New England Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty is having a fantastic season, and he gave an excellent performance Sunday when he helped shut down Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen.
McCourty spent a lot of snaps covering the star wideout, who totaled just five catches for 28 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots' 24-10 win at Gillette Stadium. It was a very good performance against a wide receiver who entered Week 13 with a league-leading 93 receptions and ranked among just nine players with 1,000-plus receiving yards.
No one is prouder for McCourty than his twin brother and Patriots safety Devin McCourty, who thinks Jason is playing as well as he ever has.
"Yeah, I think the biggest thing is he's getting to play in big games," Devin told reporters after Sunday's game. "He's getting to do a lot. The guy runs in the locker room after each win. He's jumping up and down. He's yelling. He just said he tied his career high of wins in a season. I think when you're able to play here in all of these big games and the spotlight's on and you play kind of how he's been playing his whole career, people just say like, 'Oh man, he's playing great football,' but he's played great football before, even last year in Cleveland. When you don't win, no one really cares. I'm just happy for him for one, his play, but his leadership."
McCourty now ranks as the No. 7 cornerback in the NFL with an 83.8/100 grade, according to Pro Football Focus. He has tallied 49 combined tackles and eight passes defensed through 12 games. Not bad for a player the Patriots acquired via trade from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. McCourty wasn't even a lock to make the roster in training camp, but he ultimately secured a spot on the 53-man roster and has rewarded Belichick's faith in him.
The Patriots secondary is rounding into form at the most important time of the year, and a lot of that success is being fueled by McCourty and Stephon Gilmore (PFF's No. 2 ranked cornerback).
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