ quarterback managed to complete just six passes for 46 yards. He’d finish the game with 239 yards through the air with a stronger second half, however, at that point, the game was in the hands of the Lions.

The first points on the board for Ottawa came byway of Lewis Ward. In the third quarter, the second-year kicker booted a 32-yarder.

At the end of the third quarter, after pushing the ball deep into the red zone, the Lions drew a pass interference call in the end zone. From the one-yard line, Reilly soared over the trench of the goal-line for his second rushing touchdown of the night, further extending the Leos lead to 28-3.

Ottawa’s defensive locked up the Lions’ passing attack on the ensuing drive, starting the fourth quarter. De’Chavon Hayes hauled in his second interception of the year as Reilly looked to connect with Shaq Johnson on a deep route.

The REDBLACKS tried to get some offensive tempo flowing after a 41-yard reception by Dominque Rhymes, who was cradling along the sideline in the BC end of the field before stepping out at the BC 45-yard line.

After marching down to the BC 4-yard line, the REDBLACKS were unable to cap off the drive with any points. The Lions snatched back possession after Jonathan Newsome sacked Jennings on third down, forcing the turnover on downs with 5:26 remaining in the game.

Ryan Lankford would concede a safety in the final 30 seconds of the quarter, capping off the scoring at 29-5.

The two teams will be back in action next Saturday, squaring off each other once again. While the REDBLACKS will be the home squad, they will enter the game having only won once this season at TD Place Stadium. As for the Lions, they have only one road win this season.

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