Sunday, November 27, 2011

This just in....

From staff.

Vancouver, B.C. -- Travis Lulay passed for 320 yards and 2 majors Sunday night, leading the BC Lions to a 34-23 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in front of a sell-out crowd of 54,313 at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, B.C. in the 99th Grey Cup game.

After the opening festivities came to a close, the Bombers and Lions lined up for the opening kickoff.

Jamie Boreham’s kick was met by Lions returner Tim Brown who brought it 34 yards downfield to set up the first play from scrimmage.

On that first play, the 2011 Most Outstanding Player Travis Lulay found rookie receiver Marco Iannuzzi for no gain.

Lulay would gain positive yardage on his next play, however, as he completed a 15-yard strike to receiver Kierrie Johnson.

The drive would eventually stall, forcing head coach Wally Buono to send out Paul McCallum for the game’s first punt.

McCallum’s punt proved to be a good one, as he pinned the Winnipeg offence just inside their own 10-yard line.

With a long field ahead of him, Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce started his first drive of the Grey Cup with a six-yard pass to tailback Chris Garrett.

On the ensuing play, Pierce opted to keep the ball, charging ahead for a 12-yard gain before being brought down by Korey Banks.

After completing a seven-yard pass to Cory Watson, the Bombers went to the run game for the first time. However, Garrett’s first attempt saw him run for a five-yard loss, forcing the Bombers to punt it away.

Thanks to another strong return by Brown, Lulay was able to start his second drive with good field position.

He proceeded to bring the Lions into Bombers territory with a 12-yard pass to Canadian receiver Akeem Foster.

Three plays later, the Lions would send the 54,000 fans at BC Place into an absolute frenzy, as tailback Andrew Harris ran up the middle for a 19-yard touchdown, giving the Lions a 7-0 lead.

With momentum on their side, the Lions defence was able to stifle Pierce and the Bombers offence, once again forcing Boreham to punt.

A short punt gave the Lions strong field position for a second straight drive.

The motivated and powerful BC offence continued its strong play early on, as Lulay was able to find Geroy Simon for a 39-yard gain, bringing the Lions inside the red zone.

Despite having a fresh set of downs and good field position, the Lulay was unable to find the endzone, forcing the Lions to settle for a 22-yard McCallum field goal.

In the late stages of the opening quarter, the Bombers offence continued to struggle, as Pierce’s attempted pass to Terrence Edwards was intercepted by Lions linebacker Anton McKenzie.

Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice challenged the interception, however, the ruling on the field stood, giving the Lions possession of the ball just inside Winnipeg territory.

But the Lions were unable to capitalize on the turnover, as McCallum came out for his second punt.

The kick ended up sailing into the endzone for a rouge, extending BC’s lead to 11 as the first quarter came to a close.

After the Lions were unable to extend their lead on their first drive of the second quarter, Pierce and the rest of the Bombers offence went to work on trying to get themselves back in the game.

Starting at their own 29-yard line, the Bombers continued to struggle on the offensive side of the ball, as Boreham once again had to punt it away.

The lions were also unable to generate traction on offence in the early stages of the second quarter, as they too had to punt it away.

Trying to garner momentum in any way possible, Jovon Johnson tried to spark the offence with a 24-yard punt return.

Despite the strong return, the offensive struggles continued for the Bombers, as Boreham was once again called upon to punt it away.

On BC’s ensuing drive, Jarious Jackson was inserted into the game on third down for a short-yardage situation.

Buono’s gamble paid off, as Jackson charged to the left side for a five-yard gain, giving the Lions a fresh set of downs in the process.

Lulay continued to develop some rhythm, as he connected with veteran receiver Paris Jackson for a 30-yard strike.

After he found Simon for a 22-yard gain, the Lions found themselves inside the Winnipeg redzone. But for the second time of the half, they were unable to convert inside the Bombers 20-yard line, and once again settled for a McCallum field goal.

With less than five minutes remaining in the first half, Pierce seemed to have finally developed some chemistry with his receivers.

A 25-yard pass to Edwards brought the Bombers as close as they have been to the endzone all game.

After an illegal procedure penalty and an errant pass brought forth third down, the Bombers finally found the scoreboard thanks to a 30-yard field goal by Justin Palardy.

Following an unsuccessful drive by the Lions, the Bombers took over from their 20-yard line with less than two minutes remaining in the first half.

Pierce continued his late-half surge, finding Carr on consecutive plays for a combined gain of 31 yards.

Seemingly gaining momentum with every play, the Bombers continued to march downfield with significant gains, as Pierce hooked up with Watson for a 25-yard pass.

The Lions attempted to slow down Winnipeg’s momentum swing, as Buono called a timeout with 1:01 remaining in the half.

Pierce and Carr continued to wreak havoc on the BC secondary, as they connected for another first down, brining the Bombers to the Lions’ nine-yard line.

However, two-straight endzone passes fell incomplete, forcing Palardy to kick a 15-yard field goal.

The late stages of the first half saw Pierce develop some much needed chemistry with his receivers, if the Bombers intend on staging a comeback, he will have to continue to be at his finest.

Winnipeg’s first play of the second half saw Pierce continue with what worked for him in the dwindling minutes of the first.

He connected with Carr for a solid gain, this time collecting 11 yards on a pass up the middle. But the drive eventually stalled, giving the Lions possession just inside their own 30-yard line.

After Lulay and the Lions offence were unable to produce a first down on their first drive of the second half, Johnson reeled off his second impressive return of the game, returning a McCallum offering 41 yards to the BC 29-yard line.

Still trailing 14-6 and facing a short field, Pierce rushed forward on a broken play for a three-yard gain, and followed that up with an incomplete pass intended for Edwards.

Palardy then connected on a 33-yard field goal, cutting their deficit to five points early in the third quarter.

Following the field goal, the Lions offence went to work, in hopes of ceasing any momentum the Bombers may have generated.

But Lulay’s rough second half continued, as he was unable to lead the Lions into the endzone, forcing McCallum to attempt a 48-yard field goal.

However, the usually reliable McCallum missed his attempt, giving the Bombers possession at their own 25-yard line.

After Pierce connected with Edwards for a x-yard gain on second down, the Bombers oped to punt, rather than gamble on third-and-one.

Lulay started his next drive by completing two consecutive passes for first downs to Arlan Bruce.

One play later, with Lulay scrambling out of the pocket, Odell Willis was called for a horsecaller penalty, bringing the Lions to the 15-yard line.

But he was unable to find the endzone and they were forced to settle for a 22-yard field goal by McCallum.

After a two-and-out by the Bombers, the Lion s took over from their own 40-yard line in hopes of extending their lead.

Now in full out desperation mode, the Bombers took over possession, hoping to salvage whatever hope they have left of staging a fourth-quarter comeback.

However, the Lions defence proved to be too much for Pierce and the offence to handle, as he was sacked by Khalif Mitchell for a five-yard loss.

With time running out, the Lions embarked on their first drive of the fourth quarter, in hopes of wasting as much time as possible.

The Lions proceeded to put together an 11-play, 67-yard drive that was capped off by a six-yard touchdown pass from Lulay to Bruce, seemingly putting the game out of reach.

The drive ended up taking 5:53 off the clock.

Pierce then came onto the field in hopes of putting together some sort of drive that could perhaps reverse Winnipeg’s fortunes.

After successfully converting on a third-and-long gamble, Pierce found Edwards for an 18-yard gain.

He then completed a 45-yard yard pass to Carr who trotted into the endzone, cutting the BC lead to 16.

With 3:15 remaining in the game, the Lions continued to try and chip away at the clock, handing the ball off to Brown for a two-yard gain, followed by a one-yard rush by Lulay.

However, the Bombers refused to go down without a fight, as Johnson returned a McCallum punt 47 yards, setting up a new drive inside the BC redzone.

Two plays later, Pierce found Edwards for a 14-yard touchdown, cutting BC’s lead to just eight points with 1:37 remaining.

With the game now well within reach, the Bombers attempted an onside kick. However, Boreham’s attempt didn’t travel far enough, giving the Lions a first down at the Winnipeg 41-yard line.

McCallum would then tack on his fourth field goal of the game, a 34-yarder to extend the Lions’ lead to 11 which BC would protect to the end for their sixth Grey Cup in team history.

For BC, Travis Lulay was 21-for-37 passing for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns, Andrew Harris was 0-for-1 passing with 1 rushing touchdown, while Kierrie Johnson and Arland Bruce had 1 receiving touchdown each. Paul McCallum had his usual steady game, kicking 4 field goals, 1 punt single and 3 converts for the Lions. For Winnipeg, Buck Pierce was 19-for-37 passing for 350 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, Greg Carr and Terrence Edwards each caught a touchdown pass and Justin Palardy added 3 field goals and 2 converts for the Blue Bombers.

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