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Wolverines in the NFL: Funchess settling in

Funchess earned his first career start this week, and it looks like he's finally turned the corner, hauling in four passes for 64 yards and one touchdown. Also, Brady finds a way to win, Hall is good...then bad, and Shoelace receives some more carries.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports


Tom Brady (New England Patriots)

Week 11 stats: 20/39 for 277 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception

The Pats-Bills game on Monday night was Ugly with a capital "U" as both offenses struggled to do anything and blunders by the refs became a major part of the game. Brady recorded his worst start of the season but probably would have another touchdown if not for an inadvertent whistle from the refs. The Bills pressured Brady more than any other team this season, but when they didn't, he torched them. He led a six-play, 62-yard touchdown drive in 33 seconds in the final minute of the first half. Those quick points proved critical later, especially considering the aforementioned screwup by the refs. Offensive line issues could eventually doom the Patriots, but for now, Brady and Co. are getting the job done as they are still undefeated at 10-0.

Running Back

Denard Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Week 11 stats: 7 carries for 27 yards

While starter T.J. Yeldon received most of the workload last Thursday night, Shoelace played backup and matched his season-high in carries with seven as well as setting a season-high in yardage. Hopefully this leads to more action for Denard as the NFL season comes down the stretch.

Wide Receiver

Jason Avant (Kansas City Chiefs)

Week 11 stats: 2 receptions for 26 yards on 2 targets

A solid performance for Avant after two consecutive stat-less weeks. He also made a key block on this big run:

Devin Funchess (Carolina Panthers)

Week 11 stats: 4 receptions for 64 yards and one touchdown on 8 targets

The Panthers remain undefeated, and Funchess is starting to come into his own. He's had a positive PFF grade for three straight weeks, he earned his first career start this week, and he's making "some great plays" after struggling early this year. From Cat Scratch Reader:

Devin Funchess caught a lot of hell until a few weeks ago, and a lot of it was deserved. He didn't get separation, he dropped passes and for a while even staunch proponents got a little scared. These last three weeks, and especially on Sunday he showed his maturation. Being forced to play in Corey Brown's stead, Funchess caught four passes for 64 yards and a touchdown, he led the entire team in receiving. Cam made sure to get him involved early and it paid dividends late.

Defensive Line

Alan Branch (New England Patriots)

Week 11 stats: None

Branch failed to record any stats this week even though his usage shot up to 49% - due to the run-heavy Bills - when the Pats were on defense. However, Buffalo struggled to 94 yards rushing on 30 carries, so it seems Branch's presence made a difference even if it didn't show up in the box score.

Mike Martin (Tennessee Titans)

Week 11 stats: None

Martin did not play this week. This is the fourth week in a row Martin failed to see any game action.


Brandon Graham (Philadelphia Eagles)

Week 11 stats: 2 solo tackles

This was an ugly week for the entire Eagles organization, including Graham, as the Bucs blew them out 45-17. When all that stands out in the game recap is an offside penalty Graham committed, you know this is a game to be forgotten.

David Harris (New York Jets)

Week 11 stats: 5 solo tackles, 3 assists, 1 pass defended, 1 QB hit

Standard fare for Harris this week as the Jets dropped their second consecutive game. Overall, the Jets defense looked bad against a normally lackluster Houston Texans offense.

Jake Ryan (Green Bay Packers)

Week 11 stats: None

After what looked like a breakout performance for Ryan two week's ago that would earn him more playing time, he's been on the field for just one defensive snap in the past two games. Baffling. If there's any Packers fans reading this, I'd be curious to know if there's a solid reason why.

LaMarr Woodley (Arizona Cardinals)

Week 11 stats: None

Woodley had a quiet game in the box score this week on one-third of Arizona's defensive snaps. He continues to play a small role in their defense.


Leon Hall (Cincinnati Bengals)

Week 11 stats: 4 solo tackles, 2 assists, 1 pass defended, 1 interception

It was a tale of two halves for Hall this week. On the opening drive, he intercepted Carson Palmer - the 25th pick of his career - to swing momentum in Cincy's favor. However, he was "torched" by Larry Fitzgerald on Arizona's final drive, surrendering two catches for 38 yards that setup a Cardinals game-winning field goal. With Darqueze Dennard lost for the rest of the season, Hall will be leaned upon more as the Bengals try to bounce back from consecutive losses following eight straight wins.

Jordan Kovacs (Miami Dolphins)

Week 11 stats: None

Kovacs played on 15 (71%) special teams snaps and failed to record any stats.

Charles Woodson (Oakland Raiders)

Week 11 stats: 6 solo tackles

Woodson should have had an interception this week against the Detroit Lions as Matthew Stafford overthrew a pass by him. However, Woodson didn't make the play and had a quiet performance overall.


Devin Funchess

First career start, second career touchdown, and the Panthers leading receiver


David Harris

Nobody else stood out much


Cam Newton to Devin Funchess

Check out this gem:


Michael Schofield vs. the Bears Defensive Line

The Broncos rushing attack came alive on Sunday, headlined by running back Ronnie Hillman going for 102 yards. However, the pass protection left much to be desired, with QB Brock Osweiler enduring constant pressure and five sacks throughout the game. Schofield struggled for a majority of the game, missing blocks and failing to pick up on the blitz multiple times.

WINNER: Bears Defensive Line

Charles Woodson vs. the Lions Receivers

Woodson had a rare quiet game on Sunday during his return to the Mitten State, only recording six total tackles. On the other side of the ball, Lions receivers went for 282 total yards during the 18-13 win. However, Woodson was extremely close to recording his ninth career interception against the Lions late in the game when QB Matthew Stafford overthrew a wide-open Eric Ebron. We'll consider this matchup a "draw" just because it appeared that Woodson was everywhere on the field during this game.


Tom Brady vs. the Bills Secondary

The Bills defense had their way with Tom Brady on Monday night. He was sacked once and was hit several times throughout the course of the game, while only completing half of his passes. While the Patriots did come away with a win against Buffalo, Brady worked hard for every completed pass. We will give this matchup win to the Bills defense as a whole, due in large part to the constant pressure that Brady endured during the game.

WINNER: Bills Defense


Tom Brady vs. the Broncos Defense

While the Broncos offense has been getting the majority of the attention in Denver following Peyton Manning's worse start of his NFL career, the Denver defense has quietly been putting together a spectacular season. They are currently ranked first in the league in points allowed per game (18.3) and yards allowed per game (284). However, they will perhaps have their toughest test of the season thus far when Tom Terrific and the Patriots come to town. Expect a defensive battle in this game, and with the decimated offensive line for the Julian Edelman-less Patriots, Brady may come out of the gate struggling. It's the classic case of an unstoppable force clashing with an immovable object, and it's going to be a good one.

ADVANTAGE: Broncos Defense

Devin Funchess vs. the Cowboys Secondary

Funchess once again proved to Cam Newton and the Panthers that he is a legitimate offensive threat, catching another touchdown on Sunday and leading the team in reception yards. In Week 12, he will be matched up against a Cowboys defense that is ranked 16th overall. While the defense has been steadily improving week to week, they have struggled with forcing turnovers. They are currently 30th in the league in turnover differential, only having six takeaways. Look for Funchess to continue to steadily improve week to week and see his playing time gradually increase as a result.

ADVANTAGE: Devin Funchess

David Harris vs. the Dolphins Offensive Line

Harris posted yet another solid game in Week 11 against the Texans. To date in 2015, he has recorded 2.5 sacks along with 71 total tackles. The Dolphins come to town on Sunday with a struggling offensive line that ranks 19th in the league per Football Outsiders. They have also given up 27 sacks this season, and because of that, expect Harris to record one (or two) of his own.

ADVANTAGE: David Harris