Patriots

Jets coach Adam Gase: Stephon Gilmore 'probably' NFL's best cornerback

Jets coach Adam Gase: Stephon Gilmore 'probably' NFL's best cornerback

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore was the only player at his position to earn an "elite" grade from Pro Football Focus last season, and he's continued that stellar play into the 2019 campaign.

Gilmore did an excellent job limiting the effectiveness of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in Week 1, and he gave a similarly good performance against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The veteran cornerback forced an interception by tipping a pass from Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick into the arms of teammate Devin McCourty, and later in the fourth quarter Gilmore intercepted a pass himself and ran it back for a touchdown.

The next challenge for the Patriots is a Week 3 home matchup Sunday against the rival New York Jets, and their head coach, Adam Gase, singled out Gilmore on Wednesday as one of the league's top cornerbacks.

"He's probably the best corner in the league," Gase said Wednesday during a media conference call. "Just the fact of, if he's one-on-one, he's very difficult to get open on. He has a very good knowledge of the game. He understands splits, he understands break points, he understands stems and things like that, that really make it challenging for any receiver. But as a play-caller, you're aware of that and just have to understand that he's playing chess while everybody else is playing checkers. He's really, especially the past couple years, he's playing at an extremely high level."

We hope no one shares this Gase quote with Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey!

Gilmore should have another comfortable afternoon Sunday against a Jets passing attack that doesn't feature an elite quarterback, wide receiver or tight end.

New York has one passing touchdown over the first two weeks of the reason and ranks 29th in passing yards per game over the same span. These numbers aren't likely to improve much -- if at all -- with the Jets forced to start third-string quarterback Luke Falk against the Patriots. Starting quarterback Sam Darnold is battling mono and backup Trevor Siemian is out for the season after suffering an ankle injury Monday night.

Latest Patriots-Jets Week 3 spread is laughably big>>>

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Patriots downgrade S Patrick Chung, RB Damien Harris to out for Eagles game

Patriots downgrade S Patrick Chung, RB Damien Harris to out for Eagles game

The Patriots have downgraded safety Patrick Chung and running back Damien Harris from questionable to out for the game Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Chung has had heel and chest injuries but did play in the Pats' last game before their bye week, the Nov. 3 loss to the Ravens. Harris appeared on the injury report for the first time on Friday with a hamstring issue. The rookie third-round pick from Alabama has only been active for two games this season.

The loss of Chung could impact the Patriots most in their coverage of Eagles tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Taking on tight ends is something Chung has excelled at. 

ESPN Mike Reiss reports that Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse, out with a knee injury since Oct. 10, did travel with the team to Philly so he will likely be active for the game.

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Ten years ago today, on fourth-and-2, Bill Belichick made one of his most controversial decisions

Ten years ago today, on fourth-and-2, Bill Belichick made one of his most controversial decisions

It was one of the most controversial calls in Patriots history...and it didn't come from an official.

It was Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 in the final minutes against the Indianapolis Colts. And it was 10 years ago today.

THE DECISION

It remains Belichick's most talked-about moves this side of Malcolm Butler. In a Week 10 matchup in Indianapolis, the 8-0 Colts faced the 6-2 Patriots in a high-scoring affair. Leading 34-28 but backed up at their own 28-yard-line and needing two yards for a first down, Belichick chose to go for it on fourth down and try and keep the ball out of quarterback Peyton Manning's hands.

THE PLAY

Tom Brady completed a pass to running back Kevin Faulk, who was driven backward by the Colts' Melvin Bullitt. After a measurement, Faulk was ruled short of the first down. Three Colts plays later, a Manning-to-Reggie Wayne TD pass and extra point with 13 seconds left a 35-34 victory.

THE AFTERMATH

There was plenty of second-guessing of Belichick's move. Had he outsmarted himself? Why didn't he punt and show more faith in his defense? 

“We thought we could win the game with that play,” he explained at the time. “That was a yard I was confident we could get.” Belichick had maintained it was more like fourth-and-long-1, rather than 2. Where the ball was spotted after the Faulk play is still the subject of debate.

Those Pats would go on to lose two of their next three, finish 10-6, still win the AFC East but get smoked by the Baltimore Ravens 33-14 in Foxboro in a wild-card playoff game. Manning's team won its first 14 games, then rested its regulars and lost twice before reaching its first Super Bowl as the Indy Colts and losing to the New Orleans Saints. 

TODAY

When Indianapolis reporter Kevin Bowen tweeted about the play's 10th anniversary on Saturday, it stirred up memories for former Colts linebacker Gary Brackens, who recalled the disrespect he felt from Belichick's decision to test the Indy defense. 

To this day, "Fourth-and-2" means only one thing to most NFL fans.

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