The New England Patriots and their fans celebrated a defensive victory coming up with a stand at the end of the game to clinch a 19-14 victory and a 3-2 overall record.
Contrary to what has happened this season, the Patriots held the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to 319 yards passing and and no touchdown passes until the end of the fourth quarter.
In the four day turn around, nobody expected this team to just pull a complete switch and look like a team that could rely on its defense to win a game if its offense had a bad day. But that’s what the Patriots faithful saw.
Look no further than the vastly improved play of Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who was like the nail to the hammer when it came to criticism this week.
Gilmore played the position with textbook efficiency last night with the cornerback making it clear that he was playing this game with determination to silence the critics
“I was out to prove something,” Gilmore said according to WEEI.com. “Just getting used to playing with these guys. They have a good secondary, D-line and linebackers. It was fun today. A lot better today. I was locked in on the communication. Following Evans, so that made it a little easier. I got my guy, I’m good.”
Gilmore blanketed Evans only surrendering 49 yards to the big play receiver and watching him play, you can see he looked like the surefire number one corner the Patriots invested in.
The former Buffalo Bill told reporters that he felt that there was a need to give a great performance to put the faith of the fans and the teammates back in his favor.
“You know you have to perform,” Gilmore said. “If you don’t, people are going to talk, but when you do, they will love you back again. As long as my teammates respect what I do, that is all that matters.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told reporters that he was proud of the way his number one corner played and the way his unit as a whole executed.
“I thought he responded good,” Belichick said. “I’ll look at the film and see how it goes. I mean Evans caught a couple of outs. We were in three deep zone. I thought (Gilmore) competed well. I thought our whole defense did.”
The Patriots have the weekend off and will get to work on preparing for the rival New York Jets next Sunday at 1 p.m. at MetLife Stadium.