Denzel Ward, CB, 48.1: One week after taking NFL Rookie of the Week honors, Ward came back to earth a little. Drawing Michael Thomas in coverage will do that to the best of them, though.
For what its worth, Ward drew a 77.4 grade against Michael Thomas, which is considered good. He caught all five of his targets, but for just 43 yards. Thomas did have a touchdown grab on a short fade.
Overall, Ward was given a 53.8 grade for his play in coverage because Brees targeted him seven times and he allowed seven receptions, including an 18-yard reception to Tre’Quan Smith.
Terrance Mitchell, CB, 65.2: Terrance Mitchell was a force on defense, causing two fumbles, but PFF graded him out as just being kind of OK in coverage. Mitchell also matched up against Thomas some, allowing five catches for 43 yards, the same as Ward.
Jabrill Peppers 74.7, SS: Jabrill Peppers was decent against the run, and was even credited with a QB hurry on Brees. He looks much more comfortable playing closer to the line of scrimmage. He was the Browns highest graded defender in defeat.
Briean Boddy-Calhoun FS, 64.5: Briean Boddy-Calhoun got in for five snaps
TJ Carrie, Slot CB, 56.8: TJ Carrie had a huge sack of Drew Breews, which boosted his grade in the pass rush, but a 54.8 grade in coverage was just average.
Derek Kindred, S, 55.7: Kindred wasn’t good against the run (49.3) in 41 snaps. He did draw a 68.0 grade in coverage, which is decent,
Damarious Randall, FS, 53.6 Another surprisingly low grade built around the 51.9 grade he drew for coverage. Randall did have two fumble recoveries.