The offensive performances often grab all the headlines, but plenty of defensive players had performances that fuelled their teams towards victory on Sunday. Some delivered with big performances as pass-rushers, while overs were shutdown corners. Using PFF Elite signature stats, here are the standout performances from the defensive side of the ball on Sunday.
LB Kiko Alonso, Miami Dolphins, 91.7 overall grade
Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso impressed against the run in the Dolphins win over Tennessee Titans, registering three tackles on 20 snaps against the run. All three of those tackles resulted in a defensive stop, giving Alonso a run stop percentage of 15.0 percent on the day.
DI Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams, 96.8 overall grade
On paper, Aaron Donald going against the Seattle Seahawks offensive line seemed like a huge mismatch, and on the field it proved to be just that with the Los Angeles Rams’ best player once again dominating. From 33 snaps as a pass-rusher, Donald racked up two hits and eight hurries, giving him a ridiculous pass-rushing productivity rating of 22.7.
DI Damon Harrison, New York Giants, 91.1 overall grade
While Donald dominates as a pass-rusher, no player on the defensive interior dominates against the run quite like New York Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison. On Sunday, he registered four tackles resulting in a defensive stop from just 20 snaps against the run, giving him a run stop percentage of 20.0 percent.
Edge Jerry Hughes, Buffalo Bills, 90.9 overall grade
Few players delivered on the edge yesterday quite like Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes. Rushing the passer 28 times, Hughes racked up two hits and four hurries, with his six total pressures giving him a pass-rushing productivity rating of 16.1.
S Reshad Jones, Miami Dolphins, 90.3 overall grade
Dolphins safety Reshad Jones was another player on the Miami defense who really stood out against the run on Sunday, registering four tackles on the 12 snaps against run when he lined up within eight yards of the line of scrimmage. Two of those tackles resulted in a defensive stop, giving him a run stop percentage of 16.7 percent.
S Karl Joseph, Oakland Raiders, 89.5 overall grade
Like Jones, Oakland Raiders safety Karl Joseph impressed against the run, but delivered in coverage too. In coverage, he made a tackle for a two-yard loss, while registering a 12.5 percent run stop percentage. Combined against the run and in coverage, Joseph made five tackles resulting in a defensive stop on the day.
CB Jason McCourty, Cleveland Browns, 91.6 overall grade
While the Cleveland Browns have yet to find a win in 2017, they have seen cornerback Jason McCourty deliver some shutdown performances through five weeks. Sunday was no different, as McCourty allowed just 24 yards on five receptions from the seven passes thrown into his coverage. Coming away with an interception, it meant that throws into his coverage netted an NFL passer rating of just 36.3.
CB Patrick Robinson, Philadelphia Eagles, 91.5 overall grade
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson has been one of the surprise players in the NFL through five weeks, and once again was one of the key players on the Eagles defense in their win over the Arizona Cardinals. Robinson was targeted nine times in coverage, giving up 80 yards on five receptions, but also came away with three pass breakups.
DI Kawann Short, Carolina Panthers, 89.8 overall grade
The Carolina Panthers got another standout performance from defensive tackle Kawann Short. Rushing the passer 30 times, his four total pressures netted him a pass-rushing productivity rating of 12.5. He really made those pressures count too, with three of them coming in the form of sacks.
LB Telvin Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars, 87.9 overall grade
The Jacksonville Jaguars delivered a dominant defensive performance as they picked up the win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and linebacker Telvin Smith was one of the key contributors. Against the run he produced a run stop percentage of 21.1 percent, with four tackles resulting in a defensive stop from 19 snaps in run defense. He chipped in with an interception returned for a touchdown in coverage to boot.