WINNIPEG - The B.C. Lions are playoff bound and dodged a big bullet Saturday night, after quarterback Kevin Glenn went down in the fourth quarter and didn't return in a 28-23 come-from-behind win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
"Just a little headache," Glenn said later said of the issue that kept him from completing the game.
Backup Jason Beck filled in admirably, with touchdown throws to Ernest Jackson and former Bomber Kito Poblah.
"The protocol is to watch when you have a headache. . . No symptoms, no blurriness, just a little headache," said Glenn, suggesting it wasn't a concussion.
"You just tell yourself be ready if something happens," said Beck, a CFL rookie whose first thought was concern for Glenn, when he saw him laying on the field holding his head.
"Kevin and I spend a lot of time together. He's a really good friend and when you see somebody down on the field with their head, I mean we've seen too many things in pro football, my first thought was for him and my second thought was OK, just go out and play ball."
The Lions (9-7) are now guaranteed at least a crossover playoff spot.
The Bombers (6-11) were ahead 17-13 at the start of the fourth quarter but their effectiveness was crippled all night by quarterback sacks — 10 of them by the end of the game.
"Ten sacks is just a tribute to the whole defence and obviously the coaches," said B.C. head coach Mike Benevides, who gave the game ball to Khreem Smith, who had four of them.
"I'm really proud of our defence. Our defence was playing really well all year long. Today it was rewarded to get the quarterback a few times."
Winnipeg quarterback Drew Willy said he knew he was responsible for a few of those sacks.
"I definitely wasn't decisive enough in getting the ball out of my hands," he said. "I take full responsibility for that."
It was their eighth loss in a row and this is the third season in a row they've missed the playoffs, after making a losing appearance in the 2011 Grey Cup. It has taken a toll on attendance which was just 24,223 Saturday night, with almost 9,000 empty seats.
The Bombers were crushed at the way their season has collapsed since July when they were 5-1.
"Honestly, I thought this was our year," said veteran offensive lineman Steve Morley. "I thought OK, this is the year we're going to go over the mountain . . . and now we're not."
Coach Mike O'Shea said despite their collapse, he had never lost faith.
"We had nothing prepared for this because I believed we were going to make the playoffs," he said.
Rookie Winnipeg running back Paris Cotton rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown but said it doesn't mean much when you lose.
"We're just going to figure it out together and keep going," he said.
A return to a more balanced offence seemed to offer some sack protection for Willy in their last game but this time it didn't even slow down the Lions, who had their own issues with 22 penalties. Cotton couldn't say why there was such a difference.
"I can't tell you until I watch the film but all I know is we fell short, we didn't get the win."
Veteran receiver Clarence Denmark topped 1,000 yards in a season for the first time in his CFL career with 56 yards Saturday and a touchdown. He laid the blame for the loss squarely on the offence.
"I feel like the defence played good," he said. "They made stops when they needed to. I feel like when it came our time to make plays we didn't make them."
Winnipeg has now dropped eight straight games and will miss the post-season.
The Bombers also got three field goals plus a single from rookie kicker Liram Hajrullahu.
B.C.'s other touchdown came from Keola Antolin and Paul McCallum added two field goals and a single.
It was also a night of milestones as veteran B.C. kicker McCallum became just the second CFL player to top the 3,000-point mark.
NOTES: The Bombers lost defensive lineman Greg Peach in the second half to injury and defensive back Don Unamba also had to leave the field but he returned. The Bombers benefited from the return from injury of Troy Stoudermire. Their kick returner had 72 yards in the first half, including one run of 35.