New England Patriots: Stephon Gilmore shines against former team
By Nick Ziegler
On Sunday, the New England Patriots were able to keep their winning streak alive. In the win, a former member of the Bills shined.
This offseason, it was very surprising to see the New England Patriots break the bank on free agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore. It is very rare to see the Patriots spend big money in free agency, but clearly, Gilmore was a player that they desired. Despite having a good defense last season, the addition of Gilmore made the Patriots even better on paper coming into the 2017 season.
With the Bills, Gilmore was one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, and the Patriots certainly paid him like one. To start the season, Gilmore did have some struggles with the Patriots. Mainly due to communication issues in the secondsry, the Patriots looked lost at times trying to defend the pass early in the season.
However, the Patriots’ defense and Gilmore are now firing on all cylinders. During the winning streak, New England has been shutting down the offenses of their opponents, and it looks like they are poised for another trip to the AFC Title Game.
Against his former team, Gilmore had one of his best games of the season and also received the highest grade from Pro Football Focus on the Patriots in Week 13. Here’s what PFF said about Gilmore’s great game in Week 13.
"If anything showed Buffalo what they were missing, it was a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter. Rookie QB Nathan Peterman decided he was going to score a touchdown, and that Gilmore was going to be the one to give it up. Only nobody told Gilmore, and three targets turned into three incompletions with one route cut off and two passes broken up. That was indicative of the day Gilmore had, thrown at six times and allowing just two passes for 22 yards. Job done."
Overall, Gilmore is flying up the charts at PFF, as he is now graded as the 15th best cornerback in the league with an 86.0 overall grade. Considering that the Patriots invested quite a bit in Gilmore, its good to see that he has put some of those early season issues behind him.
Next: Team grades vs the Bills in Week 13
Since Week 4, the Patriots have not allowed more than 20 points against an opponent, as their defense is playing at an elite level now. With the whole secondary playing at a very high level this season, the Patriots should be able to continue their strong defensive performances as they head toward the playoffs.