After a rocky start to his Patriots career in 2017, Stephon Gilmore had a lot to live up to in 2018. He exceeded all expectations by ending up as the Patriots best defensive player and having an All-Pro year. When the lights shone brightest this past Sunday, Gilmore delivered an elite Super Bow performance to cap off one of the best years of his career.
Gilmore spent most of the night matched up on his former Patriot teammate Brandin Cooks. The Rams speedster finished up with eight catches for 120 yards, although most of which were inconsequential. Gilmore had tight coverage on Cooks for the majority of the night, forcing Goff to throw into tight windows. His physicality was too much for Cooks at some points, and he had extremely tight coverage on a ball thrown to Cooks in the end zone that was jarred out by Duron Harmon.
Gilmore also had a game-sealing interception with just over four minutes left in the game. With an all-out blitz sent at him by the Patriots, Goff panicked and tossed up a pass in Cooks’ direction. It was wildly under-thrown, and Gilmore came back to the ball for an easy interception. New England’s offense did the rest and sealed the Super Bowl victory.
Along with his interception, Gilmore finished the game with five solo tackles, three passes defended, and a forced fumble. In reality, he was as deserving, if not even more deserving, of winning Super Bowl MVP as Julian Edelman. He led a New England defense that held the second best offense in the NFL to less than 300 yards of total offense.
Two years ago, Gilmore’s signing came as a surprise to many because of the money that he received. It’s now clear that he is worth every penny.