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The Sports Daily > The Saints Nation
Grading the Saints week 10: Defense

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before, the Saints defense completely dominated an average offense from beginning to end, gave up one or two big runs, and didn’t allow double digits until garbage time. If that sounds familiar to you it should, that’s basically what they did last week against the Bucs and this past Sunday the Saints were up to their old tricks again. The Saints pressured Tyrod Taylor consistently, other than a 36 yard run shut down Lesean McCoy, and barely had to take the field because of how dominant the run game was, yet despite that the way they totally outclassed Buffalo’s offense was impressive and obvious.

Defensive Line: A

The Saints defensive line didn’t have a dominating performance on the stat sheet, but a big part of that had to do with Taylor’s ability to scramble. Tyrod Taylor was under constant pressure and it was from all sides. With the exception of one big run (which was really just a great cut by McCoy) the Saints defensive line had a great day. Taylor’s ability to avoid pressure helped reduce the sack total, but so did the fact that the defense simply wasn’t out there a lot. The Saints never punted in the game and only turned the ball over once which meant that the defense as a whole had limited snaps. The snaps they did have they dominated. That’s an A.

Linebackers: A

AJ Klein went down in this game with an ankle injury which we can just hope will end up being a minor injury, but despite that the Saints linebackers were rock solid on Sunday. Manti Teo had a great game for the Saints as he was active, aggressive, and a sure tacklers (much as he has been all season). The Linebackers didn’t really make a ton of splash plays, but the Saints dominated the Bills by suffocating them, and the linebackers were holding the pillow by not allowing any sort of running game to get going.

Safety: A

The Saints safeties get an A too, and at this point you have probably guessed everyone is getting an A today. Am I just being generous, was I too lazy to watch the game and critique the players properly, no and no. The Saints dominated the Bills from beginning to end defensively and I’m simply not going to dock the team for allowing a garbage time touchdown. As far as I’m concerned the Saints safeties did everything I would have asked of them for this game, I didn’t add a plus because they weren’t awesome, but the Bills had practically no time of possession and with Kenny Vacarro being absent for the game that’s all you can ask for. Good coverage, being in position, and a few tackles for loss is plenty of reason to give them an A.

Cornerback: A

Do you even need to ask? Again, I’m not even going to count the garbage time drive, the Saints basically beat the Bills 47-3 and as has been the case since week 3 the Saints defense begins and ends with their ability to completely erase the vertical passing game. The Saints once again completely eliminated any ability to move the ball down the field vertically, and the corners are the key to that. This forces the quarterback to work the short to intermediate areas which allows the safeties and linebackers to make plays by attacking what is in front of them. It sounds simple, and when they are executing on the level Crawley and Lattimore are right now, it really is.