It looked like the Ottawa Redblacks were going to spoil the banner raising party, but the Bombers backup quarterback saved the day.
The Bombers made a field goal with six seconds left to beat the RedBlacks 19-17 in their season opener at IG Field on Friday.
Bombers starting quarterback Zach Collaros was hit in the head with less than two minutes left while trailing by a single point. Injury spotters removed him from the game, but backup QB Dru Brown completed three consecutive passes to get them in striking range. And Marc Liegghio hit a 25-yard field goal to give the back-to-back champs the victory to start off their quest for the three-peat.
It was the first time the Redblacks lost their season opener since 2014 when they were also beaten by Winnipeg.
The two teams hadn’t played each other in almost three years since July of 2019.
There wasn’t much to like from the Bombers, except for the final score.
The Bombers offence struggled at times to move the chains, while the secondary was giving up big chunks of real estate. The offence went 2-and-out in a stretch of five of their six possessions in the second and third quarters.
Ottawa had a big edge in possession time and total offence with the Bombers giving up 441 net yards of offence.
After not taking a single snap in the pre-season, Collaros completed 18 of his 26 passes for just 188 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions, while Redblacks quarterback Jeremiah Masoli passed for 380 yards.
Former Bombers receiver Darvin Adams made seven catches for 71 yards in his return to his old stomping grounds.
New Bombers receiver Greg Ellingson had 74 yards receiving with a touchdown in his blue and gold debut.
Replacing the now departed Andrew Harris, the Bombers new starting running back, Brady Oliveira, made his mark in the first quarter. He took a toss from Collaros before sprinting 24 yards down to the RedBlacks three-yard line.
And two plays later Ellingson made a five-yard catch for his first touchdown in the blue and gold, and the Bombers first TD of the season.
Ottawa answered right back with a 20-yard touchdown catch by Shaquille Johnson on their very next possession to even the score. It was an 11-10 Redblacks lead at halftime.
The Redblacks added a field goal to lead by four, and things were looking bleak for the Bombers after receiver Dalton Schoen fumbled the football.
But the Bombers’ defence took the ball right back as Nick Taylor intercepted Masoli late in the third quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, quarterback Dakota Prukop scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak. But they missed the convert and Ottawa soon made a field goal to take a one point lead with three minutes remaining.
But after Collaros was removed from the game, Brown marched the Bombers into field goal distance where Liegghio won the game for Winnipeg.
Before the start of the game the Bombers revealed their latest championship banner, recognizing their 12th Grey Cup title in franchise history.
The Bombers travel to Ottawa next week for the rematch against the Redblacks on Friday night.
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