Lions 27, Elks 0: Edmonton stumbles into dubious history as the Leos rumble to victory

The Elks lost 24-0 to become sole owners of the worst home losing streak in North American major pro sports history: 21 straight.

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The Edmonton Elks all watched Mission: Impossible as a team-building exercise this week.

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But even if they had Tom Cruise under centre instead of Taylor Cornelius, beating the B.C. Lions on Saturday night was just a plain impossible assignment. With their Elks 27-0 defeat at Commonwealth Stadium, they become sole owners of the worst home losing streak in North American major pro sports history: 21 straight.

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They have left the MLB’s St. Louis Browns — whom they were tied with at 20 — behind.

The Lions (6-1) didn’t even need to beat the Elks (0-8) — Edmonton did it to themselves. They had 177 yards in penalties, and 213 in net offence, a quarter of which came on one pass play late in the game.

Here’s what we learned …

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The Edmonton Elks’ Kyran Moore (3) makes a catch against the B.C. Lions during first half CFL action at Commonwealth Stadium, in Edmonton July 29, 2023. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia


330: Passing yards from Lions QB Dane Evans, who was 25-of-32 in his first start for B.C., along with two passing TDs.

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5: Sacks by the Elks, including two on three-man rushes, as B.C.’s pass protection has broken down in the pass two games, giving up nine in total.

0: Sacks by Mathieu Betts, who leads the league with 10. He’d had a sack in every game coming in.

1,386: Days since Edmonton last won at home — against the B.C. Lions.

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1: Pick by B.C.’s Garry Peters, but his second in as many games. Bo Lokombo had the other Lions’ interception.

4: Field goals for Sean Whyte, who remains one behind Ottawa’s Lewis Ward for the league lead. He connected from 26, 16, 41 and 25, extending his field goal streak to 15 straight.

5: Days until the Lions play again, in Winnipeg against the Blue Bombers. Vernon Adams Jr. didn’t dress Saturday, but isn’t expected to be out long term. It’s still up in the air who will start in that game on Thursday.

“We’re just gonna enjoy this plane ride,” Evans said post game. “Whatever happens, that’s way above my pay grade. I’m just the guy on the team and whatever (the coaches) say, I support them 100 per cent.”

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The B.C. Lions’ Justin McInnis (18) makes a touchdown catch against the Edmonton Elks’ Marloshawn Franklin Jr. (32) and Kai Gray (29) during first half CFL action at Commonwealth Stadium, in Edmonton Saturday July 29, 2023. Photo by David Bloom Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia


The Elks didn’t score a point against B.C. in their Week 2 meeting.

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The Elks didn’t score a point in Week 8, either.

And with those two shutouts, Edmonton has become the first be blanked twice in a season since …  Edmonton did it, in 1967. (Winnipeg was also shut out twice in 1967, while Ottawa did it in 1958).

The lowest-scoring offence in the CFL, by a wide margin, found no room to manoeuvre against the league’s top defence, which became the first since 1970 to have two shutouts in a season (Calgary).

Edmonton mustered two rushing yards in the first half. Elks QB Taylor Cornelius only missed three of this 13 first-half passes, but only gained 118 yards. He finished 16-of-30 for 187 yards and two interceptions.

The Lions have given up just two passing touchdowns all year, and none since their Week 4 meeting with Toronto.

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“It’s unreal. I was talking about it with the guys on the sidelines,” Evans said of the two shutouts.

“That’s hard to do in the NFL, but up here, all you have to do is kick it in the end zone and you get one point. So to do it twice is special. RP (defensive coordinator Ryan Phillips) has those guys rolling. 

“I’ll tell you this much; throughout the week, when we prep, those guys make our lives hell in practice. It’s tough going against them every day. I was definitely frustrated at points this week in practice. But it’s truly one of those situations where iron sharpens iron.”

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The shutout streak looked to have been snapped in the fourth quarter when Lucky Whitehead appeared to have fumbled the ball, and Marcus Lewis scooped it up and returned it 47 yards for the touchdown. But the command centre reviewing the play overturned the score, saying Whitehead never had control of the ball — an incomplete pass.

They didn’t advance past the B.C. 54-yard line until nine minutes remained in the fourth quarter, but they could only make it to the 41. Kicker Dean Faithful missed the 48-yard attempt, keeping the game scoreless.

Ottawa holds the record for fewest points scored in a season — once as the Rough Riders (1988) and once as the Redblacks (2014) — when they averaged 15.4 points per game. The Elks came into the night averaging 15.0. That average has now dropped to 13.1.

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The Edmonton Elks’ CJ Sims (16) is tackled by the B.C. Lions’ Adrian Greene (23) during first half CFL action at Commonwealth Stadium, in Edmonton July 29, 2023. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia


Taquan Mizzell spent two weeks on the sidelines, watching the electric Shaun Shivers go to work. On Saturday, he was the live wire.

The man called Smoke had 117 yards rushing on 22 carries, and was dynamic on first down, with B.C. putting his 5.3 yards-per-carry average to good use.

He also scored his first CFL touchdown, catching a 23-yard score in the third quarter that essentially put the game to bed.

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It was semaphore football for the Elks — all flags.

Consider these first-half plays from Edmonton, who had 139 penalty yards in the first half.

• Lucky Whitehead gained 13 yards on a second-and-18, but Marloshawn Franklin rips Whitehead’s helmet off by the facemask. It turns what would have been a field goal attempt into a 1st-and-goal from the nine, and were lucky it didn’t turn into seven.

• The Elks were 1st-and-10 at midfield in the second quarter, and a blindside block turns it into a 2nd-and-25, and a punt.

• After sacking Dane Evans twice, the Lions punt. But an unnecessary roughness penalty to Eli Mencer results in a B.C. 1st down. Two plays after that, Marcus Lewis is flagged for pass interference, and McInnis scores on the next play.

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• With 19 seconds left in the half, Lewis inexplicably yanks on Whitehead’s hair when he runs past him, earning another PI call. Sean Whyte booted a field goal two plays later on the zeros.

“(Frustration) is at an all-time high right now,” Cornelius told the Edmonton Sun post-game.

“The first half, we get behind the sticks with penalties, it seemed like every drive it was something. And then to come out in the second half and still not put up any points for a second game in a row against these guys is just crazy, man.”

“Don’t get me wrong, they’re great. But this offence and defence are playing great all game, we should never be shut out.”

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The Edmonton Elks’ Kai Gray (29) and Marloshawn Franklin Jr. (32) tackle the B.C. Lions’ Lucky Whitehead (7) during first half CFL action at Commonwealth Stadium. Franklin was flagged for a facemask penalty on the play. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia


After settling for a two field goals and a punt on their first two drives, Evans connected with Justin McInnis on a 23-yard score in the second quarter to cap off an eight-play, 47-yard drive. McInnis, who dropped a touchdown pass last week against Saskatchewan, rose above two defenders to high-point the catch before getting his feet down inbounds.

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“We really needed that,” said Evans. “It was a look we thought we would get all week. That kind of got us going. We drove it down early and settled for field goals, but our standard are touchdowns every time. So it was nice to kind of take that lid off.”

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B.C. Lions vs Winnipeg Blue Bombers

5:30 p.m., IG FieldTV: TSN, Radio: AM730

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