3DownNation CFL awards: the best and worst of Week 20

Photo courtesy: Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards/Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Edmonton Elks and Saskatchewan Roughriders closed out their seasons this past weekend in losing fashion as the Calgary Stampeders punched their ticket to the playoffs in a surprising upset over the B.C. Lions. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts continued their winning ways despite playing in meaningless contests, while the league’s other three teams sat out on a bye.

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 Samuel Emilus, Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Montreal native made seven catches for 137 yards and one touchdown in his team’s 29-26 loss to the Toronto Argonauts to finish the year with 70 receptions for 1,097 yards and six touchdowns. It was a breakout season for the 25-year-old as he and Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ target Nic Demski became the first two Canadian receivers to reach 1,000 yards in the same season since Andy Fantuz and Brad Sinopoli did so in 2016.

Honourable mention: REC Eugene Lewis, Edmonton Elks

Defensive player of the week: LB Cameron Judge, Calgary Stampeders

The 28-year-old was a game-wrecker against B.C. and a big part of the reason why the Lions committed six turnovers. He made six tackles, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and climbed the ladder to make a sensational interception before returning it to the nine-yard line. Judge has now made a career-high 90 tackles, five interceptions, two sacks, and two forced fumbles this season.

Honourable mention: LB Adam Bighill, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Special teams player of the week: KR Deontez Alexander, Edmonton Elks

The rookie went untouched as he brought a kickoff 98 yards back for a touchdown against the Blue Bombers, recording Edmonton’s first kick return touchdown since 2015. The Elks snapped a 22-game home losing streak and a 13-game losing streak earlier this year and managed to erase one more dubious streak before wrapping up their 2023 campaign. It was still a disappointing season for Edmonton, though they’ve at least wiped the slate clean for 2024.

Honourable mention: LB Jordan Reaves, Edmonton Elks

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

Breakout player of the week: RB Daniel Adeboboye, Toronto Argonauts

The former second-round draft pick recorded nine carries for 109 yards and one touchdown in a relief performance behind A.J. Ouellette, showing the Argos are in good hands even without their top ball carrier in the lineup. The Toronto native has made 31 special teams tackles over the past two seasons but appears ready to take on a larger role in the offence, which he should earn next season following the retirement of Andrew Harris.

Honourable mention: DB Mason Pierce, Toronto Argonauts

Offensive line of the week: Calgary Stampeders

It took 17 games but the Stampeders finally remembered they’re a run-first team as D’Antne Demery, Zack Williams, Sean McEwen, Ryan Sceviour, and Joshua Coker helped Ka’Deem Carey, Peyton Logan, and Tommy Stevens combine for 206 yards and three touchdowns along the ground. The unit also allowed only one sack against a dangerous B.C. front seven, which ranks second league-wide in quarterback takedowns this season.

Honourable mention: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

Coach of the week: HC Dave Dickenson, Calgary Stampeders

It’s been a rough year in Calgary but the veteran bench boss found a way to galvanize his team with their backs against the wall. The Stampeders upset one of the league’s top teams in decisive fashion and booked their ticket to the postseason as a result, finally finding the offensive identity they’ve lacked all year.

Honourable mention: DC Brent Monson, Calgary Stampeders

Best play of the week: REC Reggie Begelton, Calgary Stampeders

Calgary’s passing game has ranged anywhere from mediocre to anemic this season but Reggie Begelton helped ignite it with this sensational grab, which set up a short touchdown run from Tommy Stevens just before halftime. There were four Lions in the area but Begelton out-leapt T.J. Lee to bring this one down for a big gain, helping his team secure a victory that propelled them to the playoffs.

Honourable mention: REC Damonte Coxie, Toronto Argonauts

Worst play of the week: OL Trevon Tate, Toronto Argonauts

The four-year veteran not only whiffed on a block that caused Chad Kelly to take a nasty shot to his throwing shoulder but he also failed to recover the ensuing fumble after losing his balance while trying to pick it up off the turf. Offensive linemen are usually taught to simply fall on the ball when it’s fumbled and Tate’s failure to corral the pigskin exemplified why they’re generally not encouraged to try to pick it up on the run.

Honourable mention: QB Dominique Davis, B.C. Lions

Best game of the week: Toronto Argonauts at Saskatchewan Roughriders

These teams combined for over 1,000 yards of offence as the Riders fought to keep their playoff hopes alive. After a couple of fourth-quarter possessions fizzled out for Toronto, Cameron Dukes drove the ball 82 yards in 53 seconds as Richie Sindani reeled in an impressive third-down catch and Damonte Coxie made a highlight-reel grab to set up the game-winning touchdown. Rider Nation wasn’t happy with the result but this game was still an instant classic from Mosaic Stadium.

Honourable mention: Edmonton Elks at Winnipeg Blue Bombers

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

Kudos to Calgary for playing easily their best game of the year but B.C.’s usually dominant offence was abysmal, as Vernon Adams Jr. and Dane Evans threw four interceptions and short-yardage quarterback Dominique Davis lost a fumble in the red zone. This contest was over by the end of the third quarter and it got bogged down a little near the end with some questionable calls from the officials. It certainly wasn’t a bad game but it was the weakest of a strong slate.

Honourable mention: Edmonton Elks at Winnipeg Blue Bombers