Deep Dive Into the Saints Pass Rush in Win Over Falcons
Seven in a row for the New Orleans Saints and over the last three wins the defense has played a significant role in the team's success. Kwon Alexander has been a major key at linebacker, the pressure has been increased from the defensive line, and in turn, the secondary has stepped up.
On Sunday, in week 11 in their win against the Atlanta Falcons, the defense created 11 QB hits, seven tackles for loss, and eight sacks which moved them into a tie for fourth in the NFL (32 sacks).
The major players that created so much havoc and so much pressure were Cameron Jordan, Trey Hendrickson, Demario Davis, and David Onyemata.
Jordan doubled his sack total on the year with three sacks to bring his count on the season to six, Henderickson had two and is now tied for the league lead with 9.5, Onyemata had two and he's got five, and Davis grabbed one and he's got four in 2020.
Let's dive a little deeper though into just how well each of these guys played in week 11.
After a 2019 season in which Jordan recorded a career-high 15 sacks he had gotten off to a slow start in 2020 but as mentioned broke out in week 11 with the three sacks of Matt Ryan. If we go below the surface and look at the Pro Football Focus grades Jordan had his third-best game of the season with an overall grade of 79. His run defense was a 61 and his pass rush was the third-best it's been all season long at 75.
Would you believe it if I told you 11 weeks into the season that Trey Hendrickson would be leading the league in sacks? Don't worry, I wouldn't have believed me either. As we look below the surface of his two-sack effort against Atlanta in week 11 he really didn't have a great game but the two sacks were pure effort plays and that's how he thrives. He graded out with a pedestrian 57 overall, just 51 in his run defense, 60 in his pass-rush, and 72 with his tackling according to PFF.
It's always impressive when an interior defensive lineman is able to get consistent pressure and with Sheldon Rankins down he's stepped up in a big way. The Canadian put together his second-best effort of the season on Sunday when he graded out at an 89 overall on PFF. In addition, his run defense was a 66, tackling 72, pass-rush 77, and a season-high coverage grade of 65.
You've gotta love a linebacker who can get after the passer, last year Demario Davis recorded just four sacks, and this season he's already matched that. Playing next to new arrival Kwon Alexander at the linebacker spot is going to do wonders for both of their games as they're fast, athletic backers. According to PFF, this was the third-highest ranked game for the veteran out of Arkansas State who finished with an overall grade of 77.5. His run defense was a 64, tackling finished at 82, pass-rush was a 69, and his coverage grade was a 73.
If the Saints defense can continue playing like this and the pressure can persist a lot of good things are going to happen with or without Drew Brees.
NFL Records Held By New Orleans Saints Players