But they got the job done.
Kevin Glenn completed three touchdown passes — including one for 60 yards to Ernest Jackson — and others lesser lights filled in for several injured regulars as the Lions hammered Ottawa 41-3 before a delighted crowd of 31,217 at B.C. Place Stadium.
"The biggest thing tonight is that we had a lot of guys down and other guys stepped up," said Glenn, who completed 20 of 27 passes for 345 yards.
"They really came to play."
The Lions, fourth in the West Division, ended a three-game losing streak while improving to 8-7. For the third straight game, B.C. did not allow a touchdown.
Both teams were looking to improve on a dismal Sept. 5 meeting in Ottawa, where the Lions prevailed 7-5 in the lowest-scoring CFL game in 35 years. B.C. responded Saturday with 545 yards in net offence compared to Ottawa's 204.
The Redblacks, whose only points came on Brett Maher's field goal in the second quarter, never threatened as they fell to 2-12 and remained winless on the road. Ottawa quarterback Henry Burris was good on 12 of 21 passes for only 138 yards — 106 of which came in the first half.
"We've played a lot of close games this year, and we didn't find a way to respond," said Redblacks coach Rick Campbell. "I'm hoping this is an anomaly. … We haven't won enough games this year, but we've played a lot of games where we fight. I've never questioned our guys' effort, but tonight we couldn't find a way to make a play to get something going."
At the outset, it looked as though the Lions might have trouble getting their offence going. Emmanuel Arceneaux was a late scratch due to an ankle injury, but Levasier Tuinei proved to be a capable replacement as he caught a touchdown pass in his CFL debut.
Glenn was sidelined briefly with a hand injury while completing a 40-yard pass to Jackson, who finished with eight receptions for 195 yards, on the first play from scrimmage. B.C. backup quarterback John Beck came in and led the Lions on a scoring drive which culminated with Paul McCallum's 30-yard field goal.
Glenn suffered a torn nail on index finger of his throwing hand after hitting it on an Ottawa player's helmet. But he returned on the next series, and the Lions increased their lead in the second quarter as receiver Shawn Gore ran the ball in for a one-yard touchdown.
Just over a minute after Maher's field goal, Glenn connected on the 60-yard TD with Jackson along the sidelines, staking the Lions to a 17-3 half-time lead. The touchdown was only Jackson's third in three seasons as a Lion.
"It definitely feels good to get another one," said Jackson.
Early in the third quarter, Glenn threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tuinei. An Ottawa defender tipped the ball up right after Glenn let it go, but Tuinei came back to grab it.
McCallum increased B.C.'s advantage to 27-3 with another 30-yard field goal, at 9:50 of the third quarter. In the process, McCallum moved into second place all-time in CFL scoring, surpassing former Calgary and B.C. kicker Mark McLoughlin's 2,994 points.
Rookie Keola Antolin, with his first career touchdown on a three-yard pass, and backup QB Beck on a one-yard TD plunge, padded B.C.'s lead in the fourth quarter.
Antolin finished with 147 rushing yards, including 55 on a scamper. Making his second start in place of injured tailbacks Andrew Harris and Stefan Logan, Antolin thrived a week after the Lions did not have a rush longer than seven yards in a loss to Hamilton.
"I just felt comfortable and more confident this week instead of last week, especially when my first game was away," said Antolin, a 24-year-old Honolulu native and University of Arizona product who signed with B.C. in June. "A home game I just feel more in."
Notes: McCallum now has 2,999 career points. … Former Lions kicker Lui Passaglia, who is battling colon cancer, received a loud ovation from the crowd before making the pre-game coin toss. … Lions returner/running back Tim Brown returned after missing two games with a back injury. … Ottawa defensive lineman Keith Shologan played the 100th game of his CFL career. … B.C. lost offensive guard Dean Valli to injury in the second quarter.