Let’s take another look back at the New Orleans Saints’ loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, this time with the benefit of updated player grades from Pro Football Focus. We shouldn’t read too deeply into these simplified numbers, but they do give us an idea of who was playing most frequently (only those who logged at least 33% of snaps on either offense or defense are listed) and who was responsible for positive and negative plays. Here’s what we learned from Week 10’s Saints player grades:
Top 5 offense (minimum 16 snaps)
71.4 – RB Alvin Kamara (37 snaps)
70.1 – QB Andy Dalton (43 snaps)
69.0 – WR Chris Olave (36 snaps)
62.1 – RT Ryan Ramczyk (47 snaps)
61.2 – WR Jarvis Landry (37 snaps)
Honorable mention: WR Rashid Shaheed (75.3 grade on 6 snaps)
How is Dalton ranked so highly? He took two sacks and threw two interceptions in this game, though only one of those turnovers was graded against him (another was tipped off of a receiver’s hands). While the offensive line was a problem, Dalton was only pressured on 9 of his 30 dropbacks. He converted a first down on 8 of his 17 pass completions. This was far from a good game for him, so it’s surprising to see that not reflected in this week’s player grade.
Top 5 defense (minimum 27 snaps)
90.1 – LB Kaden Elliss (81 snaps)
76.7 – S P.J. Williams (84 snaps)
69.6 – CB Chris Harris Jr. (55 snaps)
69.3 – DE Cameron Jordan (49 snaps)
68.9 – LB Zack Baun (28 snaps)
Honorable mention: S Tyrann mathieu (67.5 grade on 84 snaps)
Take a bow, Elliss. The veteran linebacker played out of his gourd on Sunday with 5 tackles, 4 of them counting as defensive stops, also forcing a fumble and bagging a sack. The Steelers went after him three times in coverage and he didn’t allow a single first down conversion. This game should put him on other teams’ radar with free agency on the horizon in 2023. It was also a good game for Harris, who yielded a single first down conversion while being targeted 4 times on the afternoon. Harris also had a sack and a pass breakup. But how is Williams graded so highly after he got run over by Najee Harris all afternoon?
Bottom 5 offense (minimum 16 snaps)
26.2 – LG Lewis Kidd (26 snaps)
40.1 – LT Landon Young (20 snaps)
41.0 – LG Calvin Throckmorton (21 snaps)
44.4 – WR Kevin White (31 snaps)
45.0 – TE Taysom Hill (19 snaps)
Dishonorable mention: C Josh Andrews (47.4 grade on 47 snaps)
So that’s not a good look for the offensive line. Kidd and Throckmorton rotated in and out of the lineup at left guard, replacing Andrus Peat, while Andrews started at center and Young finished out the game at left tackle after James Hurst left with a concussion. Those replacements accounted for four of the six lowest grades on offense, which is really bad news with Aaron Donald coming to town next week. This game also saw low usage for Hill, who was limited to just 1 rushing yard on 3 attempts. Why did Kevin White play the third-most snaps at wide receiver?
Bottom 5 defense (minimum 27 snaps)
27.9 – DT Kentavius Street (45 snaps)
32.1 – CB Alontae Taylor (80 snaps)
40.3 – CB Paulson Adebo (84 snaps)
47.4 – DT David Onyemata (42 snaps)
48.6 – DT Malcolm Roach (44 snaps)
Dishonorable mention: DT Shy Tuttle (51.7 grade on 34 snaps)
It was a bad day for the Saints defense up front and on the back end. Both of the starting corners were abused, allowing 9 combined receptions for 105 of the 199 passing yards the defense allowed as a whole, while drawing 5 penalty flags together. Taylor had his “Welcome to the NFL” game. Meanwhile, the heart of the Saints defensive line got pushed around with the Steelers offense gaining a season-high 217 rushing yards. It was hard to watch, as has been the case all too often this season. All four defensive tackles on the roster graded as bottom-six defenders this week.