After up-and-down start to the season, B.C. Lions looking for consistency

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

SURREY, B.C. – A roller-coaster start to the CFL season has the B.C. Lions searching for consistency.

Great sequences have been quickly followed by long stretches where the club has looked completely out of sync, with big comebacks as likely to happen as blown leads.

The most recent example came Friday when the Lions jumped out to an early 21-0 advantage on the Toronto Argonauts at home, but scored just six points the rest of the way in a stunning 30-27 collapse.

“There’s going to be ebbs and flows to every game and you don’t know when your opportunities are going to come, but you’ve got to give yourself a chance all 60 minutes,” said Lions quarterback Travis Lulay. “That’s something we’re talking about and working on.”

At the other end of the spectrum, the Lions (2-2) looked dead in the water in their first game at B.C. Place Stadium this season before battling back to beat Saskatchewan Roughriders in overtime. They then jumped out to a big lead in the following week’s rematch only to see the Roughriders nearly mount a comeback of their own.

“To put four quarters together is what’s important. We haven’t done that yet,” said Lions head coach Jeff Tedford. “We’ve shown signs of being really good and then signs of sputtering.”

Added running back Andrew Harris: “We’ve definitely shown glimpses of excellence and definitely glimpses of undisciplined, mistake (filled) football.”

B.C. visits the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-3) on Thursday and will be looking to avoid another Jekyll-and-Hyde performance.

“This is a good team, but we have to show now that we can consistently do that for 60 minutes, night in night out,” said Lions slotback Courtney Taylor. “That’s something you work for. It’s not like it’s just going to happen. It’s not going to be given to you.”

One player who hasn’t had anything handed to him by the Lions in the early going is rookie running back Shaquille Murray-Lawrence. The five-foot-eight 193-pound Toronto native has provided sparks on special teams — he had a 64-yard return late in the loss to Argonauts that set up a field goal — and has seen his time on offence gradually increase.

“Whatever they want, that’s my job, that’s what I’ve got to do,” said Murray-Lawrence. “I obviously believe in my abilities and think I can make plays when I get the ball in my hands.

“When the time comes (the coaches) know what to do. It’s a long season. I feel like they’ve got a bigger plan for me.”

The plan for the Lions as a team heading into Week 6 is to avoid some of the ups and downs they’ve already experienced in 2015.

“When you get a little static in the game you’ve got to find a way to shift the momentum back and that’s where we need to be better,” said Lulay. “When we’ve been in a rhythm we’ve been very good, tough to stop. When we’ve lost our rhythm it’s taken us too long to regain it. We need to find a way to shake free of that because that’s a natural part of every game.

“When you’re playing at your best level you find a way to snap back into that high level quickly.”

Note: B.C. could have defensive back Ryan Phillips available this week against Winnipeg. The 11-year veteran injured his hamstring in the first game of the season.

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