BC Lions play complete game at home to take down Alouettes

VANCOUVER — It’s safe to say that if the BC Lions were on a mission to rebound from last week’s loss, they were more than successful.

The Leos scored touchdowns via ground, air and special teams to beat the Montreal Alouettes 35-19 on Sunday at BC Place.

Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. had a touchdown pass and no turnovers, returning to form for a now 4-1 Lions squad. Wide receiver Jevon Cottoy caught a major in the second half and running back Shaun Shivers – starting in place of injured Taquan Mizzell – added a rushing score.

Backup quarterback Dominique Davis also contributed with a running touchdown of his own and defensive back Jalen Edwards-Cooper returned a blocked field goal attempt for a score to complete a full-team effort for BC.

Kicker Sean Whyte made both of his attempts.

Montreal quarterback Cody Fajardo was efficient passing the ball but was often under pressure against a relentless pass rush from the home team led by Mathieu Betts. The pass rusher tallied two sacks for a now league-high nine on the season, but walked gingerly to the sidelines after a play with under two minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

Montreal’s pivot had a rushing major for an Alouettes’ offence that struggled to finish drives. kicker David Côté made four of his five field goals in the losing effort for the 2-2 Alouettes.

Lions QB Vernon Adams Jr. on the run Photo: BC Lions

Adams’ second pass of the game was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, but an illegal contact penalty erased the turnover and kept the Lions’ offence on the field.

The home team capitalized on the second chance as BC’s pivot connected with Cottoy and Keon Hatcher to move the chains before calling his own number and rushing all the way to Montreal’s 20-yard line. A couple of plays later the Leos were faced with third-and-one and Davis took care of it with a scamper to the right for the first score of the game, 7-0.

Fajardo and the Alouettes came onto the field and responded with a scoring drive of their own. Montreal’s pivot found a streaking William Stanback down the left sideline for a chunk play before giving it to Austin Mack all the way to the one-yard-line. From there it was Fajardo himself punching it in to tie the game at seven.

After a two-and-out by the home team, Montreal was putting together a promising drive until Betts took down Fajardo for his eight sack of the season to force the visitors to punt.

A couple of drives later the Lions got the ball on Montreal’s 50-yard line and went to work. Adams found Hatcher within the Als’ zone defence to move the chains before threading the needle to Cottoy all the way to the 11-yard-line. Three plays later Shivers dove between two defenders to break the tie and give the Orange and Black a 14-7 lead with 9:49 to go in the second quarter.

Montreal was determined to keep pace with BC in the first half. Fajardo connected with receiver Hergy Mayala to move it across midfield, but the Leos’ defence shut the door on second down and forced the first field goal attempt of the afternoon. Côté split the uprights to cut the lead to 14-10.

A blocked punt in the next drive by the home team gave Fajardo and the Als a chance to take the lead. The signal-caller started things with a scramble to the right to pick up a first down and move the ball to BC’s 29-yard line. The Lions’ pass rush came through one more time though as David Menard got to the quarterback to force Côté to kick once more. Only this time the home team’s special teams blocked it and Edwards-Cooper took it back to the end zone to extend the lead, 21-10.

Als’ returner Chandler Worthy muffed a punt with under two minutes to go in the second quarter and gave the Lions a chance to add to their lead. Adams calmly distributed the ball to Hatcher and Lucky Whitehead to move his team further into Montreal’s territory. With the drive stalling at the 14-yard line, Whyte came in for his first field goal of the game, 24-10.

There was still time for Montreal to put together another scoring drive and Fajardo quickly found Mack twice in a roll to move the ball to the 43-yard line for Côté to make it 24-13 going into halftime.

Wide receiver Dominique Rhymes showed up early in the second half with a big gain over the middle to Montreal’s 20-yard line. Adams scrambled to the left in the next play to find Cottoy in the corner of the end zone and push the lead to 31-13.

Fajardo had to escape the pass rush on his next drive to make something happen as he connected with Mack after scrambling out of the pocket. Montreal’s pivot than launched a deep bomb down the right sideline for wide receiver Quartney Davis who made an acrobatic catch to secure the long gain. It wasn’t enough for a touchdown but Côté’s third field goal of the afternoon made it a two-score game for Montreal.

The home team added a rouge to make it 32-16 early in the fourth quarter and Betts got to Fajardo again in the following drive as BC’s dominant afternoon continued.

Defensive back Marcus Sayles almost added a pick six after jumping a pass with nothing but green ahead of him but couldn’t quite finish what would have been a scoring interception.

Whyte’s field goal halfway through the fourth quarter gave the Lions a comfortable 35-16 lead going into the final stretch of the game.

Côté added his fourth score with under four minutes to go.

Adams found Shivers out of the backfield for what would have been a 69-yard touchdown catch, but defensive back Dionté Ruffin forced a fumble on the Lions’ running back at the one-yard line to save the score.

The Als go back home in Week 6 to host the Toronto Argonauts on Friday, July 14, while the Lions will have the week off before hosting the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Week 7 on Saturday, July 22.

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