3DownNation CFL awards: the best and worst of Week 3

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

Week 3 of the 2023 CFL regular season is in the books, featuring easily the highest-scoring slate of games so far this year.

There were pick-sixes, punt return touchdowns, dramatic lead changes, and even some double overtime. Just don’t ask to see the league’s statistics — those still aren’t working.

These awards are selected by a panel of 3DownNation contributors and will be presented weekly throughout the 2023 season. Enjoy.

Offensive player of the week: QB Cody Fajardo, Montreal Alouettes

The former West Division Most Outstanding Player made the most of his patchwork receiving corps at Tim Hortons Field, completing 19-of-25 pass attempts for 292 yards and two touchdowns in the club’s big win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Fajardo also ran the ball four times for 11 yards and a touchdown, exploiting a Ticats defence that has yet to show much resistance this season.

Honourable mention: RB Jamal Morrow, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Photo courtesy: Steven Chang/B.C. Lions

Defensive player of the week: DL Mathieu Betts, B.C. Lions

When Winnipeg’s offensive linemen went to sleep after last week’s game against B.C., it wouldn’t be surprising if they had nightmares about Mathieu Betts. The former first-round pick out of Laval was a one-man wrecking crew at IG Field, recording four tackles, three sacks, and one knockdown. Betts now has five sacks in three games and his well on his way to surpassing his previous career-high of seven.

Honourable mention: SAM Michael Griffin, Calgary Stampeders

Special teams player of the week: KR Chandler Worthy, Montreal Alouettes

The 29-year-old was a difference-maker at Tim Hortons Field, recording four kickoffs for 77 yards and six punt returns for 83 yards and a touchdown. His best play of the game came at the end of the first quarter when he returned a punt 77 yards for a score, getting his team on the board and tying the contest early.

Honourable mention: K Rene Paredes, Calgary Stampeders

Breakout player of the week: SAM Michael Griffin, Calgary Stampeders

The rookie made his first career start in place of an injured Titus Wall and made the most of the opportunity, recording 11 defensive tackles and one sack. It wasn’t a brilliant day for Calgary’s defence overall but the newcomer helped set the tone, finding a way to always be around the ball while also generating pressure on Trevor Harris.

Honourable mention: KR CJ Sims, Edmonton Elks

Photo: Matt Johnson/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Offensive line of the week: Toronto Argonauts

The Boatmen ran the ball seemingly at will against Edmonton as A.J. Ouellette, Andrew Harris, and Daniel Adeboboye combined for 31 carries for 164 yards and three touchdowns. Chad Kelly was sacked only once, though the play was negated by penalty. Toronto’s five starters — Isiah Cage, Ryan Hunter, Peter Nicastro, Dylan Giffen, and Dejon Allen — were simply fantastic.

Honourable mention: Calgary Stampeders

Coach of the week: DC Ryan Phillips, B.C. Lions

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers scored 87 points over the first two weeks of the season but couldn’t get anything going offensively against B.C.’s stiff defence on Thursday, scoring a measly six points. This marks the third consecutive week in which Phillips has won this award as his unit has allowed just 21 points through three games, while generating 11 sacks and four takeaways.

Honourable mention: HC Jason Maas, Montreal Alouettes

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

Best play of the week: KR Chandler Worthy, Montreal Alouettes

The East Division’s reigning Most Outstanding Special Teams Player took advantage of poor contain from Hamilton’s cover unit, breaking a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown. Worthy dodged a diving Stavros Katsantonis, who was pushed into the five-yard halo, before breaking right and turning it up along the sideline. The touchdown gave Montreal its first points on the day and set the tone for what ended up being a one-sided victory.

Honourable mention: Vincent Forbes-Mombleau’s second touchdown catch

Worst play of the week: SAM Chris Edwards, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The fiery defender drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty shortly after the final whistle on Friday when he approached Montreal receiver Austin Mack with his hand outstretched, appearing to offer a post-game handshake, before knocking him to the ground with a two-handed shove to the chest. Head coach Orlondo Steinauer called the moved “inexcusable,” adding “that’s not who we are.”

Honourable mention: Jake Maier’s overtime interception

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserves.

Best game of the week: Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Calgary Stampeders

After getting out to a relatively slow start, this game had big plays, high drama, five lead changes after halftime, and two rounds of overtime. With six turnovers, 45 first downs, and 829 yards of net offence, this felt like an old-school CFL shootout and it doesn’t get much more entertaining than that. Circle your calendars for July 15 when these two teams meet again in Regina.

Honourable mention: Toronto Argonauts vs. Edmonton Elks

Worst game of the week: B.C. Lions at Winnipeg Blue Bombers

This game was supposed to be a clash of titans but only one of the teams decided to show up. The Lions dominated every facet of this one as the Blue Bombers managed only 235 yards of net offence and turned the ball over four times. Hopefully the home side will put up more of a fight when these two teams meet again at IG Field in Week 9.

Honourable mention: Montreal Alouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats