That’s the best way to describe the B.C. Lions 34-26 loss in overtime to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at BC Place on Friday night.
The Lions squandered a 10-point lead with three minutes remaining, and for all intents and purposes, squandered hosting the Western Final at home.
There were 147 plays in the football game yet the narrative on how you view that entire body of work is dramatically impacted by a handful of plays.
As the legendary Wally Buono would like to tell us, there are usually about five plays that decide a football game.
At the end of the night, the Lions came up on the short end on those ‘five plays’ and were left with a lot of ‘what ifs’ when looking back at this game.
What if Lions quarterback Dominique Davis was able to convert on a third-and-one with 1:54 remaining and the Lions nursing a 26-23 lead?
The Lions could have perhaps run the clock out or maybe even extended their three-point lead.
What if wide receiver Dominque Rhymes would have gone down after making a huge catch instead of trying to score a touchdown on the last play of regulation?
There would have been two or three seconds remaining with the ball spotted inside the 40-yard-line which would have been well within range for kicker Sean Whyte to trot out and kick a game-winning field goal.
What if rookie cornerback Siriman Bagayogo hadn’t been called for illegal contact in overtime? Instead of being forced to kick a field goal, the drive was extended with Bombers running back Brady Oliveira scoring a touchdown on the very next play.
Add it all up and you can see why the loss was a frustrating one.
“I felt like he (the defender) fell down and I had a chance to score but I’ve got to be better for the team. I’ve got to be a better player and more aware,” a disappointed Rhymes said afterwards.
What adds insult to injury is what Lions Head Coach Rick Campbell told us on our AM 730 post-game show.
“We talked (to the receivers) on the sideline about going down (after the catch) but he was the only (receiver) that wasn’t there. He’s a good player – he’s a good dude – and he was just trying to make a play,” Campbell said to us afterwards
“He wasn’t too happy with himself. We just have to love on each other, be there for each other, pick ourselves up and learn from this experience. We didn’t lose the game because of that play. It was a lot more,” Adams noted.
The bottom line was the Lions just couldn’t do anything offensively in the second half, managing only two field goals with one coming after defensive end Sione Teuhema’s fumble return set up the offense on the Bomber 32-yard line.
Adams had thrown for 252 yards at the half. His total at the end of the game was 352 – and 65 of those 100 second half passing yards came on the play to Rhymes at the end of regulation.
As a result, the 20-10 Lions halftime lead slowly evaporated.
“I don’t know what happened. You can’t do that to a good team like that. The defense comes up with back-to-back strip sacks and we’ve got to help them out as an offence. Receivers, o-line, all of us. We’ve got to help each other out. Yeah, this is a tough way to lose,” said Adams, who was sacked six times during the game.
Barring a catastrophic collapse by Winnipeg, the Lions will wind up hosting the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday, November 4th at BC Place.
The only way the Lions can now win the Western Division is to win in Hamilton next week and then beat Calgary at home the following week while the Bombers lose at home to Edmonton and then lose in Calgary.
In related news, Taylor Swift has broken up with Chief’s tight end Travis Kelce and is now dating Lions Manager of Communications and Content Matt Baker.
Just like the aforementioned relationship, the Bombers losing back-to-back is not going to happen.
That means if the Lions want to get to the Grey Cup, they have to knock off a pesky Roughrider team at BC Place and then travel to Winnipeg for the Western Final.
“It’s a hurting group in there right now. We were one play away. We just needed to make one more play to get it done,” said Campbell.
Lions linebacker Ben Hladik finished the night with four tackles, raising his season total to 86. With two games remaining, Hladik needs 14 tackles to join Kevin Eiben, Henoc Muamba and Alex Singelton as the only Canadians to reach the 100-tackle plateau in a season. Entering the game, Winnipeg quarterback Zack Collaros needed 177 yards passing to overtake Matt Dunigan for eighth when it comes to the Bombers all-time passing yardage totals. Collaros finished the night with 389 yards to easily surpass Dunigan, who was working the game for TSN. With the Seattle Seahawks enjoying a bye week, Hawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett was in attendance. Lockett has a close relationship with Lions defensive coordinator Ryan Phillips. Lions defensive end Mathieu Betts recorded a quarterback sack, giving him 16 on the season. He’s one sack away from tying Jamaal Westerman and ex-Lion Brent Johnson for most sacks in a season by a Canadian with 17.