Everyone in Bomberland can take a deep breath.

Everyone in Bomberland can take a deep breath.

Despite being removed from the Friday’s game against the Ottawa Redblacks on the final drive by the injury spotter, Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros, who has a history of head injuries, is fine and was a full participant at Tuesday’s practice. After lunging forward for a first down on a draw play, Collaros caught a forearm to the head from Ottawa defensive back Randall Evans. The Bombers trailed 17-16 with 90 seconds left on the clock, but Collaros was forced to leave the game for three plays.

"The spotter (who’s in) Toronto pulled me out of the game. I guess they look for if you grab your helmet. I took my helmet off and that’s not a great indicator, I guess. But yeah, they took me off and evaluated me. The three plays were up, but by then we were already down the field so I kind of just waved Dru (Brown) to stay on and we were good," Collaros told reporters at the University of Manitoba turf field on Tuesday.

<p>MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Blue Bombers QB Zach Collaros was none the worse for wear as he practised Tuesday after he was pulled from the Big Blue’s season-opening victory on the orders of a league injury spotter.</p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Blue Bombers QB Zach Collaros was none the worse for wear as he practised Tuesday after he was pulled from the Big Blue’s season-opening victory on the orders of a league injury spotter.

"It was just a football hit. It’s something that happens often in the game."

Collaros was asked if he thought the hit should’ve been a penalty. By definition, a blow to the head should be flagged for unnecessary roughness.

"It’s the CFL. It’s kind of what this league is about. I haven’t seen the replay on TSN, but again, that’s kind of what this league is," Collaros said.

Other than the fact that they still managed to win the game, the positive in the situation was it allowed the Bombers to see what Brown could do in a do-or-die situation. Brown, a 25-year-old second-year player who only had 14 passing attempts to his name, came in and looked like a seasoned vet.

“It was just a football hit. It’s something that happens often in the game.” — Zach Collaros

"I’ve been impressed with Dru since he got here. I think he’s a great, great football player," Collaros said. "He loves the game and I think he’s got a great demeanor about himself so in a moment like that he was able to stay calm and I think that’s very important."

Brown comfortably took control of the offence and connected on all three of his passes to set up kicker Marc Liegghio for the game-winning 25-yard field goal to put the Bombers in front 19-17 as time expired.

"I was already locked in on the sideline and knew what they were gonna do. I’ve said this a million times and people probably get sick of hearing it, but you just go out there and not overthink things," Brown said.

"You do what you’re asked and what the play is calling of you… Obviously the mindset was ‘Hey, we got to be urgent and get this thing down the field.’ But you don’t approach it any differently."

<p>JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES</p><p>Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros after getting hit by Ottawa Redblacks’ Randall Evans during the second half of their CFL game in Winnipeg, Friday.</p>

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros after getting hit by Ottawa Redblacks’ Randall Evans during the second half of their CFL game in Winnipeg, Friday.

Brown quickly showed why he upset five-year CFL vet Dakota Prukop for the No. 2 job. When Prukop, who handled the short yardage plays on Friday and was moved to the six-game injured list on Tuesday, was signed in the offseason out of Edmonton, he was widely regarded as the favourite to be the next man up after Collaros. With Brown having an impressive showing in the preseason and being in his second year in Buck Pierce’s offence, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy and Hawaii Rainbow Warrior was given the edge.

"I think trust is earned and I wouldn’t blame anybody on this team if they didn’t trust me because I haven’t had any opportunities necessarily to (earn their trust)," Brown said. "… The ability to go in there and prove that to the guys, that’s huge for me personally. I’ll go in there confident as hell every single time, but the fact that the guys are a little more comfortable with me, that’s huge for us."

Brown’s heroics overshadowed a frustrating night on offence for the Blue and Gold. Ottawa outgained them 431-289 as Winnipeg’s run game was completely stifled and Collaros, who had several throws nearly intercepted, finished with only 188 passing yards.

"The grading system is different here in Canada so I really don’t know what the percentages or letter grades would be," said Collaros, jokingly, when asked to grade the offence’s performance.

"I don’t think it was good enough. Obviously, I think we all felt that way… There’s always little things to work on. If you’re sweeping things under the rug, especially after wins, you’re not gonna get any better. There’s a lot to address this early in the year. It starts with me playing better, getting the ball out of my hands on time and knowing where the football is supposed to go."

Collaros and company are hoping for better execution, but the same end result, on Friday when they head to Ottawa for Week 2 action to play the Redblacks again.

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
Reporter

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...