In playoff debut, Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore shuts down Titans and critics

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 13: Corey Davis /

Following a shaky regular season, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore is shutting down criticism by shutting down defenders.

The best way to quiet the critics is to perform, especially when you are an athlete in Boston.  Throughout the season, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore has heard the criticism and now he is quieting the noise by playing his best football of the season.

The $65 million man entered Saturday night’s divisional round matchup against the Tennessee Titans excited about making his playoff debut.  He responded by playing some of his best football since he joined the Patriots.

Gilmore didn’t allow a single catch during the 35-14 romp and initiated one of the key plays of the game.  With the game tied 7-7, Gilmore broke up a third-down pass to Titans receiver Corey Davis that gave the offense the ball back and ultimately led to another score.

Following the game, the veteran cornerback described his first NFL playoff action as fun and broke down that specific play.  He attributed it to trust within his technique.

"“It was key,” Gilmore said following the game, via The Boston Herald.  “I just trusted my technique, played to my leverage, where my help was at, and was able to make a play in the game.”"

Solid second half of the season

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In fact, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound former top-10 pick has been trusting his technique the past few games with the Patriots.  In a season in which he compiled 47 solo tackles, two picks and nine pass defenses, Stephon Gilmore is looking like the Pro Bowl caliber player he was back in 2016 with the Buffalo Bills.

He is also showing to be the best cornerback on the team.  With the struggles of Malcolm Butler, Gilmore’s play over the last few weeks (including the divisional round game) has helped solidify the team’s overall defense.

As far as playing in his first playoff game in his career, Gilmore was pumped up and excited prior to the game.  Following the game, he labeled it an experience he very much enjoyed.

"“It’s amped up a little bit more,” Gilmore said.  “It was fun.  We were flying around having fun, making plays, and when you win, it’s always fun.”"

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That is something Stephon Gilmore has found out over the second half of a season that started off shaky for him.  Competing against the opposing team’s receivers and criticism is a challenge he has appeared to have figured out…at just the right time.