FOXBORO, Mass. -- Stephon Gilmore was playing so well in Thursday night's Week 6 matchup against the New York Giants that an NFL legend felt compelled to give the New England Patriots cornerback a special shoutout on Twitter.
Former Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis, who was the best player at his position for most of his career, praised Gilmore as the league's top cornerback "by far" in a tweet sent during the second half of New England's 35-14 victory.
"I appreciate it," Gilmore said of Revis' praise. "He was one of the best at one point. He knows what (an elite cornerback) looks like. I appreciate that from him."
Gilmore has earned a reputation as the premier shutdown corner in the league. He was the only player at his position to receive an elite grade from Pro Football Focus last season, while also earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro first team selections. Gilmore has played at a very high level this season, too. According to PFF, he had given up just 18 receptions (and zero touchdowns) on 34 passes thrown his way through five weeks.
Thursday night's performance was his best of 2019.
Gilmore was targeted on Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones' first pass of the game, and the veteran cornerback allowed a 9-yard reception to wide receiver Darius Slayton. Gilmore did not allow a single catch the rest of the game. He was targeted five more times, and each one ended in frustration for Jones and the Giants offense.
Stephon Gilmore allowed just 1 reception on 6 targets as the nearest defender tonight in the @Patriots 35-14 win.@BumpNrunGilm0re finished with a 83% Ball Hawk Rate, making a play on the football (PD or INT) on all 5 incompletions when targeted.#NYGvsNE | #GoPats pic.twitter.com/n4iWSPS01b— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 11, 2019
“We say it all the time, if you want to throw it at Steph, good luck over there,” Patriots safety Duron Harmon said. “You might catch one here or there, but for the most part, he’s going to lock down that whole compete side. We feel confident in leaving him back there by himself.”
Gilmore finally got his hands on an interception in the third quarter. He put himself into great position, took contact from Giants tight end Rhett Ellison and completed the play along the sideline.
🔒⬇️— NFL (@NFL) October 11, 2019
Stephon Gilmore comes up with the @patriots' third INT of the game. @BumpNrunGilm0re #GoPats
📺: #NYGvsNE on @NFLNetwork | @NFLonFOX | @PrimeVideo
How to watch: https://t.co/I6INVckndX pic.twitter.com/obY3vOKJfN
"He ran the play before that, came back to the same play -- we played a different coverage," Gilmore said of his interception. "(Jones) thought we were in man and I played zone. I came off and made a play."
Gilmore is the best player in a Patriots secondary that has dominated opponents this season. New England entered Thursday night leading the league with 11 interceptions, and the defense added three more to its total versus the Giants. In fact, the Patriots' 14 interceptions through six games is at least twice as many as every other NFL team.
One of the most impressive aspects of this secondary is its ability to play off of each other's strengths. Several of these defensive backs have been teammates for multiple seasons, and the strong chemistry they've developed is paying huge dividends in 2019.
"I think what’s made us really good in the secondary is understanding everybody’s abilities, what they do well, how we need to play off each other, and I think that’s allowed us to make some more plays, even from last year going forward," Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. "We’ve just really understood where guys are going to be and what they do well."
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