The B.C. Lions' offence saw some of its old struggles return Sunday night against the Toronto Argonauts, but the B.C. defence ensured that didn't matter, stepping up in a major way to lead the Lions to a 33-17 victory. On the night, B.C. recorded two interceptions of star Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray, including a crucial late pick-six. They also continually pressured Ray, forcing bad decisions, and held the Argonauts' rushing game in check. It was a defence-driven effort, and just the latest entry in the West's dominance of the East this year, improving the West Division to 4-0 this weekend.
Of course, this was a five-game week, and the East actually beat the West in the first game of the week Tuesday, when the Argonauts thumped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 38-21. That game was further evidence that the Argonauts might be the best of the East. At the moment, though, that's a rather dubious distinction; they definitely weren't able to handle the Lions. The short week they had to prepare after Tuesday's game probably didn't help, but there was more to this one than rest; Toronto was outmatched and outclassed, especially in the late stages Sunday.
There were moments here when things didn't look so bad for the Argonauts. While B.C. got off to a hot start, the Toronto defence then woke up (and the Lions' offence started to struggle), leading to a long and slow comeback. The Argos trailed 10-0 after the first quarter, but reduced the deficit to 13-9 at the half. The third quarter was a defensive struggle, with only a Toronto rouge making the scoreboard, but that cut the lead to three points heading into the fourth, and the Argonauts even pulled ahead shortly into the final frame thanks to a tremendous touchdown grab by Terrell Sinkfield. After that, though, it was all B.C., with the Lions finally getting their offence in gear (thanks to a 53-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Glenn to Emmanuel Arcenaux) and getting help from some great defensive plays (including Ronnie Yell's incredibly-acrobatic pick-six), scoring 20 unanswered points to close the game out. They could have had more, too; Ray's third interception near the end of the game almost was taken back for another pick-six. In the end, the damage they'd already done proved more than enough.
The B.C. defence turned in a terrific effort all night long, frequently pressuring Ray and forcing him into mistakes. They held him to 181 passing yards with a 58.9 per cent completion rate, well below his usual standards, and he only threw the one touchdown pass. The Lions' passing offence wasn't much better than the Argos', with Glenn throwing for just 208 yards with a 56 per cent completion rate, but it came through in the fourth quarter, and B.C. received a great showing from running back Stefan Logan, who had 148 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Overall, it was far from a perfect outing for the Lions, but it was more than good enough on the night, and it provided yet more proof that the western teams are far better then their eastern counterparts right now.