Vernon Adams Jr., Alouettes beat Lions 21-16 for third straight win
MONTREAL — Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. says he was energized by having his young son in Montreal for the first time watching from the stands.
Adams rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Montreal Alouettes beat the last-place B.C. Lions 21-16 on Friday night to extend their winning streak to three games.
The quarterback’s five-year-old son Vernon Kash, who lives in Washington state, was among the 17,047 fans at Percival Molson Stadium cheering on the home team.
"I was more jacked up I think," said Adams, who went 18 for 25 for 232 yards. "That was one of the reasons why we kind of hit a stalemate at one point of the game, and I just needed to slow down and get everything together and do what I’m supposed to do and get the athletes the ball."
Adams set a new franchise record for most rushing TDs by a quarterback in a single season with 10. He also leads the CFL in that category, surpassing Saskatchewan Roughriders running back William Powell.
After a scoreless first, Adams capped off a 63-yard drive with a QB sneak from one yard out at 2:44 of the second quarter. A 24-yard pass to wide receiver DeVier Posey followed by an 8-yard rush by William Stanback brought the ball to the one-yard line.
Six minutes later, the Als quarterback had the Lions seeing double when he again punched the ball in from the one. A 25-yard pass interference penalty on Branden Dozier in the end zone set Adams up for his second QB sneak of the quarter.
"I have a lot of confidence in him," said coach Khari Jones of his quarterback. "He’s not by any means a perfect quarterback, I don’t think there are many out there. But he made some really good plays and scrambled and kept his eyes downfield and made some key second downs."
With both teams coming off a bye week, the Alouettes (6-4) snapped a seven-game losing skid versus the Lions (1-10), who have now lost seven in a row and equalled their worst start to a season since 1969.
But Montreal struggled after halftime and let the visitors back in the game.
The B.C. Lions cut the deficit to 14-7 on a lightning-fast 27-second scoring drive. Starting at Montreal’s 54-yard line, QB Mike Reilly needed just three plays to find the end zone. The final play of the drive was a 40-yard pass to Bryan Burnham, who broke Greg Reid’s tackle before crossing the plane for his fourth touchdown of the year at 13:41.
The Lions put together a dominant 67-yard drive that lasted more than seven minutes near the end of the third quarter but they were forced to settle for a Sergio Castillo field goal — one of three on the night.
Castillo brought the Lions within one point with another field goal at 2:04 of the fourth quarter but a 4-yard touchdown pass by Montreal’s Quan Bray — capping off a 75-yard drive — made it 21-13 with 7:17 remaining in the game.
"The difference in the game is we get in the red zone twice and they hold us to three," said Lions head coach DeVone Claybrooks. "Even if we score one of those, it’s a totally different outcome of the game. That’s one of the things we need to clean up.
"The positive thing is we went down 14 and clawed our way back in the game."
Castillo converted a consolation 47-yard field goal with 2:56 on the clock as the Lions lost a game by five points or fewer for the fourth time this season.
"We have to figure out how to be better at the small plays," said Reilly, who completed 20-of-29 passes for 230 yards. "It’s not like there were home run shots that we missed, or we broke down in protection. It’s the little plays that keep you on the field, that keep the sticks moving that we have to improve on."
It was the first game for new Lions offensive-line coach Kelly Bates. B.C.’s league-worst O-line allowed two sacks to Montreal, both by veteran John Bowman.
Notes: The Lions dropped to 1-3 versus East-Division teams. … Montreal’s Stanback rushed for 78 yards. … Tailback Jeremiah Johnson left the game with an injury.