WAS-NO Grades: Cousins leads Washington in blowout
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from Washington’s 47-14 win over New Orleans.
New Orleans Saints
– This was a rough game all around for the Saints. Nobody finished with an overall grade greater than +2.0. QB Drew Brees (+1.4) had an unspectacular day throwing the football, finishing with a slightly above average grade. He rarely looked deep, attempting just seven passes of 10 or more yards in the air, of which he completed two for 75 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He was rarely pressured (just 23 percent of his dropbacks). But when pressured, he failed to complete any of his five attempts, and threw an interception.
– The defensive line pair of DE Cameron Jordan (+1.2) and DT John Jenkins (+1.8) were two of the very few bright spots on that Saints’ defense. Jordan finished with a +1.3 run defense grade and a +1.7 pass rush grade, thanks to his two solo stops, one QB hit, and three QB hurries. He did take two penalties, however. John Jenkins was strong in the run game, finishing with a team-high +1.6 grade against the run. As a unit, the Saints’ defense combined for a -12.0 run defense grade on the day.
– The Saints’ offensive line had some issues all day, especially when it came to run blocking. Of the starting offensive linemen and the tight ends, only RG Jahri Evans (+1.7) finished with a positive run block grade (+1.5). But he also allowed two of Washington’s three sacks, so he wasn’t perfect, either. C Max Unger (-4.5) struggled all day and had a team-low -3.4 run blocking grade. TE Ben Watson (-5.2) posted the lowest grade of the offense, thanks to poor run blocking (-2.5), as well as taking two offensive pass interference penalties. Taking away Mark Ingram’s big run, in which he did all of the work, the Saints only rushed for 88 yards on 24 carries, with 34 of those yards coming on the Saints’ final garbage time drive. Not a strong showing from that rushing offense.
DT John Jenkins (+1.8)
HB Mark Ingram (+1.8)
RG Jahri Evans (+1.7)
QB Drew Brees (+1.4)
DE Cameron Jordan (+1.2)
– QB Kirk Cousins (+2.2) had one of his best games of the season, statistically and grade-wise. While he rarely looked deep, attempting just three passes beyond 10 yards downfield (completing two for 53 yards and a touchdown), he played an extremely efficient game. When faced with no pressure, Cousins was a staggering 16-for-17 for 278 yards and three touchdowns, which is a perfect 158.3 rating. He did rely a lot on his receivers making plays, as 80 percent of his 324 yards came after the catch. However, he was extremely safe with the football and didn’t make any real poor decisions, something that has bothered him in the past. That’s really all Washington can ask of him at this point.
– This was a huge game for LB Perry Riley (+3.0), who was named PFF’s worst inside linebacker of the first half of the season just last week. He was strong against the run, shedding blocks and making plays. But he really excelled in coverage, allowing five-of-seven passes to be completed for 43 yards. But it was the level of his two incompletions that really came out of nowhere. He had an impressive pass defense while covering Saints receiver Marques Colston, and then later on had a ridiculous one-handed interception while running step-for-step with TE Ben Watson downfield. This was Riley’s best game of the year, and he might be someone to watch going forward.
– HB Matthew Jones (+4.4) was the best player on the field yesterday, finishing with the highest grade on either team. His rushing was good, as he gained 56 yards on just 11 carries, 33 of those yards after the catch. But it was his receiving that really put his grade over the top. He was targeted three times on short passes or screens, and turned every one of them into a huge gain. There was his 78 yard touchdown that will get all the glory, but both of his other receptions gained 20+ yards. On the day, he finished with 131 yards receiving, with 134 of them coming after the catch, and three missed tackles forced.
HB Matthew Jones (+4.4)
RG Brandon Scherff (+3.5)
WR Jamison Crowder (+3.2)
ILB Perry Riley (+3.0)
RT Tom Compton (+2.9)