NO-SD grades: Cameron Jordan leads impressive front-seven effort by Saints
New Orleans Saints 35, San Diego Chargers 34
Here are the highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Saints’ 35-34 win over the Chargers in San Diego.
Quarterback Grade: Drew Brees, 48.3
Saints get by with poor performance by Brees
Drew Brees looked fine in the first half, taking the Saints on two long drives down the field, both ending in touchdowns. On throws 10 yards or more downfield, however, the QB was three-for-eight; he did not even attempt a pass 20 yards downfield.
Top offensive grades
FB John Kuhn, 84.8
LT Andrus Peat, 84.0
RT Zach Strief, 83.8
LG Tim Lelito, 75.4
LG Landon Turner 72.8
FB John Kuhn makes most of opportunities
Fullback John Kuhn was only in for short-yardage situations for the Saints, but when he was on the field, he made his impact felt, converting two third-and-ones and scoring two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with two minutes to go.
Top defensive grades
DE Cameron Jordan, 86.3
DT Nick Fairley, 85.8
LB Craig Robertson, 83.8
DE Darryl Tapp, 80.9
CB Sterling Moore, 79.7
Defense has a field day against poor San Diego offensive line
It was a fantastic day for the front-seven of the Saints, as almost every starter graded well. They were led by Cameron Jordan, who had a sack, hit, and two hurries, but was even more impressive against the run, where he earned a 91.1 grade. Interior defender Nick Fairley also had a monster game, as he was nearly unblockable when rushing the passer. He finished the day with two sacks, a hit, and two hurries.
Quarterback grade: Philip Rivers, 66.6
Unspectacular game from Rivers not enough to carry team
There were far worse problems with the Chargers’ offense than Philip Rivers, but he didn’t do his team any favors, either. He especially struggled when under pressure, completing just 6-of-12 passes for 61 yards and an interception. He had a couple impressive deep balls, as he connected on two of them for 77 yards and two touchdowns, although he did have that late-game interception on another.
Top offensive grades:
RG Spencer Pulley, 76.5
WR Dontrelle Inman, 75.2
C Matt Slauson, 71.9
TE Hunter Henry, 71.0
LT Tyreek Burwell, 68.5
Tough day for Chargers run game
While RB Melvin Gordon was effective catching passes, he made next to no impact in the run game, as he carried the ball 19 times and gained just 36 yards, earning a 46.5 grade. He forced just one missed tackle and fumbled. He didn’t get much help from his line, either, as 35 of those 36 yards came after contact.
Top defensive grades
S Adrian Phillips, 80.5
S Dexter McCoil, 79.9
DE Corey Liuget, 77.6
S Dwight Lowery, 77.4
CB Jason Verrett 74.5
Safeties stymie deep passing game
The Chargers’ safeties stayed back all game and played very well throughout. Brees did not even attempt one pass over 20 yards, showing that the defensive game plan was to shut down the downfield passing attack of the Saints. If not for the offense fumbling away the game, the effort would have been good enough for a win.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Saints DE Cameron Jordan
PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.