3DownNation CFL awards: the best and worst of Week 15

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

Is it too much to say that Week 15 in the CFL was the best week of games we have seen this season?

A blocked field goal ended the week’s first game, Tre Ford did Tre Ford things, Hamilton pulled off a massive upset and the Lions saved the best for last with one of the most improbable comeback victories of the season.

Yeah, Week 15 was the best.

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 Justin McInnis, B.C. Lions

The 27-year-old was Vernon Adams Jr.’s top target on Saturday night, catching eight passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. With Dominique Rhymes still sidelined with an injury and both Keon Hatcher and Alex Hollins unable to get things going, the Leos needed someone to step up and McInnis did just that with his best game this season.

Honourable mention: RB Kevin Brown, Edmonton Elks

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

Defensive player of the week: DB Stavros Katsantonis, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The third-year pro has begun to settle in nicely as Hamilton’s starting safety. He notched his third interception in as many games on Saturday and had a key sack on second down to halt a Bombers drive that seemed destined to end in a major. Stepping into the starting lineup in July, Katsantonis is making a strong case that he should be the East Division’s Most Outstanding Canadian. His four interceptions have him tied for second in the league. Throw on Mongoose at your own peril.

Honourable mention: SAM Adarius Pickett, Toronto Argonauts 

Special teams player of the week: RET Terry Williams, B.C. Lions

Williams had what could go down as one of the most impactful special teams plays of the year with his 120-yard return touchdown in the final game of Week 15. The 27-year-old was not just a one-trick pony as he had 264 total return yards against the Redblacks. But none were bigger than the ones he had with less than 90 seconds left.

Honourable mention: DB Adrian Greene, B.C. Lions

Breakout player of the week: DE Brandon Barlow, Toronto Argonauts

On a stacked Argos’ defensive front, the 25-year-old stole the show, bringing down Cody Fajardo three times on Friday night. The second-year Argonaut now has seven sacks on the season and sits just two behind teammate Folarin Orimolade for the team lead.

Honourable mention: LB Josh Woods, B.C. Lions

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Offensive line of the week: Edmonton Elks 

The Elks gave up a pair of sacks against the Roughriders but those are just a blip on the radar for a front five that has helped pave the way for a rejuvenated Edmonton rushing attack. Kevin Brown had another fantastic outing, rushing for 175 yards while Tre Ford pitched in as well with 70 of his own. In total, the Elks gashed the Riders for 265 yards on the ground and a lot of the credit goes to the big guys up front wearing green and gold.

Honourable mention: Toronto Argonauts

Coach of the week: OC Scott Milanovich, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Hamilton’s play-caller has brought new life to what was a stagnant offence prior to his arrival in July. Under Milanovich, the Ticats have scored 27 points in four straight contests while receiver Tim White and running back James Butler have reestablished themselves as top of the class at their respective positions. Taylor Powell has become a reliable passer under Milanovich’s watch, as the rookie has completed over 73 percent of his passes since Milanovich took over and was even better against Winnipeg, where he connected on 77 percent of pass attempts.

Honourable mention: OC Jarious Jackson, Edmonton Elks

Best play of the week: Terry Williams’ missed field goal return touchdown

It was the play that helped keep comeback hopes alive in Vancouver and without it, the Lions simply do not defeat the Ottawa Redblacks on Saturday night. When the Leos needed their electrifying returner the most, he delivered. He probably also felt good about doing it against the team that unceremoniously dealt him to the left coast last September.

Honourable mention: Damonte Coxie’s game-tying touchdown catch

Worst play of the week: Ottawa’s decision to kick a field goal

When a team blows a 19-point fourth-quarter lead a lot has to go wrong but nothing went more wrong than Ottawa’s decision to kick a 50-yard field goal with just under two minutes to go. If Ottawa had simply punted, the Lions likely would not have had enough time to score twice. Instead, Terry Williams returns the kick 120 yards and the rest is history.

Honourable mention: Tre Ford’s screen pass interception

Photo courtesy: Steven Chang/B.C. Lions

Best game of the week: Ottawa Redblacks at B.C. Lions

In a week full of exciting games, nothing could top the one that saw a team score 20 points after the three-minute warning to steal a victory. It was a high-scoring, high-flying, only-in-the-CFL-type of game and it epitomizes why we love this league so darn much.

Honourable mention: Toronto Argonauts at Montreal Alouettes

Worst game of the week: Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Most weeks, Hamilton’s upset win over Winnipeg probably gets consideration as the best game but it did not have a blocked field goal on the final play nor a furious comeback by one side. In terms of Week 15 excitement, it was a rather low-scoring affair that did not provide any highlight moments aside from a missed convert return for two points.

Honourable mention: Edmonton Elks at Saskatchewan Roughriders