BY MATT BAKER
IT was a crazy night of football; even by Canadian standards. And it could go down as a major turning point when all is said and done. Jonathon Jennings found Bryan Burnham in the end zone with no time remaining, hit him again for the game-tying two-point convert and Ty Long’s 39-yard field goal sealed the Hollywood-like comeback as your BC Lions (6-6-0) stunned the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 35-32 on Saturday night.
Never on to get too high after a win or too down after a defeat, Jennings could still hardly contain his excitement in a rather boisterous home locker room.
“Man, I don’t even know,” said Jennings when asked how to describe it.
“I’m just glad we got the win, honestly. It was crazy. When we were 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. Kudos to the guys on the offensive side, kudos to the guys on defence stopping them when we needed to and Ty finishing it off with a great gig.”
They looked to be in control when Burnham’s first touchdown catch of the crazy sequence to end regulation put them ahead 21-20 with 2:46 to play. Hamilton quarterback Jeremiah Masoli then got his team up from off the mat and found Mike Jones for a 55-yard touchdown and then a successful two-point attempt of their own made it a 28-21 lead.
Then it got really interesting. After Jennings and company turned it over on downs, Ticats’ head coach June Jones passed on what would have been a 45-yard field goal try, electing to punt for a single to put them ahead by eight with just 59 seconds remaining.
That decision left the Lions with a pulse. And Jennings, who had experienced a long gap between miraculous comeback wins, went back to work and finished the job. What it is most enjoyable win yet?
And the fact he was able to re-establish a chemistry with his favourite target didn’t hurt either.
“That’s just guys not giving up, man,” said an emotionally exhausted Burnham after the win.
“You saw the fans piling out of the stadium. People thought it was over. Jonathon Jennings did it. Shaq Johnson did it. I mean he went up and made a big play to get us down there, get us in scoring position and we just never gave up. We never quit. That’s what’s special about this team.”
“We tried it earlier in that drive, it didn’t work, but I have faith in Shaq,” said Jennings.
“We know what he can do, he’s explosive, he’s a playmaker himself and went up and made a great catch.”
Jennings finished with 346 passing yards and three TD strikes in his first start since July 7th. The victory moves them within two points of third place Edmonton and four points of second place Saskatchewan in the Wild Western Division.
“I keep telling the guys we’re just focusing on ourselves,” explained Jennings.
“We’ve got to continue to focus on winning each and every week, we can’t worry about anybody else. As long we do what we do we’ll be in good shape.”
These two teams will meet once again in Hamilton next Saturday at 1:00 PM PT.
435- the total offence for Jennings and the Lions in this high-flying affair.
8- total defensive tackles for Davon Coleman to lead all Lions. Three of those were quarterback sacks.
90– Burnham’s receiving yard total.
76- Masoli’s completion percentage (19/25).
154- the total penalty yards for the Lions in this one. It almost came back to haunt them.
“Perfect complementary football. We believe in those guys on the other side of the ball. When they get it going like that it just makes it easier for us to do what we’re doing and get them the ball back and they can score. That’s what happened out there tonight.”- defensive back Anthony Orange on the offence returning the favour for them in this one.