The Lions emerged with a thrilling 35-32 overtime victory in Week 15 after scoring a touchdown and two-point conversion on the final play of regulation to send the game into OT.
There was controversy surrounding the Ticats’ decision to kick a punt single rather than attempt a 44-yard field goal with less than a minute left in the game. Rather than potentially being down by 10 points, BC got the ball back down by only eight.
Lions quarterback Jonathon Jennings executed a miraculous drive in the dying second of the game that led to a 20-yard Bryan Burnham touchdown with zeros on the clock. Jennings found Burnham again for the two-point covert. The initial ruling on the field of an incomplete pass was overturned after video review showed that Burnham was in bounds.
The two squads exchanged field goals on their first possessions in overtime, but the Ticats’ second attempt from 42 yards out went wide. The miss set up a 39-yard game-winning field goal for Lions kicker Ty Long.
“It was crazy,” Jennings told BCLions.com post-game. “When you’re in the moment, it doesn’t seem as crazy, but when you look back and see all the things we had to jump through at the end of the game to find a way to win, it’s nuts.”
Jennings finished the night with 347 yards and three touchdown passes. His favourite target of the night was Burnham, who collected 90 yards and two touchdowns on 10 catches.
Both received Shaw CFL Top Performer of the Week honours.
Defensive tackle Davon Coleman was also impressive, racking up three quarterback sacks against his former squad.
Linebacker Larry Dean had a game-high and career-high 11 tackles.
When asked about the decision to not attempt a field goal late in the game, Jones said the clock was the biggest factor.
“You’ve got that much time, you’re going to win the game right?” Jones told Ticats.ca. “Who thinks they’re going to go touchdown and two-point conversion.”
Hamilton will get a boost with the return of Brandon Banks. The team’s leading receiver is expected to play after missing the past two games with a groin injury.
‘Speedy B’ says it has been tough to watch his team from the sidelines.
“I don’t like sitting out,” said Banks. “With the two losses, I feel like I could have helped there somewhere. Just being around the guys, I miss that.”
Fellow receiver Terrence Toliver was placed under concussion protocol after being injured last week, but has been cleared to play on Saturday.
On defence, the Ticats will be without defensive linemen Jamaal Westerman and Jason Neill. Westerman has been placed on the six-game injured list with an apparent ankle injury while Neill is dealing with a pulled hamstring.
With so much parity in the league, it is difficult to beat the same team twice, let alone two weeks in a row.
The Lions are trying not to focus on the difficulties of playing the Ticats back-to-back.
“It’s better to approach it as a new game,” said Head Coach Wally Buono. “It’s better to approach it as a whole new adventure….The conditions aren’t the same. The atmosphere won’t be the same. It’s the next game on the schedule.”
The last time the Lions were at Tim Hortons Field in July of 2017, Jennings was injured on the team’s first play from scrimmage and did not return. Travis Lulay came into the game and threw for 464 yards en route to a 41-26 victory. Lulay set a CFL record for most yards thrown by a quarterback in relief.
With the veteran out with a shoulder injury, it’s now Jennings’ turn to step up.
“It’s redemption for me because the last time I was here, obviously I got hurt,” said Jennings. “So I’m excited to be back…It’s loud out here. It’s windy out here. It makes for a challenge in a sense, but as a football player, as a competitor, it’s always exciting playing in front of a crowd like that.”
By The Numbers:
3 – Overtime games played between the Lions and Ticats. BC has won all three contests (1994, 2000, 2018).
6 – Sacks by Davon Coleman over the past three games.
431.5 – League high total yards per game by Hamilton’s offence.
Don’t sleep on the BC Lions.
After a mid season slump, the Leos have now won three straight and currently hold the crossover spot in the West Division.
The Lions have a recent history of being better after the nine-game mark. From 2011 to 2016, BC’s record over the final nine games was 35-19 compared to 30-24 mark before the midway mark.
A win for Hamilton would see them split the season series with BC for the fifth time in the last six years.
Can the Tabbies snap their two game losing skid? Or will the Lions make it four in a row?
– With files from BCLions.com/Ticats.ca
AFI, Yare Media and the CFL
American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2018 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.