3DownNation CFL awards: the best and worst of Week 19

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

Week 19 of the CFL season is in the books as the Montreal Alouettes clinched a home playoff game, the Toronto Argonauts finished a perfect 9-0 at home, the B.C. Lions kept their hopes of hosting the West Final alive, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Calgary Stampeders are still fighting for the third and final playoff spot in the West Division.

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 Tim White, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The 29-year-old caught seven passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns in his team’s 33-30 loss to the B.C. Lions, hauling in scores from Bo Levi Mitchell and Matthew Shiltz. After a relatively slow start to the season, White has set a new career-high with 1,269 receiving yards and has six touchdowns in his last seven games. The Arizona State product is now the league’s leading receiver and tied for third in touchdown receptions.

Honourable mention: REC DaVaris Daniels, Toronto Argonauts

Defensive player of the week: DL Casey Sayles, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The third-year defender made three tackles, one tackle for loss, two sacks, and one pass knockdown against B.C., helping Hamilton’s defence pressure Vernon Adams Jr. The 28-year-old out of Ohio University has set new career-highs this year with 50 defensive tackles and seven sacks, showing why the Tiger-Cats made him one of the highest-paid defensive linemen in the CFL this past off-season.

Honourable mention: DL Mustafa Johnson, Montreal Alouettes

Special teams player of the week: KR James Letcher Jr., Montreal Alouettes

The rookie speedster put up 188 return yards against Edmonton, including a 125-yard missed field goal return for a touchdown. Montreal’s special teams units haven’t skipped a beat since Chandler Worthy exited the lineup with an ankle injury three weeks ago as Letcher has been a threat to score each time he’s touched the ball since breaking out in his first career CFL game.

Honourable mention: K Sean Whyte, B.C. Lions

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Breakout player of the week: KR Tobias Harris, Ottawa Redblacks

The rookie defensive back out of Old Dominion wasted no time making an impact in the return game, scoring a 93-yard touchdown on a kickoff return to give the Redblacks a first-half lead at BMO Field. The 23-year-old hasn’t dressed for many games with Ottawa this season but it appears as though he’s on his way to becoming a mainstay on the club’s depth chart.

Honourable mention: REC Floyd Allen, Calgary Stampeders

Offensive line of the week: Toronto Argonauts

Toronto’s unit of Isiah Cage, Ryan Hunter, Darius Ciraco, Dylan Giffen, and Trevon Tate allowed only one sack and helped Daniel Adeboboye, Chad Kelly, Deonta McMahon, and Cameron Dukes combine for 125 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Regular starters Peter Nicastro and Dejon Allen didn’t play due to minor injuries but the Argonauts still controlled the line of scrimmage, which is a testament to their depth.

Honourable mention: Calgary Stampeders

Photo courtesy: Montreal Alouettes

Coach of the week: STC Byron Archambault, Montreal Alouettes

The Alouettes had a great day on special teams in their 35-21 win over the Edmonton Elks as James Letcher Jr. returned a missed field goal for a touchdown, Jose Maltos went five-for-five on his field goal attempts, and Joseph Zema averaged a respectable 36.4 net yards on five punts. Montreal’s special teams units have been among the league’s best all season, which is part of why the club has reached 10 wins for the first time since 2019.

Honourable mention: DC Corey Mace, Toronto Argonauts

Best play of the week: DB Dexter Lawson Jr., Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The 23-year-old rookie made arguably the best interception of the year as he peeled up the sideline to make a one-handed grab on a corner route that was intended for Keon Hatcher. The pick not only saved a touchdown but set up a field goal from Marc Liegghio that tied the game with just over one minute remaining. Though the Ticats ultimately lost the game, this play will appear on highlight reels for years to come.

Honourable mention: KR James Letcher Jr., Montreal Alouettes

Worst play of the week: QB Jake Dolegala, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Cameron Judge hasn’t played for Saskatchewan since 2019 and it appears Jake Dolegala momentarily forgot that this past weekend. With running back Jamal Morrow wide open to his left in the flat, the six-foot-seven passer stared down Samuel Emilus and threw a pass that hit Judge square in the chest, which he returned for a pick-six. The touchdown was huge for Calgary as it gave the team its first lead of the game, helping propel them to a seven-point victory.

Honourable mention: Terry Godwin’s fumble being negated by a quick whistle

Best game of the week: B.C. Lions at Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Both of these clubs came into Week 19 with something to play for and it showed as they put on a show in Steeltown, putting up 63 points and 751 yards of net offence. There were a number of lead changes and an exhilarating ending as Sean Whyte hit a 48-yard field goal on the final play from scrimmage to secure the win. If these two teams meet in the Grey Cup, it looks like we’ll be in for a great championship game.

Honourable mention: Ottawa Redblacks at Toronto Argonauts

Worst game of the week: Saskatchewan Roughriders at Calgary Stampeders

Do either of these teams want to make the playoffs? It didn’t look like it when they played on Friday night. Calgary’s offence generated only 208 net yards as their receivers dropped a ton of passes, while Saskatchewan committed a whopping six turnovers. One of these two teams will play either B.C. or Winnipeg in the West Semi-Final and, barring a shocking turn of events, that game seems destined to be a massive blowout.

Honourable mention: Montreal Alouettes at Edmonton Elks