3DownNation CFL awards: the best and worst of Week 7

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

Week 7 of the 2023 CFL season is in the books, capping a week of ups and downs for teams across the league. Without further ado, it’s time to recognize some players, coaches, and games for their contributions this past week.

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: REC Marken Michel, Calgary Stampeders

The 30-year-old reminded everyone why he recently spent four years in the NFL as he tore up Ottawa’s secondary for 134 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Calgary has needed a deep threat to step up since Malik Henry suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon and Michel has clearly filled that need, adjusting seamlessly back to the Canadian game.

Honourable mention: QB Chad Kelly, Toronto Argonauts

Defensive player of the week: DL Woody Baron, B.C. Lions

The five-year CFL veteran was a game-wrecker against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, recording four tackles and two sacks from the interior of B.C.’s defensive line. Baron was part of a unit that consistently applied pressure to third-year quarterback Mason Fine and has made 24 sacks on the season, which ranks second league-wide.

Honourable mention: LB Cameron Judge, Calgary Stampeders

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

Special teams player of the week: KR Tyreik McAllister, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The rookie returner seemed like a threat to break one each time he had his hands on the football on Friday night, bringing back seven punts for 60 yards and four kickoffs for 153 yards. McAllister has only played four games this season, yet he sits sixth league-wide with 600 all-purpose yards. Hamilton has clearly found a difference-maker on special teams.

Honourable mention: RB LeVante Bellamy, Calgary Stampeders

Breakout player of the week: REC Clark Barnes, Calgary Stampeders

The third-round 2023 CFL Draft pick out of the University of Guelph has had some impressive performances this season but reached new heights at McMahon Stadium. The 22-year-old caught five passes for 87 yards and his first career touchdown while also returning five kickoffs for 110 yards. The native of Brampton, Ont. has to be considered an early candidate for Most Outstanding Rookie.

Honourable mention: QB Taylor Powell, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

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

Offensive line of the week: Toronto Argonauts

Toronto allowed a couple of sacks against Hamilton but mostly controlled the line of scrimmage, helping A.J. Ouellette rush for 84 yards on only 10 carries. This week’s unit was comprised of Trevon Tate, Ryan Hunter, Darius Ciraco, Peter Nicastro, and Dejon Allen with Isiah Cage still out with a thigh injury. This marks the third time Toronto’s offensive line has won this award so far this season.

Honourable mention: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

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

B.C.’s defence showed tremendous patience in its game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders and pounced at the most critical part of the game, intercepting Mason Fine twice in the fourth quarter. The unit recorded three sacks and allowed talented running back Jamal Morrow to rush for a measly 11 yards on 12 carries.

Honourable mention: OC Pat DelMonaco, Calgary Stampeders

Best play of the week: REC Marken Michel, Calgary Stampeders

Both of the veteran receiver’s touchdown catches were in consideration for play of the week but we ended up picking the longer score that came at the more critical point of the game. Midway through the fourth quarter and with his team trailing by two points, Michel exploded upfield after initially breaking off his route to get behind defensive back Abdul Kanneh. He caught the pass from Jake Maier in stride and took it 95 yards to the house.

Honourable mention: Ottawa defensive back Brandin Dandridge’s pick-six

Worst play of the week: QB Jake Maier, Calgary Stampeders

The third-year passer fumbled the ball on an awkward exchange with running back Dedrick Mills on the first play of the second quarter and failed to recover it. Defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin IV jumped on the ball for Ottawa, setting his team up with a first down at Calgary’s 42-yard line. The Redblacks needed only four plays to convert the turnover into points as Ante Milanovic-Litre ran for a three-yard touchdown against his old team.

Honourable mention: Saskatchewan quarterback Mason Fine’s second interception

Best game of the week: Ottawa Redblacks at Calgary Stampeders

This was by far and away the best game of the week as it was highly reminiscent of the four overtime games Ottawa and Calgary played from 2015 to 2017, including the 104th Grey Cup. You know it was an exciting game when the quarterback of the losing team threw for 450 yards and four touchdowns.

Honourable mention: Toronto Argonauts at Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Worst game of the week: Saskatchewan Roughriders at B.C. Lions

Mason Fine failed to inspire much hope after Trevor Harris suffered a possible season-ending knee injury as he spent three quarters checking the ball down before throwing two late interceptions. B.C. wasn’t much better as Vernon Adams Jr. was lost to a knee injury in the early going and Dane Evans was inconsistent in his first meaningful game action since joining the team from Hamilton. On the plus side, it doesn’t seem as though the injury to Adams is serious.

Honourable mention: Edmonton Elks at Winnipeg Blue Bombers