BC Lions demolish Argonauts to win 4th straight, stay in playoff hunt

VANCOUVER — Make it four in a row for the BC Lions as they keep their playoff hopes alive following a 55-8 win over the Toronto Argonauts Saturday night at BC Place.

As for the Boatmen, their hopes of a post-season berth came to an end.

Mike Reilly put on a MOP-like performance in his team’s dominant win, throwing for 276 yards and five touchdowns. His touchdown total marks a new career-best.

It was a much different picture for the opposing offence, as the Argonauts wouldn’t eclipse 100 yards worth of offence until the fourth quarter. A series of early turnovers played a big role in the overall outcome of the game.

The BC Lions struck first and it was their game from thereon out.

Settling for a field goal on their opening drive, the Lions’ defence managed to force three turnovers in the first half against the Argonauts, and Mike Reilly and the offence were quick to make use of each one.

The first came as James Franklin had his first pass attempt tipped at the line of scrimmage and then hauled in by Lions’ TJ Lee. The interception was Lee’s second of the season.

Reilly connected with Bryan Burnham to expand BC’s early lead.

The Lions’ receiver wasn’t done there, though. Following a fumble by Toronto on their next offensive opportunity, Burnham scored his second major of the game, putting the Lions ahead 17-0 before the first 15 minutes had concluded.

After the first quarter, the Argonauts only managed 2:36 of ball possession and failed to gain a first down. On the flip side, the Lions had 154 yards on offence.

Sergio Castillo kicked his second field goal of the game in the second quarter.

Toronto’s offence started to piece together a drive following the made kick, however, the Lions defence locked things down around midfield. Tyler Crapigna ended up missing a field goal attempt from 51 yards out.

Lions’ backup quarterback, Danny O’Brien, got in on the action, scoring BC’s third touchdown on a short-yardage play, pushing the Lions lead to 27-0.

Starting to show signs of desperation, the Argos looked to go into their bag of tricks on the ensuing kickoff return. the hope of a spark turned into another moment of despair as a reverse attempt ended up getting knocked down by TJ Lee and recovered by Jamel Lyles near the goal line.

Another O’Brien plunge made the score 34-0 and would stand there when the halftime whistle came. It would mark the Lions’ largest lead at halftime in franchise history.

In the second half, the Lions weren’t quite done with their offensive output. Capping a conservative 10-play drive, Reilly connected with Shaq Johnson over the middle of the end zone. The score gave the Lions their highest point total all season, leading 41-0 with 6:51 remaining in the third quarter.

Not quite content, the Leos kept slingin’ as Reilly connected with Burnham for the third touchdown by the duo. By the time the final whistle blew, Burnham had totalled eight receptions for 145 yards.

Before the fourth quarter, McLeod Bethel-Thompson entered in at quarterback for the Argonauts after Franklin’s totals for the day fell flat, passing for just 32 yards on six completions and an interception.

The day for Reilly came to an end as the victory was all but confirmed, but not before he’d connect with Duron Carter for his fifth touchdown pass of the game, padding their lead to 55-0.

From there, O’Brien took the huddle as the Lions ran out the remaining minutes of the clock.

Scoring by the Argos wouldn’t come until the final minute of the game as Bethel-Thompson connected with Armanti Edwards.

Next week’s game against the Edmonton Eskimos (Saturday) has heightened meaning following the win by the Lions, who extend their playoff hopes. As for the Argonauts, their hopes of making the playoffs are no extinguished as they’ll get set for a matchup against the Ottawa REDBLACKS next Friday.

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