See below for the grades of the Saints' defense and special teams vs. the Giants. The letter grade represents the player's grade for the game, and the GPA in parentheses is their cumulative GPA for the season of all games combined.
Giants vs Saints coverage
Giants vs Saints recap
Giants vs Saints boxscore
: C- (2.67)
Smith ended with just 1 tackle and had a very quiet day. He was double teamed several times, a sure sign of respect for his abilities. He did a good job of turning a Brandon Jacobs
play on the edge into a negative gain by pushing back the point of attack. Other than that he was more absent than usual.
Grant was involved downfield and I've noticed a lot more hustle from him this season. While he didn't have as impressive of a day rushing the passer, he did a good job against the run. He finished with 4 tackles.
Ayodele didn't do a good job against the run, and he looked slow and out of position on numerous plays. On one pile up he showed poor awareness and allowed Jacobs to push the pile for an extra yard before jumping in to tackle him. He saves his grade somewhat with a meaningless sack at the end of the game.
Ellis was utterly invisible. He did a poor job rushing Manning and finished with 1 tackle. The Saints were fortunate the Giants didn't run the ball much due to Jacobs' injury and the fact that they were down so many points, they had to pass. The Giants did look effective when they ran, and averaged 4.4 yards per carry for the game. A forgettable performance by a guy who's had an otherwise good season.
We know McCray can rush the passer and get after it with his motor, but it was really nice to see him get involved against the run and make a couple plays. He was close to sacking Eli Manning
on a couple pass rushes, knocking him down twice. He finished with 2 tackles.
Hargrove had 2 tackles in limited action. Relatively quiet day, but he seemed active when he was in the game. I've yet to see Hargrove duplicate the kind of performances he had in the preseason which earned him his roster spot. I have a feeling his breakout game will come soon.
Fans like to rip on Shanle and talk about how he can be replaced, but this game was a perfect example of how solid he is. Shanle finished with 5 tackles and played a very sound game. He was involved on numerous plays and ran very well sideline to sideline. The guy is a sure tackler and he seems to always play within the defense without making mistakes. Shanle recovered a fumble that he picked up and ran inside the Giants' 10 setting up a Saints' touchdown. I can understand why Gregg Williams loves him.
Unfortunately for Vilma, the most memorable play of the game for him was a roughing the passer helmet to helmet hit on Manning that negated a Darren Sharper
interception return for a touchdown. As the team's leading tackler a year ago, he finished with just 4 tackles and is off to a slow start in his tackle tally total.
Troy Evans: D+ (1.33)
Evans made some mistakes filling in for the injured Scott Fujita
. He looked especially weak in pass coverage and he was beaten badly on an 18 yard pass to Kevin Boss
. He did have 4 tackles, but he didn't have that sure tackling cerebral play that we're so accustomed to with Fujita. Hopefully we'll get #55 back next week, otherwise Evans will have to step up his performance.
Greer was absolutely fantastic in coverage and he tied for the team lead with 5 tackles. As usual he was helpful in run support when the opposing runners would hit the second level and he tackled well when receivers made plays. He intercepted Eli Manning in the 3rd Quarter which killed a promising drive and he also broke up a deep ball playing picture perfect coverage.
Porter laid his usual hard hits, finished with 4 tackles, and defended a couple passes as well. He laid a huge blow on Steve Smith on what would have been a big gain, but the hit jarred the ball loose for an incomplete pass. We've got one heck of a tandem at cornerback. Porter showed nice speed catching Nicks from behind, too.
Gay had 1 tackle and had a couple plays where he showed off good coverage. Quiet game, but no major mistakes.
Harper had a major error in coverage that led to a 58 yard pass play to Hakeem Nicks
, but it's hard to get mad at him when he makes so many plays. I love that Gregg Williams blitzes him so much because he is great at it and he always seems to cause trouble in the backfield. Right before halftime Harper sacked Manning and forced a fumble that the Saints would recover. He had 5 tackles and also had good pressure on Manning, which at one point, led to an errant pass and interception by Greer.
Darren Sharper: B- (3.20)
It's too bad Vilma had that roughing the passer penalty because Sharper almost had his 6th interception in 5 games and his 3rd touchdown. Sharper looked slow and beat on a couple plays, including one that was a sure touchdown had Manning not overthrown the ball. Sharper had another shot at an interception on the touchdown pass to Mario Manningham
, but had the ball wrestled away from him. Otherwise, he was active and around the ball. He had 3 tackles and 2 defended passes.
Easy day for Carney, he attempted 7 extra points and that's it. Hard to give him a much better grade when he had an extra point blocked.
Morstead wasn't great punting. He had a touchback on one punt and he outkicked his coverage twice setting up Hixon for big returns. Morstead got less depth on his kickoffs than usual, but give him credit for saving the Saints twice on poor kickoff coverages. He had a tackle once and redirected Hixon into a tackler another time.
Nothing too special, but Roby did a good job hitting his lanes hard. He wasn't able to break one, but he did get the Saints 15 extra yards twice (once getting horse collared, once being brought down by a facemask penalty). Roby averaged 22.8 yards per return and gave the Saints pretty good field position.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jabari Greer
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE GAME: Courtney Roby