NFL Wild-Card Highlights: Notable grades from wild-card weekend

Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. (26) celebrates with safety Derwin James Jr. (3) after an interception during the second quarter of a wild card game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Efficiency key from Daniel Jones: The Giants quarterback finished his playoff debut with zero turnover-worthy plays and 379 combined passing and rushing yards.

Asante Samuel Jr. impresses: The Chargers cornerback allowed just three receptions and intercepted three passes in the wild-card loss to the Jaguars.

Andrew Thomas shuts down Vikings pass-rush: The Giants left tackle allowed zero pressures from 44 pass-blocking snaps in New York's win over the Minnesota Vikings

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

We will be checking in on PFF grades and data each Monday when the grades go live, highlighting some of the interesting performances from the past weekend of football.

Here are the top stories from Super Wild Card Weekend.

QB Daniel Jones, New York Giants

PFF grade:80.9

Jones is enjoying the most productive season of his career thanks to the new Giants regime leaning into his ability as a runner. Over the regular season, he racked up 702 yards on 65 rushing attempts despite forcing just 12 missed tackles.

In Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings, he carried the ball 17 times on his way to a 78-yard day. He was also very efficient as a passer, going 24-of-35 for 301 yards, crucially with no turnover-worthy plays.

Click here to view Daniel Jones' grades in PFF Premium Stats

T Andrew Thomas, New York Giants

PFF grade: 88.5

The Giants' star left tackle earned PFF’s Breakout Player of the Year Award this past week, impressing in a season where he allowed just 21 pressures over 16 games.

His stinginess in pass protection was once again on display here, as he allowed zero sacks, hits or hurries from 44 pass-blocking snaps.

Thomas earned the second-worst pass-blocking grade of his season when the Giants hosted the Eagles in Week 14, so his battles with the Eagles' edge defenders immediately becomes one of the keys to the game in the divisional round.

Click here to view Andrew Thomas' grades in PFF Premium Stats

TE T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

PFF grade: 90.6

The Giants did a really good job of holding wide receiver Justin Jefferson to just seven catches for 48 yards on nine targets on Sunday, but the Vikings were able to stay in the game thanks to a big performance from tight end T.J. Hockenson.

The playcall to end the game will be a tough pill for the Vikings to swallow, but over the course of the game, the player they acquired via trade midseason caught 10 of the 11 passes thrown his way for 129 yards, with six of those receptions resulting in a first down.

Proving his ability to make the tough catches, Hockenson’s season ends on a performance that saw him pull in four contested catches.

Click here to view T.J. Hockenson's grades in PFF Premium Stats

CB Asante Samuel Jr., Los Angeles Chargers

PFF Grade: 94.2

It wasn’t all good from the Chargers cornerback, with his 41.8 PFF run-defense grade the worst on either team in the game. However, his work in coverage was incredible, especially in the first half. On the field for 55 snaps in coverage, Samuel was targeted 11 times. He gave up receptions on three of those targets, and while one resulted in a touchdown, they went for a total of just 15 yards.

He recorded two pass breakups and three interceptions, finishing the game having allowed a 30.3 passer rating on throws into his coverage. 

Click here to view Asante Samuel Jr.'s grades in PFF Premium Stats

CB Deommodore Lenoir, San Francisco 49ers

PFF grade: 84.9

While 2021 fifth-round draft pick Deommodore Lenoir has struggled as a starter in his second season in the league, he produced the best performance of his career when it mattered most. He allowed just two receptions for 16 yards on four targets from 28 snaps in coverage, resulting in an NFL passer rating of just 20.8 when he was the primary coverage defender.

Click here to view Deommodore Lenoir's grades in PFF Premium Stats



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