Lions upend Als

The Canadian Press
Bill Beacon

MONTREAL—Quarterback John Beck came on in relief and got the B.C. Lions a victory.
But now he may have try his hand at being the starter.
Beck replaced the injured Travis Lulay midway through the first quarter, and threw touchdown passes to Lavelle Hawkins and Austin Collie, as the Lions downed the punchless Montreal Alouettes 25-16 last night.
Lulay suffered a suspected torn MCL ligament in his left knee. Further tests will determine how long he’ll be out of action.
“You never want to see Travis go down,” said 34-year-old Beck.
“We hope the news will be the least severe, but I’m glad to come out and do my job.
“The guys did a great job of rallying,” Beck added. “We felt pretty comfortable out there.”
Beck, in his second season with the Lions, went 14-for-22 for 114 yards and two TDs, but also threw his first two CFL interceptions.
It helped that his Montreal counterpart, Tanner Marsh, had a dreadful night—passing for only 103 yards while throwing five interceptions, fumbling the ball away once, and not producing an offensive touchdown.
“For the defence to have that many turnovers, it shouldn’t be that close of a football game,” said Beck.
Eric Fraser scored on an interception return, and Richie Leone added a field goal and a single on a missed 50-yard attempt for the Lions (4-5), who were coming off a 23-13 loss to Montreal two weeks ago in Vancouver.
Jonathan Hefney returned an interception for a TD and Boris Bede had three field goals for Montreal (4-6), which ended a two-game winning run.
Alouettes’ general manager Jim Popp, 1-1 since taking over as head coach from Tom Higgins, took the blame on himself and his coaching staff for the poor outing by Marsh, who started because Rakeem Cato was in Florida attending to a family emergency.
“I know we threw interceptions but we had a lot of protection problems,” noted Popp.
“We’ve got to give our guys a better chance than that.
“He had pressure in his face all night,” Popp added. “We have to do a better job coaching.”
He thought briefly about turning to Canadian back-up Brandon Bridge but opted to stick with Marsh.
“We discussed it, but unfortunately Cato took reps for the first part of the week along with Tanner, and Brandon had limited reps, so he didn’t have the same playbook,” Popp noted.
“I know the coaches felt strongly about staying with Tanner.”
Jabar Westerman stripped the ball from Marsh and Michael Brooks recovered to set up a Leone 46-yard boot at 9:19.
Alex Hoffman-Ellis then picked off a pass—leading to Beck’s 10-yard TD pass to Hawkins at the 15-minute mark.
Hawkins scored in his first CFL game.
Montreal marched back thanks to a 47-yard Tyrell Sutton run for Bede’s 24-yard field goal to start the second quarter.
The Lions later gave up the ball on downs and Bede punched another through from 46 yards at 8:33.
The Lions picked up 51 yards on two Montreal penalties on the same play to put the ball on the 11, where Beck found Collie with the TD pass for a 17-6 halftime lead.