FOXBORO – Stephon Gilmore made few mistakes during the 2018 season. A career-year led to his second Pro Bowl bid and a first-team All-Pro nod for the first time in the cornerback’s career.
On Sunday, things didn’t start out so hot.
At 4:56 of the first quarter, Gilmore was turned around on a Keenan Allen route. The mistake led to a 43-yard touchdown.
“I was just trying to be a little too nosey. It happened. Got to forgot about it and got to make the next play,” Gilmore said.
The cornerback settled down and the Patriots defense reaped the benefits in Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Allen had just one more catch, and it wasn't on Gilmore, for the rest of the game, after his first-quarter touchdown. The Patriots No. 1 corner finished batted down one pass and intercepted Phillip Rivers in the fourth quarter to make amends for the early mistake.
“I had to make up for that," Gilmore said. "I was mad at myself.”
This season, Gilmore allowed just 42 percent of the passes thrown on him to be caught. He only allowed four touchdowns in 16 games after allowing two in the first three contests. He said he was able to lock Allen down on Sunday by getting physical with the receiver. He also made the Pro Bowl wide out pay for trying to beat him with the same route.
With 4:18 remaining, Rivers attempted to hit Allen, but Gilmore recognized the play and jumped the route.
“He got me on the out route like two plays before that,” Gilmore said. “I just kind of felt it and knew it was coming and was able to go up and grab the ball.”