ReFo: Saints @ Lions, Week 7
No one will ever know what was going through Drew Brees’ mind when he threw late across the middle under pressure with just three minutes to go in the fourth quarter leading by six.
The normally composed Brees had a minor meltdown in that moment and the Lions were obliged to take advantage. Even then, controversy remained as the Saints recorded a fourth-down stop only to be penalized for a rather marginal pass interference penalty.
Here are some notable individual performances.
New Orleans Saints – Performances of Note
Curtis Lofton, MLB: +5.9
Breakdown: After rough outings in his two previous games (-9.1 combined) Lofton turned it around against the Lions. In his last four games he now has two games graded above +3.0 and two graded worse than -4.5. Lofton put in a complete performance here with a team-high +3.0 grade against the run, predominantly on the back of nine defensive stops. In coverage he allowed seven of nine targets to be completed but for just 32 yards and just a single first down. Lofton’s ability to diagnose and disrupt screen passes was crucial in the Saints’ defensive effort.
Signature Stat: Lofton is currently fourth amongst inside linebackers in Run Stop Percentage (12.2%).
Keenan Lewis, CB: +4.1 and Corey White, CB: -3.4
Breakdown: While one Saints corner stood out the other really struggled. Lewis allowed just one of four targets to be completed for 4 yards and added a pass deflection and interception. In contrast, White gave up eight of nine targets, 148 yards, a pair of scores, and a perfect QB rating into his coverage.
Signature Stat: White is allowing 1.82 yards per cover snap, while Lewis is allowing 1.07.
Parys Haralson, SLB: -5.3
Breakdown: After a good start to the season Haralson really struggled against the Lions. Despite playing in just 41 of 72 plays, he amassed a -5.3 grade and some poor discipline. Twice Haralson jumped offside and he committed an illegal hands to the face penalty. As a pass rusher he failed to record any pressure in 26 rushes beyond recording a clean-up sack, and in run defense the only contributions he made were negative.
Signature Play: Haralson crucially lost contain on an outside run with 11.29 to play in the fourth quarter, allowing himself to be sealed to the inside by Brandon Pettigrew, opening up a big hole.
Detroit Lions – Performances of Note
DeAndre Levy, WLB: +3.6
Breakdown: More must now be expected of Levy with the injury to Stephen Tulloch and he delivered in this one. In coverage he allowed all nine targets to be complete but for just 67 yards and only three first downs. As a pass rusher the stat sheet shows a blank, but Levy got away from a block only failing to record pressure due to Brees’ quick release. On another occasion he did record pressure but a penalty negated the play. To top it off he had eight defensive stops.
Signature Stat: Levy Currently leads all 4-3 outside linebackers in run stop percentage, making the play on 16.7% of reps.
Riley Reiff, LT: +4.5
Breakdown: Sunday saw an excellent performance from Reiff who recorded a clean pass protection stat sheet on the day. While that doesn’t show him beaten outside by Junior Galette on the crucial fourth down where the Lions were saved by penalty it was still an excellent day for Reiff. His run blocking was more impressive, however, recording the only green-graded game of any Lion. Overall he recorded only positives in the ground game for Detroit.
Signature play: There weren’t any outstanding plays but Reiff did a good job of helping on a double team before moving to the second level and sealing the linebacker inside at 14.26 in the first quarter.
Matt Stafford, QB: -3.2
Breakdown: Tough game for Stafford who was unfortunate for one of his interceptions but he completely misread the coverage on the other play resulting that resulted in a pick. Surprisingly he made some plays under pressure (124.3 QB rating) but struggled with a clean pocket (74.0). The biggest problem area was between the numbers shorter than 10 yards where he recorded just 11 completions on 18 targets with a pick.
Signature play; Lewis’ pick was a terrible play by Stafford as he expected man coverage only to see the Saints’ corner fall back from his underneath coverage to make the play.
PFF Game Ball
Curtis Lofton will want to establish consistency in his game but he bounced back exceptionally from two poor outings.
Follow John on twitter: @PFF_John