Stephon Gilmore reflects on AFCCG pass breakup, locks in ahead of Super Bowl

New England Patriots

After suffering criticism for his play early in the year and his hefty 5-year, $65 million deal, Stephon Gilmore has rebounded to post high-caliber numbers down the stretch and in the playoffs. He put an exclamation point on that string of performances in last Sunday's AFC Championship Game--on fourth down with the Jaguars driving for a game-winning touchdown, he soared to bat away a Blake Bortles pass and seal the game for the Patriots. Gilmore took some time to reflect on that play and his season as a whole on Tuesday. Per NBCSB:

"Just go get the football," said Gilmore. "Don't worry about him. Coach always tells us don't even worry about the receiver. Go get the ball. Be the receiver. So that's what I did."

"It ain't always going to go all gravy," Gilmore said when asked about his road this season. "You move to a different team, you gotta figure everything out. Meeting new people. Getting used to playing with these guys. Getting used to all new things. It's no excuse, but you've just gotta keep working and preparing and playing hard."

Gilmore's teammates in the secondary corroborated his account. Safety Devin McCourty called him "a very talented guy," adding that Gilmore "played awesome. He stepped up." Duran Harmon referred to him as a "silent assassin" and said that "All he did was continue to get better, ignore the noise, put in the extra work, and it's no coincidence why he was able to make that play on that fourth down today."

But despite all the praise for that crucial play, Gilmore isn't done: "'I came here to have an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl,' he said, wearing his newly-issued AFC Championship Game hat. 'When New England called, that was the reason I came here.'"

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