DE Will Smith—Grade—A-
Will Smith—and the rest of the d-line—were all over the place from the second quarter on. Smith batted a few passes down, slowed the running game and got in the face of Josh Freeman. It was really interesting to see Smith and the line almost shift into a new mode in this game.
DT Brodrick Bunkley—Grade—A-
Brodrick Bunkley has stepped his game up recently. It’s almost as if someone got in his grill and told him they’d kill his dog if his play didn’t improve.
I don’t know what actually happened but the point stands—Bunkley’s play is approximately a million degrees different and improved from earlier in the season. He made impact plays in the run game and even started to do so against the pass.
DT Sedrick Ellis—Grade—c
It is possible that Sed Ellis himself recognizes his time in black and gold is coming to a halt. If not, he is blind to his own incompetence. Sunday his play was invisible as he stunk the place up. That’s probably why he eventually left the game. He was somehow in the game at the end when the Saints were trying to create pressure with a three-man front.
DE Cameron Jordan—Grade—A
Anyone who has read anything I’ve written, knows I love Cam Jordan. Sunday that faith was rewarded as Jordan may have had his finest game of his young career. It seems to me he batted a pass down, while also making outstanding plays against the run and constantly creating pressure on Josh Freeman.
DT Tom Johnson—Grade—A
Tom Johnson had his finest game, in what is becoming a constant line of thought. Johnson is the best run defender on a team that is increasingly getting better against the run. Johnson mixes his great play against the run with an ability to get penetration against the pass. All of that was on display Sunday.
DT Akiem Hicks—Grade—A
Hicks was dominant against the run Sunday, thanks in part to being joined with Tom Johnson. And he also knows how to pressure the quarterback. Hicks, Johnson and Bunkley make for a great DT trio for years to come.
DE Junior Galette—Grade—A
Galette was one of two Saints defensive linemen to leave the game late in the fourth quarter due to cramps. Some of that was due to the high number of snaps the unit faced. Nonetheless, Galette was another part of an effective pass rush.
DE Martez Wilson—Grade—A-
Martez Wilson is another player who might be able to claim he played his best game as a professional. Wilson not only aided in pass pressure, but he even made an impact play, or two, versus the run.