A 26-20 overtime upset loss at home in the first round of the playoffs to the Minnesota Vikings ended the Super Bowl dreams of the New Orleans Saints in 2019. The loss soured an otherwise outstanding season by the Saints, who had perhaps the deepest talent in the league on both sides of the ball. That depth was especially tested on the defensive side of the ball for New Orleans, who had numerous starters miss 39 starts during the year. Despite a series of injuries, the Saints still had one of the league's most disruptive defensive units. They had 51 sacks, 20 forced turnovers, and three defensive touchdowns while holding opponents to less than 35% 3rd down conversions and 7 opponents to less than 20 points. Here are our 2019 New Orleans Saints defensive game balls.
(HONORABLE MENTION: Vonn Bell, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, A.J. Klein)
Malcom Brown, Defensive tackle
Brown was a crucial offseason free agent signing by New Orleans. He bolstered an already outstanding run defense and added underrated pass rushing skills. Brown had 6 tackles for loss and a forced fumble among his 34 total stops and keyed a 4th ranked run defense that held opponents to just 91 yards per game.
He provided a disruptive interior pass rush for the New Orleans defensive line as well, notching 2 sacks and 4 quarterback pressures. Brown's high level of play helped offset the loss of tackle Sheldon Rankins, who missed nearly half the year with injuries, and maintained the Saints disruptive interior play.
Demario Davis, Linebacker
Despite being snubbed in the Pro Bowl vote for the second consecutive year, the 30-Yr old Davis earned his first All-Pro bid. The eighth year linebacker was an absolute force for the Saints defense all year against both the run and pass.
He finished with a team-leading 111 tackles, including 11 for loss. Ball carriers had no chance of escape once in Davis' crosshairs, evidenced by only five missed tackles credited against him. He was not only a brutal force against the run, but extremely effective against the pass as both a rusher and in coverage. Davis racked up 4 sacks among his 15 qb pressures, was credited with 12 passes defensed and pulled in 1 interception. Davis was the epitome of an every down defender at linebacker, and one of the NFL's finest defensive players.
Cameron Jordan, Defensive end
Jordan continues to fly under the national radar as one of the league's best pass rushers and best all-around defensive linemen. Cam had a career high 15.5 sacks in 2019, and racked up an incredible 49 pressures despite constant blatant holding from opposing linemen. He was a stable of consistency, recording at least one sack in eleven games on the way to his third consecutive Pro Bowl and fifth such honor in his career.
Jordan is also one of the best run defenders among edge players. He had 53 tackles this season, including 15 for loss, and is a nightmare for offensive tackles on every play.
Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback
Despite a poor performance in his team's playoff loss, Lattimore solidified his place among the league's best cornerbacks in 2019. He rendered top receivers such as Amari Cooper, Mike Evans, Julio Jones, and T.Y. Hilton completely ineffective on the way to his second Pro Bowl berth in three seasons.
Lattimore had 1 interception and 18 passes defensed in 2019, while allowing quarterbacks to complete just 3 scores and only 50% of their attempts into his coverage. His season, like his team, ended in disappointment, but the future looks bright for both the 23-Yr old corner and for a defense full of young stars.
Who was the 2019 M.V.P. for the Saints defense?
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