3DownNation CFL awards: the best and worst of Week 12

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

Week 12 of the 2023 CFL season is officially in the books as Edmonton snapped a 22-game home losing streak, Hamilton shocked the world with a road win over B.C., Montreal suffered a one-sided loss to Winnipeg, and Ottawa lost a fifth straight game.

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 Reggie Begelton, Calgary Stampeders

The Stampeders were unable to get the win against Toronto at BMO Field but that wasn’t for a lack of effort from their best receiver. Begelton caught nine passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns after failing to reach the end zone over the club’s first 10 games. The veteran target entered this past week outside the CFL’s top five in receiving but is now ranked second league-wide, sitting only 14 yards back of Austin Mack for the top spot.

Honourable mention: QB Tre Ford, Edmonton Elks

Defensive player of the week: DL Folarin Orimolade, Toronto Argonauts

The man they call ‘Flo’ was a force coming off the edge for Toronto as he made four tackles and three sacks in the club’s win over Calgary. It was the 27-year-old’s first multi-sack game of the year and it rocketed him up the leaderboard as he now sits tied for second in the CFL with nine on the year, marking a new career-high. With Orimolade sitting two behind Mathieu Betts for the league lead in sacks, the race is officially on.

Honourable mention: LB Jameer Thurman, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

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

If there was any question regarding which CFL return specialist has been the most dangerous this season, Toronto’s speedster answered it emphatically on Friday night. Leake returned 10 kicks for 243 yards, including an 86-yard punt return for a fourth quarter touchdown. The score not only served as the game-winning points for Toronto but was also Leake’s fourth punt return touchdown of the season, moving him only one shy of the all-time single-season record.

Honourable mention: DB Patrick Burke Jr., Hamilton Tiger-Cats

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

Breakout player of the week: QB Tre Ford, Edmonton Elks

The Canadian quarterback breathed life into Edmonton’s anemic offence when he took over the controls in Week 9 but had the best performance of his young career this past week. The former first-round pick completed 15-of-18 pass attempts for 317 yards and one touchdown and ran the ball 10 times for 74 yards and one touchdown. Ford set new career-highs in single-game passing yards and rushing yards to help the Elks win their first home game since 2019.

Honourable mention: DL Mustafa Johnson, Montreal Alouettes

Offensive line of the week: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Winnipeg’s unit of Stanley Bryant, Geoff Gray, Chris Kolankowski, Patrick Neufeld, and Jermarcus Hardrick had another strong outing as they allowed only one sack in a 47-17 win over the Montreal Alouettes. There were plenty of running lanes for the team’s ball-carriers as Brady Oliveira, Johnny Augustine, Greg McCrae, and Nic Demski combined for 195 yards on 28 carries. This is the fourth time the Blue Bombers’ offensive line has won this award this season, which leads the league.

Honourable mention: Toronto Argonauts

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

Coach of the week: STC Mickey Donovan, Toronto Argonauts

The veteran assistant and former U Sports head coach schemed strong blocking concepts for Javon Leake and helped limit big returns against Calgary as Floyd Allen was held to 37 yards on three punt returns. Toronto was also forced to make a late change at punter with Boris Bede taking over the duties from John Haggerty and the unit didn’t skip a beat as he averaged 41.6 net yards per punt.

Honourable mention: OC Jarious Jackson, Edmonton Elks

Best play of the week: REC Eugene Lewis, Edmonton Elks

The league’s highest-paid non-quarterback has had a relatively quiet season but reminded everyone why he was such a sought-after free agent this past week. Lewis caught a deep pass from Tre Ford and ripped through defensive back Brandin Dandridge en route to a 66-yard touchdown. The score came in the final minute of the second quarter, giving Edmonton all the momentum heading into halftime.

Honourable mention: Toronto’s flea-flicker

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

The CFL’s two-time reigning Most Outstanding Player injured his neck two weeks ago on a play that saw him throw a pick-six while rolling out to his right. On his first play back from injury, Collaros threw a pick-six while rolling out to his right. The 34-year-old still had a strong performance overall with four touchdown passes, though he’ll need to do a better job protecting the football when under duress as the season progresses.

Honourable mention: Hergy Mayala’s drop on third down

Best game of the week: Calgary Stampeders vs. Toronto Argonauts

Jake Maier made up for a month-long streak with no passing touchdowns as he threw four against the Argos, albeit in a losing effort. This game featured a ton of big plays, four lead changes, and was elevated by a solid crowd and the ongoing Canadian National Exhibit, which is held annually in the area surrounding BMO Field. If you love carnival rides, fried food, and Canadian football, here’s hoping you didn’t miss this one.

Honourable mention: Ottawa Redblacks vs. Edmonton Elks

Worst game of the week: Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. B.C. Lions

The Lions were favoured by double digits to win this one at home but barely showed up until the dying minutes of the fourth quarter. Hamilton played mistake-free football with zero turnovers, a strong run game, and only four penalties, though it hardly made for an action-packed game. We’re glad that Ticats fans got something to cheer about but for the rest of us, this game was a little bland.

Honourable mention: Montreal Alouettes vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers