Below are the player grades for the defense and special teams vs. the Panthers.
Panthers vs Saints boxscore
Will Smith: B+ (2.79) Will Smith was partly to blame for the big touchdown run DeAngelo Williams had on the second play of the game. He had a clear shot at Williams, but tried to shove him instead of going for his legs/ankles to trip him up. Instead of slowing Williams down, he gave him a little boost to spring free. He made other mistakes against the run and was not at his best as he over pursued the edge allowing gaps. Otherwise, his pass rush was constant and overall fantastic. He finished with 4 tackles, 3 for losses (2 of those sacks) and a forced fumble at the biggest of times. He could have been credited with 3 sacks, but a bobbled snap by Jake Delhomme led to a Smith tackle and was ruled a running play. Smith has played the run better than in this game, but overall he's had a fantastic season. Half way through the year he's at 6.5 sacks, so he's on pace for 13, which would be a career best. He's already more than doubled his sack total from last year.
Courtney Roby: B- (2.71) Roby was good on coverage, forcing a fair catch on Morstead's first punt. He was disciplined and downed kickoffs deep in the end zone. He took one out and was able to get past the 20. He averaged 23 yards on 2 returns, so nothing special there but no mistakes either.
Defensive Player of the Game: Roman Harper
Special Teams Player of the Game: John Carney