3DownNation CFL awards: the best and worst of Week 10

Courtesy: Sherri Lacasse/CFL

Week 10 of the 2023 CFL season is officially in the books, capping a slate of relatively high-scoring games. Toronto and B.C. got back to their winning ways, Ottawa extended its losing streak, Montreal won a third consecutive contest, Edmonton squandered a 22-point lead, and two more quarterbacks suffered injuries.

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 DaVaris Daniels, Toronto Argonauts

The six-foot-one, 203-pound target had by far his best performance of the year, recording six catches for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Daniels was Chad Kelly’s favourite target in the club’s 44-31 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks, which improved Toronto’s record to 7-1. The seven-year CFL veteran now has 497 receiving yards on the season, putting him on pace for his first career 1,000-yard campaign.

Honourable mention: QB Dru Brown, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Photo courtesy: Gary Lavoie/Montreal Alouettes

Defensive player of the week: LB Tyrice Beverette, Montreal Alouettes

The veteran linebacker led the Alouettes with eight defensive tackles this past week and knocked down a pass attempt from Jake Dolegala. It was a dominant defensive performance for Montreal overall as they limited the Riders to nine points and 221 yards of net offence, only 127 of which came through the air. Beverette now has 53 total tackles, one sack, and one touchdown on the year.

Honourable mention: DB Garry Peters, B.C. Lions

Special teams player of the week: KR Javon Leake, Toronto Argonauts

The 25-year-old scored another punt return touchdown, returning a boot from Richie Leone for a 79-yard score. He scooped up the ball near the left sideline and split linebackers Adam Auclair and Chizi Umunakwe before shedding a tackle and beating Marco Dubois in a footrace to the end zone. This is the third time Leake has been named 3DownNation’s special teams player of the week so far this season.

Honourable mention: DB Nick Hallett, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Breakout player of the week: QB Dru Brown, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The third-year passer came off the bench after Zach Collaros was injured early in the second quarter with his team down 22-0. He immediately sparked Winnipeg’s offence, throwing for 307 yards and four touchdowns and completing the comeback to secure a 38-29 win at Commonwealth Stadium. The 26-year-old has only started one career game but appears to have garnered league-wide recognition as a potential future CFL star.

Honourable mention: DB Reggie Stubblefield, Montreal Alouettes

Offensive line of the week: Montreal Alouettes

Montreal’s unit of Nick Callender, Pier-Olivier Lestage, Justin Lawrence, Kristian Matte, and Landon Rice owned the line of scrimmage against Saskatchewan, helping generate 186 rushing yards and allowing only one sack. The Alouettes didn’t have Cody Fajardo or William Stanback in the lineup this past week but it didn’t matter as their offensive line led the way with some old-fashioned, hard-nosed football.

Honourable mention: Edmonton Elks

Photo courtesy: Montreal Alouettes

Coach of the week: HC Jason Maas, Montreal Alouettes

Cody Fajardo ended up sitting out against his old team after being listed as a game-time decision due to a shoulder injury, thrusting Caleb Evans into the starting role. Montreal’s game plan perfectly accounted for the quarterback change as Evans, Walter Fletcher, and Jeshrun Antwi ran for 186 yards and three touchdowns along the ground. Montreal also allowed only one sack as their pass protection has continued to improve.

Honourable mention: ST Mike Benevides, B.C. Lions

Best play of the week: Kenny Lawler’s touchdown catch

The two-time West Division all-star had a relatively quiet game with only two receptions against the Elks, though one of them was arguably the catch of the year. Lawler used his right arm to hand fight with defensive back Marcus Lewis and caught the tip of the football with his left to score a 32-yard touchdown. It ended up being the game-winning score as Winnipeg completed a 22-point comeback at Commonwealth Stadium.

Honourable mention: Kevin Brown’s 65-yard touchdown run

Worst play of the week: QB Zach Collaros, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The CFL’s reigning two-time Most Outstanding Player made a disastrous throw against Edmonton this past week, pitching the ball directly to defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy after evading pressure from Noah Curtis. Collaros was also hurt on this play as Kony Ealy struck the quarterback in the head after he’d delivered the ball. Bizarrely, Ealy was not charged with roughing the passer even after Winnipeg challenged the non-call on the field.

Honourable mention: Caleb Evans’ interception in the end zone

Photo courtesy: Ted Pritchard/Rattleboxmultimedia.ca/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Best game of the week: Ottawa Redblacks vs. Toronto Argonauts

If one were to show a CFL skeptic one game to get them hooked on the league, this would be the perfect selection. The matchup featured 889 yards of offence, five lead changes, a pick-six, a punt return touchdown, a goal line stand, some big hits, and a number of excellent catches. Kudos to both teams — this may have not only been the game of the week but also the game of the year.

Honourable mention: Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Edmonton Elks

Worst game of the week: Calgary Stampeders vs. B.C. Lions

Unless you’re a hardcore Lions fan, this game was a complete dud. B.C. built an early 17-0 lead and the Stampeders never appeared capable of putting on a comeback, registering only nine points and 203 yards of net offence. Jake Maier has now gone three consecutive starts without throwing a touchdown pass, averaging a measly 178.7 passing yards per game over those contests.

Honourable mention: Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Montreal Alouettes