Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
Week 3 stats: 33 of 42 for 358 yards and 2 touchdowns
I'm running out of things to say about Tom Brady, because his start to this season is just obscene. Every one who keeps saying Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback of all-time needs to check his or her privilege and take a look at these numbers: through three games, Brady is 96 of 133 for 1,112 yards, 9 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. His two touchdowns against the Jaguars marked numbers 400 and 401 for his career, a feat accomplished by only three other quarterbacks: Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, and Brett Favre. All of this - coupled with the fact that the Pats offense scored on all nine of their possessions Sunday - brings up the question, "Is this the Patriots best offense in the Brady era?"
Denard Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Week 3 stats: None
Shoelace did not play this week due to a knee injury and has not practiced yet this week.
Jason Avant (Kansas City Chiefs)
Week 3 stats: 2 receptions for 8 yards
After failing to record any stats through two weeks, Avant finally got off the schneid with a pair of catches this week. Even though he hasn't seen much action, Avant has impressed his teammates with his ability to create separation from defenders no matter how many targets he's receiving.
Devin Funchess (Carolina Panthers)
Week 3 stats: 1 catch for 14 yards
Funchess kept his one catch per game streak alive by hauling in a 14-yarder at a critical third down in the fourth quarter. He's earned praise for both making the catch and immediately popping up after taking a big hit that resulted in a targeting penalty. Now he just needs to find a way to catch more than one pass per game!
Taylor Lewan (Tennessee Titans)
Lewan's teammates are singing his praises as he becomes a leader down in Tennessee, a role he feels he failed at in Ann Arbor:
I was a terrible leader in college, I really was. It's sad to say, really. I was put into a situation where I was told what to do, and I kind of lost my identity of my own self, and my own personality my senior year. I hate it. I tried to be something I wasn't, and I was getting on guys all the time and talking down to people. I didn't like who I was as a quote-unquote leader. And I won't be like that again.
Alan Branch (New England Patriots)
Week 3 stats: 1 solo tackle
In limited action - 17 defensive and 3 special teams snaps - Branch managed to snag a lone solo tackle. Through three weeks, Branch is averaging a little over one quarter of the Pats defensive snaps per game.
Mike Martin (Tennessee Titans)
Week 3 stats: None
Martin barely played - 10 total snaps - and failed to record any stats this week.
Kenny Demens (Arizona Cardinals)
Week 3 stats: 2 solo tackles
On 21 (72%) special teams snaps in Week 3, Demens tallied a pair of solo tackles.
Brandon Graham (Philadelphia Eagles)
Week 3 stats: 1 solo tackle, 2 assists
On 47 (62%) of Philly's defensive snaps, Graham made his presence known by generating "a lot of pressure with five hurries and two hits." He earned a +1.5 PFF grade for his performance this week.
David Harris (New York Jets)
Week 3 stats: 5 solo tackles, 4 assists, 1 forced fumble
Harris's dominant Week 3 performance led to Gang Green Nation naming him first star for the game:
David Harris looks like a new man this season, showing up all over the field and showing a lot more energy than in recent years. The Hitman forced a crucial turnover that gave the Jets a chance to turn the game around (though the opportunity was squandered quickly by Fitzpatrick.) He did a good job overall in coverage and was a force against the run. He did allow Sproles to break free on a wheel route that could have resulted in disaster, but it also have required an excellent throw and catch. It didn't happen. Harris probably shouldn't be covering Sproles without any help in the first place, considering how explosive Sproles can be and how Harris' biggest weakness is in coverage. He dealt with a finger injury, but didn't let it stop him from leading the Jets' defense to a solid overall outing, despite the loss.
Jake Ryan (Green Bay Packers)
Week 3 stats: 1 solo tackle
Ryan finally saw some action on defense this week, playing on four(!) snaps as well as 19 more on special teams. Unfortunately, Jake was forced to leave the game early due to a hamstring injury. He has not practiced yet this week.
LaMarr Woodley (Arizona Cardinals)
Week 3 stats: 1 solo tackle, 1 sack
After suffering a shoulder injury last Sunday, Woodley returned to practice on Thursday and played on 60% of Arizona's defensive snaps this week.
Leon Hall (Cincinnati Bengals)
Week 3 stats: 2 solo tackles, 1 assist
After entering the game as probable, Hall played on just less than half of Cincy's defensive snaps. He's looked "excellent" in his role this season, but he and the entire Bengals secondary struggled to contain Steve Smith Sr. on the edges this week.
Jordan Kovacs (Miami Dolphins)
Week 3 stats: None
Like Demens, Kovacs is still only seeing action on special teams with 19 (68%) snaps this week.
Charles Woodson (Oakland Raiders)
Week 3 stats: 4 solo tackles, 2 assists, 2 passes defended, 1 interception
Woodson may not be practicing during the week, but he's still make big plays come gameday. His interception in the final minute sealed Oakland's victory (even though Woodson may have been the reason the interception was so important in the first place). Like I said last week, he exemplifies leadership and determination, as evidenced by the fact that he continues to play at a high-level two weeks after separating his shoulder. For his effort against the Browns, he was nominated for Clutch Player of the Week.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
400 and 401
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sealed the Raiders victory with a pick
OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE WEEK
The one catch that WR Devin Funchess hauled in for the Panthers on Sunday proved to be an important one, according to TE Greg Olsen. Said Olsen of the catch,
I told them then and on the sideline after, I said, "That was the play of the game." We needed to go down, they just went down and scored, we needed to answer the drive. We were up four, so a touchdown would've been great. He made a great contested catch, took a big hit, got the 15-yard penalty. It's a 25 to 30-yard play. I told him that's the play of the game. Those plays in crunch time and in the fourth quarter you just have to hang on and take those shots. That's what were paid to do. For a young kid to come in, that was critical. I think he only caught that ball, but that was as big of a play that we had.
DEFENSIVE PLAY OF THE WEEK
Charles Woodson intercepted a pass from Josh McCown late in the fourth quarter to seal the game for the Raiders. With this pick, Woodson became only the second player in NFL history to have an interception in 18 straight seasons.
WEEK THREE MATCHUPS REVISITED
David Harris vs. the Eagles Offensive Line
Harris had a solid game for the Jets against the Eagles, recording 10 TOT (5 solo) and one QB hit. However, Harris was third on the team in tackles, a category that he typically leads with ease. While Harris is typically skilled at stopping the rushing attack of opposing teams, Eagles RB Ryan Mathews rushed for over 100 yards, which led to their win over the Jets.
WINNER: Eagles Offensive Line
Patrick Omameh vs the Seahawks Defensive Line
The Seahawks defensive line kept consistent pressure on Bears backup QB Jimmy Clausen for a good portion of the game, recording 2 sacks and 6 QB hits. Additionally, Bears RB Matt Forte had a quiet game with 20 rushing attempts that only resulted in 74 yards.
WINNER: Seahawks Defensive Line
Taylor Lewan vs. the Colts Defensive Line
Coming off a lackluster performance in which the Titans offensive line gave up 7 sacks on QB Marcus Mariota, Taylor Lewan and the Titans offensive line looked correct their issues. Against a shaky Colts defensive front, the Titans allowed 3 sacks and 5 QB hits. Although this was a loss for the Titans, the offensive line seemed to improve immensely from Week 2.
Furthermore, Lewan seems to have emerged as one of the Titans' team leaders. Said rookie RT Jeremiah Poutasi of Lewan, "He has done a great job as a leader, he is a very positive person. He communicates well with other people,'' Poutasi said of Lewan. "He works his butt off every day, and that speaks for itself. He wants to be great, and you can see that. Everybody respects Taylor as a leader."
WINNER: Taylor Lewan
WEEK FOUR MATCHUPS TO WATCH
David Harris vs. the Dolphins Offensive Line
Harris has had a spectacular season for the Jets during the first 3 games of the 2015 season, recording 25 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 forced fumbles. He will be matched up this weekend against a Dolphins offensive line that is struggling. Look for Harris to have an impressive game and make a big play or two.
ADVANTAGE: David Harris
Brandon Graham vs. the Redskins Offensive Line
Graham has had a quiet season thus far as an OLB for the Eagles, only recording 5 TOT in 3 games. While the Redskins offensive line was atrocious in the preseason, they have improved immensely during the first 3 games of the 2015 season. The Redskins rushing attack is near the top on the league and the linemen have only given up 4 total sacks in 3 games. Look for the Redskins offensive line to continue to improve this weekend against Graham and the Eagles.
ADVANTAGE: Redskins Offensive Line
Devin Funchess vs. the Buccaneers Secondary
Funchess has only recorded 3 receptions for the Panthers so far this season, which could be due in part to a hamstring injury that he has been battling. In week 3, Funchess will be pitted against a Buccaneers secondary that is ranked 11th in the league in passing defense. Except Funchess to have another quiet game, perhaps until his injury is completely healed.
ADVANTAGE: Buccaneers Secondary