Saints vs. Bears 2013 Player Grades: Defense and Special Teams

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The defense in the first quarter played by far their best of the entire season. As the game progressed they seemed to get less pressure because the team had a lead and they went to more of a safe shell. That led to them getting picked apart more by Jay Cutler. The Bears starting to get chunks of yards on the ground, and Alshon Jeffery started to give a performance worthy of Joey Galloway and Flipper Anderson in their prime against the Saints. 10 catches for 218 yards is just not ok. But the Saints started off so well defensively, they had the benefit of a two score lead and they never looked back. And once again, for the fifth straight game, they hold an opponent under 20 points. On to the grades...

Cameron Jordan: B (3.07) Another active game by Jordan where he mixed solid run defense with consistent pressure on the quarterback. He never sacked Cutler but often forced him to redirect in the pocket. He had 3 tackles, 1 for a loss, and hit Cutler a couple of times. He also recovered a fumble early and returned it 11 yards inside the Bears' 10.

Akiem Hicks: C- (2.20) A very quiet day for Hicks who hasn't been making much of an impact the last couple of weeks. I wonder if he's running out of gas a bit playing such a high snap count? He held his space well enough against the run and clogged the middle but got very little interior penetration or push. His pass rushing is not getting the job done and he was neutralized often. No stats.

John Jenkins: B- (3.00) Just the one tackle but once again he made his presence felt in the trenches and he showed impressive quickness in pursuit. For his size he can really move. He continues to be a huge asset, no pun intended.

Tom Johnson: C- (2.17) Finally back from injury he came in mostly on passing downs to spell the starters for pass rushing. He made no impact.

Glenn Foster: C (2.33) Like Johnson he came in on pass rushing plays and didn't do much. He did apply some pressure beating the lineman a couple of times, but left Cutler a huge lane to run through once for a nice gain.

Junior Galette: C+ (3.00) Like Cam Jordan he got a ton of pressure of Jay Cutler but was never rewarded with a sack. Cutler is pretty slippery for not being what I consider a "mobile" quarterback. Galette gave Jermon Bushrod all he could handle. He had 1 tackle but hit Cutler twice.

David Hawthorne: A- (2.93) An extremely good performance by Hawthorne, both in run support and in coverage. He even timed a blitz perfectly to notch a sack. He had 5 tackles, 2 for a loss, and a sack. He continues to be playing good ball and is one of the most underrated performers on this defense. A complete performance for him.

Curtis Lofton: B+ (3.07) Led the team in tackles with 9 and was all over the place. He was so-so and coverage which is standard, and he missed a couple plays laterally by being slow to the sideline, but he was all over the field, physical and tackled well for the most part.

Martez Wilson: C (2.33) Was neutralized in spot duty as a pass rusher unfortunately, but did a good job of talking Matt Forte on a short running play, despite run support being his weakness.

Ramon Humber: C (2.22) He had a nice tackle of Alshon Jeffery at the ankles, and played a decent amount in passing situations going in coverage. He did ok and had 4 tackles (one on special teams, stopping Devin Hester) but too many times he got beat down the middle or off the edge.

Parys Haralson: B- (2.53) Played very little but the one time I saw him in there they ran right at him, he controlled his block and smothered Forte after just a 2 yard gain. I'm not sure why he doesn't play more, he does well when he's in.

Keenan Lewis: B (2.93) Once again very good coverage from Lewis. Cutler barely looked his way and didn't mess with him. He had one tackle and a beautiful break up on a pass to Earl Bennett on 3rd down where he did a good job stripping the ball loose. Of course on 4th down Cutler went back to Bennett and Lewis was beat but fortunate Bennett dropped a very each catch.

Jabari Greer: D+ (2.47) Unlike Lewis he struggled mightily at times. He did a decent job of attacking the play when it was in from of him but he was poor going after the play behind him. He had 5 tackles and a very tough time with Jeffery. He was beaten on both touchdown passes and torched by Jeffery.

Chris Carr: C- (2.33) Like Greer his coverage was quite suspect. He had one tackle but struggled to slow down the Bears' passing attack.

Corey White: B- (2.60) He did pretty well in coverage, though he was beat once. He had one tackle and made a terrific read and jump on a ball deep in Saints territory that was about a quarter step away from being a pick six.

Kenny Vaccaro: B- (2.67) A very active game for Vaccaro where he was heavily involved on numerous key plays. He registered a sack blitzing, and had 6 tackles. He also had a good shot at an interception but decided to swat the ball away instead. He also got beat numerous times by Jeffery and had some serious trouble in coverage. And up and down performance but once again some real positives.

Malcolm Jenkins: B+ (2.80) He came up with the play of the game defensively on the blitz, sack and forced fumble. That was a big time turnover at a critical stage. He was close to a second sack, too, that Vaccaro finished off. He also put a "remember me hit" on Martellus Bennett that he didn't look the same after receiving. He had 3 tackles and an overall quiet but good game. His play is light years better than last season. There is no comparison. Nice to see him making plays again.

Rafael Bush: B- (2.33) I was most impressed on an open field tackle on the sideline he had of Forte as the last line of defense that prevented a big run from being a huge run. He was decent on the back end in coverage. He had 3 tackles.

***

Garrett Hartley: A (3.27) Fantastic game by Hartley who was rock solid and down the middle on all kicks, despite tricky conditions with a little bit of wind and horrible footing. He made four field goals (47, 19, 36 and 48) and two extra points. He always gets unfair heat from Saints fans, I think, and it's time to back off if you're one of those people because he's been incredibly solid this year.

Thomas Morstead: A- (3.73) He could not have been better on kickoffs, and he made Hester a non factor in the return game. He averaged 48.8 yards on 4 punts, but did allow a 17 yard punt return by Hester and had a touchback, his first of the season. His net was only 39.5 but he had one of his best punts of the season which went out at the 2. He also blasted one 56 yards. Most importantly his job was to make sure Hester didn't hurt the Saints, and overall mission accomplished overwhelmingly. He remains the highest graded player on the team.

Kevin Reddick: B- (2.89) Helped slow down Devin Hester with a critical special teams tackle.

***

My Defensive Player of the Game: David Hawthorne

My Special Teams Player of the Game: Garrett Hartley

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