There's been plenty of praise for Toronto quarterback Zach Collaros after he shone in his first CFL start against B.C. Tuesday, leading the Argonauts to a 38-12 win. Those plaudits are well-deserved: against a Lions' defence that had been solid previously, Collaros completed 21 of 25 passes (84 per cent) and threw for 253 yards and three touchdowns without an interception, and he also impressed with his mobility, picking up 28 yards on eight scrambles and frequently avoiding pressure to make key throws. However, his night didn't get off to a great start, as one of his first drives was marked by a remarkable fumble on a muffed exchange with running back Eddie Steele:
It's not quite a Mark Sanchez "Buttfumble" level moment, and it's highly unlikely this one will get the silent movie treatment, but that's still a pretty funny screwup to watch. It looks like Collaros was faking the handoff to running back Curtis Steele, but either he didn't pull the ball back far enough or Steele ran too close to him, causing a loose ball that B.C.'s Korey Banks recovered. It's understandable there would be some confusion, as both Collaros and Steele aren't typical starters (they were filling in for the injured Ricky Ray and Chad Kackert respectively), but that was a pretty ominous start for the Argos. Fortunately for Toronto fans, though, the defence held the Lions to a field goal after the fumble recovery, and Collaros more than redeemed himself in the second quarter, somehow managing to sidestep blitzing B.C. linebacker Adam Bighill and then throwing a picture-perfect touchdown strike to slotback Jason Barnes in double coverage:
That's a remarkable play all around, and more so because it came from a quarterback with so little CFL experience. Lots of pivots would have panicked with Bighill bearing down on them, or at least taken off and attempted to scramble for a short gain afterwards, but Collaros recognized that the rest of the offensive line was holding and that Bighill couldn't recover in time to bring him down, so he stayed in the pocket and set his feet for a pass. The throw is picture-perfect too: Barnes is double-covered by safety J.R. LaRose (#27) and defensive back Joshua Bell (#6), with nickel back Banks (#24) lurking underneath his route, but there's a slight opening in the coverage to his left (Collaros' right), and the pass goes to a spot where he's the only one who can grab it. It's a great athletic play from Barnes, especially considering how he hangs on after taking a solid hit from LaRose, but it was all possible thanks to the superb composure under pressure from Collaros and the terrific execution once he decided to throw. Those aspects of his game were on display all night, and they'll be remembered for much longer than his initial fumble.