The latest Sunday iteration of NFL action saw a bunch of big plays and big performances on the defensive side of the ball, with plenty of players making game breaking plays and even finding the end zone. From pass rushers who made life difficult for opposing quarterbacks, to cornerbacks who shut down wide receivers, here are the defensive Sunday standouts from Week 6.
DI Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams, 91.8 overall grade
Provided the Los Angeles Rams play on a Sunday, it seems a safe bet to assume Aaron Donald will make an appearance among the Sunday standouts. Utterly dominant as an interior pass rusher once again, Donald registered two sacks, two hits and six hurries from 40 pass rushing snaps, good for a pass rushing productivity rating of 20.0, which leads all players on the defensive interior this week.
DI Kenny Clark, Green Bay Packers, 91.0 overall grade
Donald is joined by fellow defensive interior player Kenny Clark, who earned his spot for his work against the run in the Green Bay Packers loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Clark was a monster against the run, netting a 24.0 percent run stop percentage, with all six of his tackles against the run resulting in a defensive stop.
LB Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 87.7 overall grade
Thanks to his the impressive play where he forced a fumble by Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, then returned that fumble all the way for a touchdown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David earns a spot here. That play really boosted his grade in coverage, and wasn’t the only fumble he forced on the day, jarring the ball loose against Adrian Peterson too.
CB Johnathan Joseph, Houston Texans, 97.5 overall grade
Speaking of standouts in coverage, Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph had himself a day in their win over the Cleveland Browns. Targeted six times, Joseph allowed just two receptions for three yards, and picked off two passes, returning one for a score. The NFL passer rating for just simply throwing the ball away on every play is 39.6. Throws into Joseph’s coverage yesterday netted an NFL passer rating of just 2.8.
LB Craig Robertson, New Orleans Saints, 89.4 overall grade
He played just 13 snaps against the run in the New Orleans Saints win over the Detroit Lions, but linebacker Craig Robertson made those snaps count, registering six tackles resulting in a defensive stop. That earned him a run stop percentage of 46.2 percent, the best mark among linebackers so far this week.
DI A’Shawn Robinson, Detroit Lions, 89.8 overall grade
While he didn’t put up eye-popping stats against the run or as a pass-rusher, Detroit Lions defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson impressed with a huge play that almost helped bring the Lions back with an interception retuned for a touchdown. Against the run he finished the game with a run stop percentage of 6.9 percent, with two tackles resulting in a defensive stop.
CB Xavier Rhodes, Minnesota Vikings, 87.7 overall grade
It was very much Rhodes Closed for the Green Bay Packers, despite targeting Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes seven times in coverage throughout the game. Rhodes allowed an NFL passer rating of just 26.8, and gave up just 0.67 yards per snap in coverage.
CB Buster Skrine, New York Jets, 89.3 overall grade
Despite committing a penalty, New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine had an impressive day in coverage, surrendering an NFL passer rating of just 4.2 despite being targeted 10 times. Allowing just three catches for 40 yards, Skrine also came away with an interception.
S Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings, 86.9 overall grade
It’s not often that one of the most impactful pass-rushing performances for a team comes from a safety, but with two sacks on just three pass rushing snaps, Minnesota Vikings defensive star Harrison Smith made added to his work in coverage. Making his blitzing opportunities count, Smith produced a pass rushing productivity rating of 66.7.
EDGE Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins, 89.0 overall grade
With the Miami Dolphins picking up a shock win over the Atlanta Falcons, they were boosted by a huge pass rushing performance from edge defender Cameron Wake. Rushing the passer 29 times, he picked up two sacks and five hurries, good for a pass rushing productivity rating of 19.8.