CFL: BC Lions storm back to stun Winnipeg Blue Bombers

VANCOUVER — Travis Lulay threw a touchdown pass and ran for another major in the fourth quarter to make up a late 15 point deficit and rally the BC Lions to a 45-42 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Ty Long kicked a 34-yard field goal with less than a minute left on the clock to seal the victory for BC.

Lulay completed 28-of-43 attempts for 404 yards with two touchdown passes, a rushing touchdown and two interceptions.

Bryan Burnham racked up a game high 149 yards while Emmanuel Arceneaux had two majors in the Lions victory.

Bombers pivot Matt Nichols posted 254 yards on 28-of-36 passing with three touchdown tosses, a rushing major and one interception.

The Lions struck first in the match when Lulay aired out a long ball to Burnham for a 45-yard gain to set up BC in the red zone. Arceneaux capped of the drive with a 10-yard touchdown snag. The Lions two-point convert attempt was unsuccessful to keep BC’s early lead at 6-0.

The Bombers’ special teams unit came up big a few minutes later when Derek Jones blocked Long’s punt deep in BC territory. Jones broke through the Lions’ defenders and reached Long before his foot even made contact with the ball. The play gave Winnipeg favorable field position just outside of the red zone. The Lions got into penalty trouble on the following play when they were called for pass interference in the end zone, advancing the Bombers to the one-yard line. Dan LeFevour barely broke across the plane for Winnipeg’s first major of the game to pull the Bombers ahead 7-6.

The Lions responded when Lulay went up top to Burnham in double coverage along the sidelines for another long gain. Long appeared to shake off his earlier hit, finishing off the drive with a 40-yard field goal to regain the Lions’ lead.

The Lions racked up three sacks in the first quarter alone.

Jeremiah Johnson (24) of the BC Lions scores a TD during the game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC., on Friday, July 21, 2017. (Photo: Johany Jutras)

BC pulled further ahead on their first drive of the second quarter. Lulay dumped a pass off to Chris Rainey, who picked up 37 yards after the catch by dodging Bombers’ defenders down the field and running out of bounds just short of the red zone. Jeremiah Johnson powered across the plane to cap off the drive for his fifth touchdown in as many games. Lulay found Rainey in the end zone for the successful two-point convert to put the Lions ahead 17-7.

A Bombers fumble put the ball back in the hands of the Lions in Winnipeg territory, but the Lions settled for another Long field goal to extend their lead to 20-7 midway through the second quarter.

The Bombers continued to battle back into the game as Nichols led a steady drive down the field, connecting with Clarence Denmark for the Bombers’ first passing touchdown of the night to cut the Lions’ lead to 20-14.

The Lions offense responded with a major of their own. Lulay marched down the field connecting with four different receivers, including rookie Danny Vandervoort for a long 25-yard catch. Rainey continued his stellar night with a two-yard touchdown run to extend the Lions’ lead to 27-14 with two minutes left in the quarter.

That was more than enough time for Winnipeg to orchestrate a late half scoring drive thanks to some special teams’ trickery. The Bombers attempted what appeared to be a field goal, but instead, Justin Medlock punched the ball toward the sideline to be scooped up by Mike Miller for a first down. Nichols found Darvin Adams deep in the right corner of the end zone on the next play for a major to put the score at 27-21 in favor of the Lions at halftime.

Bryan Burnham (16) of the BC Lions and Roc Carmichael (4), Brian Walker (22) of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the game at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC., on Friday, July 21, 2017. (Photo: Johany Jutras)

Nichols took matters into his own hands on the opening drive of the third quarter. Unable to find an open receiver, the Bombers pivot ran untouched into the end zone for a 20 yard rushing major to give the Bombers their first lead since the first quarter.

Winnipeg continued their second half charge late in the third quarter. Nichols appeared to overthrow a deep ball intended for Adams, but the receiver made an incredible outstretched one-handed snag in the corner of the end zone for his second touchdown of the game to pull the Bombers ahead 35-27.

The Bombers would strike again before the end of the quarter, courtesy of their defense. Defensive lineman Jake Thomas blocked a Lulay pass and tipped the ball to himself to make an impressive interception. Surrounded by orange and black jerseys and unable to make any downfield progress, Thomas handed the ball off to Kyle Knox, who ran it to the house for a Bombers’ major

It was all BC in the fourth quarter, as the Lions stormed back from a 15-point deficit in the final 15 minutes.

Lulay found Arceneaux for a touchdown to cut the Bombers lead to 42-34. But the Lions weren’t done there.

On a third down deep in Bombers’ territory, Winnipeg’s special teams was at it again as Medlock attempted to pass to Derek Jones for a new set of downs. The pass was short, setting BC up at Winnipeg’s 26-yard line. Lulay ran 14 yards into the end zone for the major. The two-point covert attempt was successful, tying the game at 42-42 midway through the fourth quarter.

A field goal by Long with less than a minute on the clock secured a 45-42 victory for the Lions.

The Bombers return home next week to take on the Montreal Alouettes Thursday night while the Lions will travel to Edmonton for a date with the Eskimos on Friday.

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