Things didn't seem like they could get much better for Darius Slay after Week 11.
After a debut season in Philadelphia that didn't exactly jump off the page, the three-time Pro Bowler really found his groove in the middle of the 2021 campaign, earning his first pick-six — and his third touchdown in four weeks — against the Saints in Week 11. He had a stellar 92.8 Pro Football Focus grade thanks to his performance, one which highest in the league regardless of position, and earned recognition as Defensive Player of the Week. But after Week 12 — a game which the Eagles lost, though not due to the defense — and zero completions allowed when targeted for the first time all season, another of Slay's stats improved even further.
Thanks to PFF, we now know that in single coverage, Darius Slay is practically unbeatable. I'm not even sure I need that qualifying "practically" there. His passer rating allowed is, frankly, hard to believe. To put it in context, when Cam Newton was benched in Week 12 after going 5-21 for 92 yards and two interceptions, his passer rating was a paltry 5.75.
No offense to Newton, but that's pretty hard to outdo. Somehow, Slay's passer rating allowed is lower than that.
That's like a quarterback going 4-21 with 90 yards and two interceptions — slightly worse than Newton's stat line — as such a performance yields a 5.36 passer rating.
We shouldn't forget about his partner in the Eagles secondary, either, as Avonte Maddox ranks eighth overall among quarterbacks in PFF defensive grade (77.1) and sixth in coverage (80.2). Slay ranks fourth in both of those individual statistics, making the Birds the only team in the NFL with two cornerbacks ranked in PFF's top 10, or even top 15, as we head into Week 13. Seeing as Slay and Maddox finished the 2020 season ranked at Nos. 56 and 121, respectively, out of 121 eligible cornerbacks, you've got to be pretty happy with this step up.