Saints vs. Rams Player Grades: Defense and Special Teams

Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

The job was simple: stop Zac Stacy. Stop Zac Stacy, and there's not much the Rams could do offensively. Not that the defense could have done much with the 3 turnovers and the 16 points the offense produced for them, but they did their part in failing in this game as well. Stacy rushed 28 times for 133 yards and a touchdown and as a result Kellen Clemens was able to enjoy short 3rd down plays and easy throws under no pressure. He went 14-20, was never sacked, felt no pressure and never turned the ball over. Because of all of this the Rams were able to coast on 3 second half points and still win comfortably. Don't even get me started on Garrett Hartley. On to the grades...

Cameron Jordan: C (3.02) He had 3 tackles, including one for a loss. He played the run ok, but got no pressure at all on Clemens. The Saints rushed four most of the game in passing situations, and so it's on Jordan and Galette to do their thing. No sacks and just one QB knockdown (by a blitzing safety) tells you all you need to know.

Akiem Hicks: C+ (2.81) He was by far the most active and in the backfield of the defensive line, but twice he went after Kellen Clemens expecting play action and got smoked by the hand off to Stacy. Later he beat his man again and didn't make the same mistake, crushing Stacy in the backfield. He had 3 tackles and one for a loss, but his play could have been so much better if he had found the ball.

Brodrick Bunkley: B+ (2.63) One of the few players that I thought played the run very well. He held blocks and forced Stacy to bounce outside. Anytime things came up the middle he was usually there to plug it up. As the game wore on he played less, likely due to him still nursing an injury. He had 3 tackles.

John Jenkins: B- (2.72) He had one tackle for a loss and had a little push. He didn't hold his blocks as well as Bunkley but played the run fairly well.

Tom Johnson: C- (2.45) He didn't bring anything when he was in on 3rd down pass rushing. Give Clemens some credit for getting the ball out fast.

Glenn Foster: C- (2.37) He was stonewalled rushing the passer on the interior. Like Johnson he was a non factor.

Junior Galette: C- (2.79) Very disappointing game for Galette overall. The stat sheet shows one defended pass, where he did a good job of breaking up a flare pass to Zac Stacy left out on an island. Like his teammates he got no pressure on Clemens.

David Hawthorne: B+ (2.90) One of the few guys that showed up in this game. He led the team with 10 tackles and was all over the field. His coverage wasn't great but he ran well sideline to sideline and most of the time he was very good against the run.

Curtis Lofton: C (2.86) Not a great game from Lofton. He was bad in coverage, getting beat a couple of times on 3rd down plays where he was somehow left covering the slot. He missed some tackles and had some other nice ones. 7 in total. He also gave the Rams a gift 15 yards by tackling Clemens after he slid. You just can't do that.

Will Herring: D (2.38) He didn't play much but managed to get beat for a touchdown in coverage on a goal line throw to Lance Kendricks.

Parys Haralson: C- (2.50) He had 2 tackles and was a non factor.

Keenan Lewis: C+ (2.81) With Tavon Austin out I figured this would be an easy game for him to dominate. He didn't really, giving up a couple 3rd down conversions. He did have nice coverage on a deep ball one on one in coverage. He missed a tackle down the sidelines on Cory Harkey's touchdown. He also came up and had a nice hit on a screen play. He had 2 tackles and 2 defended passes.

Corey White: C- (2.50) He fell down which gave up a huge pass play. Other than that he didn't have too much work. The Rams were content running on almost every play, as evidenced by their 34 to 20 run to pass ratio. When they did throw to White, though, he didn't make any plays. He had 1 tackle. he also pushed Harkey in the back to help him get into the end zone.

Kenny Vaccaro: B- (2.72) He made his biggest impact against the run, as usual. Most impressive was a backside pursuit play late where he hit Stacy short of the first on a 3rd and short run by tracking him down and diving on his back. he had 6 tackles but was beat in coverage a bit.

Roman Harper: C- (2.52) What happened to him? He's not finding the ball and when he's in he's just not making any impact. He looks slow to be, perhaps not 100% from his injury. He had 2 tackles.

Malcolm Jenkins: D- (2.56) He had 4 tackles, including a shoe string tackle of Stacy early that was nice because it saved a touchdown. That saves him from the F, though, because otherwise this was a Spagnuolo era type game from Jenkins. He had two personal foul penalties, meaning he gained 30 yards for the Rams' offense all on his own, he missed tackles, he took horrific angles on the ball carrier numerous times and he was poor in coverage. Disaster game from him.

Isa Abdul-Quddus: C (2.59) He had a pass breakup jumping up to knock down a 3rd down throw that got the Saints off the field. He also had one tackle, but at least a couple bad misses, including one on special teams. He also got knocked down from behind on the last punt by the punter... the shame.

***

Garrett Hartley: D (2.74) I'm sure most of you want me to fail him, but he did make a 45-yarder and he did successfully execute an onsides kick, which is fairly low percentage, so it wasn't all bad. He had two short kicks blocked, though, which crushed any possible momentum the Saints could possibly get. That just can't happen. The last block/miss was a 26-yarder. He's got to get his kicks higher. At this point I don't think he should be the guy next year.

Thomas Morstead: A- (3.36) He had a net average of 50. That's pretty sick. Small sample size, but still. He had one pinned inside the 20. His kickoffs were returned twice, one inside the 20 and one for decent yardage.

Ramon Humber: B (2.63) He did a nice job recovering the onsides kick.

Kevin Reddick: D (2.52) He had a personal foul on a punt return with 5 seconds left in the game. I have no idea why but that's just stupid and pointless. Lose with some dignity.

My Defensive Player of the Game: David Hawthorne

My Special Teams Player of the Game: Thomas Morstead

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