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2023 CFL Playoffs top performers: Cody Fajardo leads the way

Having seen the Montreal Alouettes get their hands on the Grey Cup, here’s a look back at some of the top performers from the 2023 CFL Playoffs.

Cody Fajardo - QB, MTL Alouettes

  • Passing: 54/74 (73%), 677 yds, 6TD, 3INT
  • Rushing: 11 carries, 118 yards

He was named the most outstanding player for a reason. Cody Fajardo was superb these playoffs, and was arguably the main reason his Alouettes won a Grey Cup.

He began the playoffs in the East Division Semi-Final, where he was efficient, throwing at over a 65% completion rate with 2 touchdowns, 212 yards, and 1 interception. He also added 62 yards on the ground with just 4 carries. The next game, which was the East Division Final, he had a similar outing. His stat sheet saw 175 passing yards, 38 rushing yards, and a 1/1 TD/INT result. 

It wasn't until the Grey Cup where Fajardo played his best game. The game was a battle the whole way through, and he was ready for it. He threw the ball at an 81% rate, and totalled 290 yards and 3 touchdowns. On the ground he also managed 18 yards. 

Fajardo was the main piece in this Grey Cup win, as he performed at the highest level and showed leadership and confidence the whole way through.

Brady Oliveira - RB, WPG Blue Bombers

  • Rushing: 40 carries, 228 yards, 2 TD
  • Receiving: 3 receptions, 23 yards

Brady Oliveira wasted no time being dominant, as in the West Division Finals, he kicked the game off with a touchdown on the first drive. He ran 21 times and made 2 catches, resulting in 23 touches, 124 yards, and 1 touchdown. He was highly efficient, averaging almost 5.5 yards per touch. 

Then in the Grey Cup, Oliveira was even more efficient. He carried the ball 19 times and totalled 119 yards, which was good enough for 6.3 yards per carry. He scored a touchdown in the first quarter, sparking his team early yet again.

He and his Blue Bombers didn’t win the ultimate prize of a Grey Cup, but his 43 touches (40 carries and 3 receptions) and 251 yards (228 ground and 23 air) made him an outstanding playoff player.

Austin Mack - WR, MTL Alouettes

  • Receiving: 13 Receptions, 185 Yards, 2 TD

Austin Mack had a fantastic season with Montreal, and he looked no different in the playoffs. Mack played all 3 playoff games, and was a factor in each.

In the first game, he grabbed 3 receptions for 46 yards, and had 1 touchdown. He was a big piece in that East Division Semi-Final win. Then, in a defensively-dominated East Division Final, Mack had just 4 receptions and 36 yards.

Then, he showed how dominant he could be in the Grey Cup. He caught 6 receptions, totalling 103 yards, and had a huge touchdown. His electricity really helped his team in the second half of a comeback effort. This star wide receiver finished with the most receiving touchdowns (2) and the second most receptions (13) and yards (185).

Darnell Sankey - LB, MTL Alouettes

  • 23 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions

Darnell Sankey was a force to be reckoned with during the entire playoffs, and was a key contributor to Montreal’s stellar defense.

Overall in these playoffs, Sankey made 22 tackles which was just 1 away from the lead. That was an average of over 7 tackles per game. 

More importantly, Sankey had 3 sacks, with one of them coming in the Grey Cup win. He also added 2 interceptions, coming in the East Division Semi Final, and East Division Final. He led the CFL Playoffs in both of those categories. 

He was a factor in so many plays even when not recording statistics, and was arguably the best defensive player in the entire playoffs.

Vernon Adams Jr. - QB, BC Lions

  • Passing: 41/65 (63.1%), 3TD, 3INT
  • Rushing: 9 carries, 61 yards, 3 TD

Vernon Adams Jr. had a great season as the leader and quarterback of the BC Lions, and he showed flashes of that in the CFL Playoffs. 

In the West Division Semi-Finals, he threw with a near 72% completion percentage, for 413 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the ground he was just as dominant, rushing at almost 7 yards per carry in 9 attempts, and added 3 rushing touchdowns. This was arguably the best performance by any player in the entire playoffs.

In the West Division Semi Final, Adams Jr. took a step back in a losing effort, but he still put up some decent numbers. His 3 interceptions really hindered his team, but he threw for 221 yards and 1 touchdown. 

Vernon Adams Jr. showed two sides during these playoffs, but overall he led all CFL playoff players in rushing touchdowns with 3. He was also second in the entire playoffs in touchdown passes (3), passing yards (634) and completions (41). 

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