As Monday night's game evolved into a shootout between two high-powered offenses, the Falcons' D contained New Orleans enough to win in front of a national audience. Desmond Trufant's performance was a big reason why.
Drew Brees targeted the veteran corner on eight occasions, according to Pro Football Focus, and completed two passes for 37 yards, only three of which came after the catch. What's more, when Trufant covered No. 1 WR Brandin Cooks — who was especially important due to Willie Snead's absence — Brees was only 1-for-5 for nine yards.
This was no aberration. Coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance, Trufant has been a true No. 1 CB thus far in 2016. He's dropped into coverage on 142 snaps this year, and opponents have gone after him a mere 21 times, per PFF. And they have not been particularly successful on those throws: Quarterbacks have tallied just nine completions when targeting Trufant, racking up 132 yards, a touchdown and an interception, good for a 60.0 QB rating. Only eight corners who have played 100-plus snaps in coverage have allowed a lower QBR.
Along with providing stellar defense in the secondary, Trufant helped the the pass rush at the Superdome, giving the Falcons one of their two sacks against New Orleans. Similar to his sack in 2015 versus Indianapolis, Trufant broke for the QB right as the ball was hiked, went completely unblocked and executed the blitz to perfection.
"The intensity he wants to play with — he's in terrific shape, he can go all day," head coach Dan Quinn said about Trufant. "You feel an intensity from him right now, and I think part of that (is the) maturation process. He's been in the system. He knows what to do. He knows how to play. And it's kind of a cool thing when you see a guy taking off like he is."