Special teams is much tougher to grade than defense because a lot of times mistakes are hard to pin point. But in theory, the entire unit deserves an F for how they covered kickoffs. That was a joke and David Wilson pretty much won this game on his own. It was also an up and down performance by the defense, which looked ok at times and seemed to revert back to early season form at others. Make the jump for the grades.
Will Smith: C (2.38) He had two tackles, including one for a loss against the run. He also had one pressure where he hit Eli Manning and knocked him down as he was throwing. Other than that, he was neutralized in passing situations. The Giants mostly ran away from him, but this was another mediocre performance.
Cam Jordan: B- (2.62) While he did the best job on the line generating pressure off the edge, no one really did it well. He had 5 tackles and tipped a pass. He continues to be active and stout against the run. It's becoming increasingly clear he's the best defensive end on the team.
Martez Wilson: D (2.26) If he can't rush the passer well, he can't do anything. He was pancaked and blown completely out of the play a few times, including once by Martellus Bennett who is lighter in the pads than most blockers he'll face. He had one tackle and a hit on Manning that he was fortunate wasn't flagged as it came a little late. He was also part of the dumpster fire kickoff coverage unit.
Junior Galette: D (2.30) A very quiet game that saw him completely neutralized in all pass rushing sequences. The lone play he was visible was on a wheel route to David Wilson where he did a decent job staying with him but got victimized. His run defense was poor.
Broderick Bunkley: C- (2.25) At times he did a good job collapsing the interior, but the Giants ran for 135 yards on 27 carries and he's the Saints top run stopper. The Giants attacked the edges more and less in the interior, so this was more on the edge (ends and linebackers) but he had no tackles and minimal impact.
Sedrick Ellis: C+ (2.10) He seems to be playing better as of late. He was active, notching four tackles, valuable against the run, and got some interior pressure. He hurt the Saints with an illegal hands to the face penalty, though.
Tom Johnson: C- (2.18) He had one tackle, was poor against the run, and generated no pass rush.
David Hawthorne: B (2.21) A pretty good showing from the Saints' linebacker who seems to be getting his legs back. He looked better running sideline to sideline and he was physical against the run. He had 5 tackles, including one for a loss. Like Ellis he seems to improve as the season wears on.
Curtis Lofton: C+ (2.74) Tough to grade Lofton because as good as he is against the run, he's a severe liability in coverage. He was beaten badly by Bennett on a touchdown pass and in general the Saints were fortunate Eli didn't look his tight end's way more often because he was wide open on numerous plays. He did lead the team with 9 tackles, though, and once again is a beast running sideline to sideline, absorbing blockers, finding the ball and tackling well.
Jonathan Vilma: C (2.00) Not great in coverage and just decent against the run, he finished with 4 tackles. This game wasn't as bad as some this year.
Jonathan Casillas: C- (2.14) He had one tipped pass and covered fine. He didn't make much of an impact defensive and he too was part of the special teams debacle.
Jabari Greer: C- (2.34) Disappointing day for Greer who dropped the easiest interception he'll ever have on the opening drive. He had 5 tackles and was consistently beat by Nicks and Cruz when he lined up against him.
Patrick Robinson: C- (2.00) The deep fade to Hakeem Nicks play where he had no awareness of the ball was an F- play. Just awful. In general he struggled to stay with his man and was beaten a few times. He finished with 7 tackles and a defended pass and did a decent job against the run. It's been a brutal year for him.
Elbert Mack: B- (2.89) He had one tackle and the massive 73 yard pick six to give the Saints a 7-0 lead. While that play was huge and almost deserves an A grade all by itself, Mack was blown up several times on special teams opening up huge lanes and he was faked out of his jersey and made looked stupid by Victor Cruz. He was either benched or shaken up late in the game and seemed to have a disagreement with the Saints' coaching staff.
Johnny Patrick: D- (1.67) Bad on special teams and even worse when he filled in defensively, whiffing badly in press coverage on Victor Cruz to give up a cakewalk touchdown. Based on what I've seen this year I question if he makes the roster next season.
Roman Harper: B (2.44) He was good against the run, covered ok, and while he was late on a couple throws he definitely laid the wood with some remember me blows to the pass catchers. He had 7 tackles.
Rafael Bush: C- (2.88) He got extended playing time with IAQ due to Jenkins' injury. He is also guilty on the kickoff coverage crew, and he didn't offer much on defense other than a couple decent hits. He had 2 tackles.
Isa Abdul-Quddus: B (2.33) The interception was sick where he came out of nowhere from center field and read the play well. I've almost never seen Malcolm Jenkins do that. He had 5 tackles and came close to picking another one. The only negative is he badly blew an open field tackle on David Wilson's last 52 yard run, and took bad angles on a couple others. I'm pretty impressed with both him and Bush, though, and I wouldn't mind rolling with them as starters next year (no joke). At the very least I'd like to see them both playing more these next few weeks on defense.
Garrett Hartley: A- (2.92) He's been pretty great lately. Perfect on 2 shorter field goals and an extra point. One of his PATs was a near miss just inside the goal post, though.
Thomas Morstead: C- (3.10) His kickoffs weren't deep at all due to the weather and that definitely affected his coverage unit. He did average a whopping 45.8 NET on 4 punts, so he boomed the ball well punting, and he did have two nice tackles to save touchdowns. Still, this was a bad day for all parties involved on special teams.
Travaris Cadet: D (2.06) His kick returning sucks. Can we get Sproles back there already? He takes it out every time and always fails to get to the 20. Just kneel is Travaris, PLEASE.
Will Herring: D- (1.79) He was constantly running after the returner, slowly, with his back to the play. I've decided to punish everyone on special teams with bad grades for this performance - which was criminal.
Courtney Roby: C- (2.89) I boost his grade ever so slightly for at least hustling and making a tackle, and in general screaming at his guys for sucking so badly, but by no means does he deserve a good grade either.
Ramon Humber: D- (2.50) He had one tackle, but needed to make about 5 more.
My Defensive Player of the Game: Isa Abdul-Quddus
My Special Teams Player of the Game: Garrett Hartley
...I was driving through Alabama heading home to LA. from a friend's funeral near Atlanta, GA., while listening to the game. It was my birthday too, so it was a shitty ending to a sad week.
I was thinking Morstead was not kicking deep because he didn't want the Giants to feel comfortable returning the ball and let them have a good view of the field for a couple of seconds. Like a glorified punt.. like suggested of late...