3DownNation CFL awards: the best and worst of Week 11

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Week 11 of the 2023 CFL season has come and gone, seeing Ottawa lose a fourth straight game, Saskatchewan even its record at 5-5, Winnipeg and Montreal extend their winning streaks to four games apiece, Hamilton reach new lows, and Edmonton earn its much-anticipated first win of the year.

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 Steven Dunbar Jr., Edmonton Elks

The former 1,000-yard receiver had a quiet first half of the season but took revenge against his former team this past week as he caught four passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns in Edmonton’s first win of the season. The first score came on a 29-yard bomb from Tre Ford, while the second came after he found the perfect spot to settle down in the end zone while the second-year quarterback scrambled to buy time.

Honourable mention: QB Vernon Adams Jr., B.C. Lions

Photo: Timothy Matwey/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Defensive player of the week: LB Nyles Morgan, Edmonton Elks

The 27-year-old made a team-leading six tackles and two sacks against Hamilton this past week, helping limit the Tiger-Cats to 10 points and 319 yards of offence. Morgan was as fast and physical as ever from his spot in the middle and was part of an Edmonton defence that got home for seven sacks on rookie quarterback Taylor Powell, making life miserable for Hamilton’s attack at Tim Hortons Field.

Honourable mention: LB Adam Auclair, Ottawa Redblacks

Special teams player of the week: LB T.J. Brunson, Saskatchewan Roughriders

The former NFL draft pick wasted no time making an impact in his first career CFL game, forcing a fumble by B.C. return specialist Terry Williams, which set-up a Saskatchewan touchdown two plays later. He also laid a hellacious shot on Williams in the first quarter to set the physical tone and made a shoe-string tackle two quarters later to prevent what could have been a huge return.

Honourable mention: DB Kosi Onyeka, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Breakout player of the week: QB Jake Dolegala, Saskatchewan Roughriders

The former NFL passer made his first start of the year on Sunday after opening the season as a backup behind Trevor Harris and Mason Fine. He led the Riders to an upset victory over the high-flying B.C. Lions, throwing for 239 yards and three touchdowns and carrying the ball twice for 27 yards. Saskatchewan not only evened its record at 5-5 but gave fans hope that they can keep winning despite the injuries they’ve suffered at the game’s most important position.

Honourable mention: LB T.J. Brunson, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Offensive line of the week: Edmonton Elks

Edmonton’s unit of Martez Ivey, David Foucault, Mark Korte, Tomas Jack-Kurdyla, and Brett Boyko controlled the line of scrimmage against Hamilton, allowing one sack and generating plenty of lanes for Kevin Brown and Tre Ford, who combined for 149 yards along the ground. This marks the first time Edmonton’s offensive line has won this award in 2023 after going through some rough patches earlier in the year.

Honourable mention: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Photo: Michael Scraper/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Coach of the week: OC Kelly Jeffrey, Saskatchewan Roughriders

The first-year coordinator was tasked with setting up second-year quarterback Jake Dolegala for success and he did exactly that in Saskatchewan’s 34-29 win over B.C. The Lions have had arguably the best defence in the CFL so far this season, though the Riders were able to convert on three-of-four red zone opportunities, scoring three touchdowns through the air and one along the ground.

Honourable mention: HC Chris Jones, Edmonton Elks

Best play of the week: REC Samuel Emilus, Saskatchewan Roughriders

The native of Montreal continued his breakout season with this incredible touchdown catch against B.C., climbing the ladder to bring down a 37-yard pass from Jake Dolegala. Veteran defensive back Marcus Sayles clearly thought he had an interception on this one before Emilus plucked it out of his hands at the last possible moment. Aside from being an incredible play, this touchdown also provided Saskatchewan with their game-winning score.

Honourable mention: Caleb Evans’ game-winning touchdown run

Worst play of the week: DB Tre Roberson, Calgary Stampeders

The former CFL all-star made two tackles as part of a dominant defensive unit that limited Winnipeg to only 17 points and 257 net yards. However, he missed out on a prime opportunity to impact the game late in the first half when Dru Brown targeted Kenny Lawler on a curl route but hit Roberson square in the chest. The cornerback dropped the ball, taking what would have been a key turnover off the board.

Honourable mention: Bob Dyce not using a timeout on Montreal’s final offensive drive

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

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

The CFL saved the best for last this past week as these two West Division foes lit it up at Mosaic Stadium in Regina. The Lions and Riders combined for 63 points, six passing touchdowns, and almost 700 passing yards with B.C. almost overcoming an 18-point second-half deficit to complete the comeback. For a game that saw Saskatchewan enter as a heavy underdog, this result was pretty thrilling.

Honourable mention: Montreal Alouettes at Ottawa Redblacks

Worst game of the week: Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Calgary Stampeders

Do you like dropped passes? Inaccurate throws? How about fumbles? If so, this was the game for you. Outside of an outstanding catch from Marken Michel and a couple of impressive runs from Brady Oliveira, this game matched the weather in which it was played: abysmal. The Stampeders have now gone four consecutive games without a passing touchdown.

Honourable mention: Edmonton Elks at Hamilton Tiger-Cats