Bakes’ Game Takes | BC 27 TOR 35

Toronto, ON– It was a season-opening seesaw battle that came down to the wire. The hometown Toronto Argonauts made more key plays in key situations and would escape with a 35-27 victory over the BC Lions. For the Leos, it marks the first loss to start a season since 2021 and the coaching staff will have plenty to recap and clean up ahead of next Saturday’s home opener with the Calgary Stampeders. Now for some game take’s following Sunday night’s loss.

Late Turnovers Costly

This one was right there for the taking until the final moments with a major dagger coming on a Vernon Adams Jr. fumble inside Toronto territory just ahead of the three-minute warning with the visitors trailing by two. The defence would force a quick two-and-out but saw their fate all but sealed when Adams Jr.’s 3rd and 25 throw to Alex Hollins fell incomplete. Cameron Dukes then punched in an insurance touchdown to round out the scoring.

The Lions’ quarterback and 2023 CFL passing leader owned up to his shortcomings after the loss.

“We played good enough to win. I just need to take care of the ball. At the end of the day, same story last year. I need to take care of the ball as the quarterback of the team and put our defence in better situations,” he explained.

There was some good sprinkled in from Adams in this losing effort as he completed his first nine passes of the game before finishing his night 25/33 for 363 yards, two touchdowns and his lone interception going through the mitts of Justin McInnis.

The touchdown passes to McInnis and Travis Fulgham both came in a frantic second quarter where the Lions got a third major on defence when Tibo Debaillie returned a fumble to the house which put them ahead 20-6. No doubt an opportunity lost to kick off the 2024 campaign.

“Too many negative plays to overcome for us,” said Rick Campbell.

“You’ve got to stay away from those negative plays, whether that’s turnovers or losing yards or whatever that is. It came down to one of the teams was going to make a couple more plays to win the game and they did it. I like our team, but we’ve definitely got work to do.”

The head coach admitted a huge emphasis will be placed on quarterback protection, especially with Adams dealing with a minor ailment to his throwing hand suffered early in teh contest. The quarterback will continue to be evaluated throughout the week with no immediate concerns regarding his availability for this coming week.

“We’ve got to take care of him better,” admitted Campbell.

“Too many hits on him tonight. We just need to be better at that. He’s a guy that competes and he’s going to battle all the way to the end.”

It was for sure not the start they wanted, but we will now see what type of team the Lions have as they face some early adversity for the first time in a few years.

“We’re going to get better from it,” added Adams.

“It’s a long season. I’m taking this one on the head. Just be better, come to work this week and get right.”

About The VA Short Yardage

Amidst plenty of questions surrounding Adams Jr. serving as the Lions’ main option in short yardage situations, Campbell had this to say:

“He’s really good at it. Short yardage is so important in this league and I don’t know how many sneaks we had in the first quarter. Seemed like a lot, but we go from there.”

Adams finished with eight carries for 25 yards.

Key Numbers

6- sacks recorded by the stout Toronto defence, with the biggest one coming on the late fumble which stalled a potential game-winning drive.

120- the Argos’ ground attack churned out over 100 yards with free agent addition Ka’Deem Carey leading the way with 65. Carey also caught the game’s opening touchdown in the first quarter.

5– the number of takeaways for the Argos’ defensive unit, with Adams’ previously mentioned fumble serving as the main path to victory for the Boatmen.

103– a game-high in receiving yards for McInnis who looks every bit the part of a guy ready to take on an increased role in this offence.

Next Up

Get ready for a great night in downtown Vancouver as the Lions open their home campaign against the Calgary Stampeders next Saturday, June 15 presented by BC Federation of Labour. 50 Cent performs Concert Kickoff starting at 3:00 pm at Save-On-Foods Field. Tickets are moving fast and can be purchased HERE.

The Lions return to practice on Wednesday afternoon in Surrey.

Matt Baker: