FOXBORO, Mass. — This week, Davante Adams called himself unguardable. On Sunday night, Stephon Gilmore — and the rest of the New England Patriots’ secondary — proved him wrong.
After surpassing 130 receiving yards in each of the Green Bay Packers’ previous three games, Adams was held to just 40 on six catches in a 31-17 loss to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
Though several defensive backs took turns defending the dangerous wide receiver — slot cornerback Jonathan Jones, for instance, was in coverage on his second-quarter touchdown catch — Gilmore was primarily responsible for ensuring Adams did not do to the Patriots what he’d done to the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions.
He did just that, further cementing his status as one of the NFL’s elite corners.
Gilmore allowed just two catches on four targets for 15 yards in the win while also breaking up a pass intended for Adams in the end zone and recovering a game-changing fumble, after which the Patriots scored 14 unanswered points to secure the victory.
After the game, Gilmore said Adams’ comments (“I don’t feel like anyone can guard me right now”) motivated him, despite brushing them off earlier in the week.
“He was pretty good, but I was going to play my game regardless of who I’m going against,” Gilmore said. “I didn’t like what he said earlier in the week. I kind of took it personal a little bit. But he’s a good receiver.”
The soft-spoken Gilmore said he didn’t voice his displeasure to Adams during the game. The two were involved in an after-the-whistle scuffle during the fourth quarter, though.
“I’m not a talker,” Gilmore said. “I just heard what he said during the week, so I took it a little personal.”
In New England’s last four games, Gilmore has allowed just seven catches on 20 targets for 86 yards and no touchdowns with four pass breakups, largely neutralizing Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson and Kelvin Benjamin before putting the clamps on Adams.
The Patriots defense as a whole fared well against Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers-led offense, allowing just seven points after halftime.