Adams Jr. returns from injury to lead B.C. Lions to 37-9 win over Stampeders

After missing two games due to an injury, Vernon Adams Jr. wanted to have a statement performance on his return.

He followed through on that ambition going 23 for 32 and throwing for four touchdowns in his return to the Lions’ starting lineup as B.C. hammered the Calgary Stampeders 37-9 on Saturday evening at B.C. Place.

“It felt great. I’m just so thankful my injury wasn’t as bad as some of the quarterbacks around the league,” Adams said.

The Lions (7-2) started strong, with Adams leading the team to a touchdown on its first drive of the game.

“We had a good practice week and I know our guys were itching to get back out there,” said B.C. head coach Rick Campbell.

Adams repeatedly connected with Keon Hatcher, with the receiver finishing with nine receptions, 170 yards and one touchdown, a career-high night.

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“We had a great week of practice,” said Adams. “He had a lot of plays in the game plan this weekend; there’s still a few we left out there and we could’ve got him to 200 (yards).”

Hatcher agreed, adding that his fellow wide receivers help push him forward.

“It feels good to be able to go out there and make plays for the team,” he said.

Hatcher, Taquan Mizzell, Lucky Whitehead and Alexander Hollins all finished the night with a touchdown each.

The Stampeders (3-6) struggled on offence, with miscues between quarterback Jake Maier and his receivers leading to dropped passes and missed routes. It would take nearly all of the first quarter before Calgary recorded its initial first down of the CFL contest.

“It was really bad. We didn’t execute very well. We had a lot of penalties. We didn’t score touchdowns again. We were pretty sloppy all the way around,” said Maier, who finished 17 of 31 and threw for 131 yards.

“I think once they got that big lead, they were able to really do some things, disguise things a little bit differently, maybe than if the game was tighter.

“They were able to be a little bit more creative, make windows even tighter. It was an uphill battle the whole game.”

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The Lions also capitalized on special teams issues, with Mathieu Betts blocking an attempted punt by Cody Grace, setting up a Mizzell touchdown when the offence went back on the field.

B.C. finished the rout with Adams scrambling and finding a wide-open Whitehead in the end zone with 11:31 left in the fourth quarter.

The win also marks the fifth time this season the Lions have refused to surrender a touchdown to an opponent.

“We’re really tough when we don’t give up big chunks,” said Campbell about his defence. “I’m proud of them for sticking with it for the whole 60 minutes.”

Penalties also derailed the Stampeders’ rhythm, giving up 11 for 130 yards.

“It wasn’t good enough. I’ve got to take some of that heat, I just didn’t have them ready to go like I needed to,” said Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson.

“I thought we had good energy coming in, I thought we had a good week of practice. We did not have good communication, we had a lot of mental breakdowns, they outplayed us. They were the better team.”

B.C. finished with 343 yards on offence, compared to Calgary’s 203.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2023.


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