By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The first offensive play for the Giants during Thursday night’s game against the Patriots involved Daniel Jones hitting Darius Slayton on a comeback route up the left sideline for a gain of 9 yards in front of cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
That would be the last pass that Gilmore would give up all night.
The Patriots’ No. 1 corner went into full lockdown mode from that point forward, a performance that was so outstanding that it inspired future Hall of Famer Darrelle Revis to gush about Gilmore on Twitter.
“Stephon Gilmore by far is the best corner in the game right now,” Revis tweeted.
— Darrelle Revis (@Revis24) October 11, 2019
The statement’s been made for the better part of a year, and with Gilmore earning First Team All-Pro honors for his performance last season, this isn’t exactly new news.
But for a quiet, understated player like Gilmore who doesn’t talk himself up the way that a Jalen Ramsey or Richard Sherman or, yes, Darrelle Revis might have, getting this kind of public endorsement should go a long way in turning some heads around the country.
For those keeping records, Revis and Gilmore are two of just four Patriots cornerbacks to ever earn First Team All-Pro honors. The others are Ty Law, in 1998 and 2003, and Asante Samuel, in 2007.
Thursday night’s game was just the latest entry into what has been a tremendous career, as Gilmore did not allow a single reception on the five other passes thrown his way. In fact, as Next Gen Stats tracked, Gilmore got a hand on all five of those other passes.
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
He intercepted one of those passes, and he tipped another one, which led to a John Simon interception. Two of his pass breakups came on third down, and one came on fourth down.
“Yeah, Steph, he does it every day in practice and does it on Sundays,” head coach Bill Belichick said after the 35-14 win. “He does such a great job playing the ball and had some good breaks. That last play down the sideline was a really good finish where the receiver had the ball and he got it on the way down, but he had some great pass breakups. I mean, look, he’s a very talented player and works extremely hard to prepare for the game, study his opponents and study the passing game that our opponents are going to run. This is a good example here on a short week of how diligent he works and it paid off. He’s done a great job for us.”
“It’s been awesome just to watch him, especially a guy that comes into the system and learns the system,” captain Devin McCourty said of Gilmore. “From year-to-year, game-to-game, he’s just gotten better and better and he’s a big help to our defense. We do a lot of stuff around him and his abilities.”
Despite allowing 213 yards and a touchdown on Thursday night, the Patriots still boast the league’s best defense by a wide margin in just about every measurable category. That’s obviously a collective effort, but Gilmore now is tied for second in the league with eight passes defensed, helping to show the kind of impact he has on the unit.
When he first signed with New England, Gilmore tweeted that he was excited that “my people finally going to get to see me play on TV.”
My People finally going to get to see me play on tv. #Patsnation#aboutthattime
— The Gilly Lock (@BumpNrunGilm0re) July 17, 2017
And in yet another nationally televised game on Thursday, Gilmore made sure everyone in the country — including Darrelle Revis — saw what he could do.