This says more about the New England Patriots’ defense as a whole than it does about the player, but it’s remarkable Stephon Gilmore has been one of the unit’s poorest performing players through five weeks while still maintaining his high level of play from last season.
Everything is relative. Gilmore has still been very, very good this season and would be one of the best players on most NFL defenses. But he currently leads Patriots defenders in yards allowed in coverage with 18 catches on 33 targets for 239 yards with an interception. Quarterbacks have a 65.1 passer rating while targeting Gilmore, which is 12th best among 75 qualified cornerbacks. It’s just that JC Jackson, Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones rank first, third and sixth, respectively.
Gilmore is regularly covering the opposing team’s best receiver. The Patriots’ secondary is locking down nearly every receiver it faces.
Check out this week’s takeaways and advanced metrics from Sunday’s 33-7 Patriots win over the Washington Redskins via Pro Football Focus.
LB Kyle Van Noy: QB hit, three hurries
LB Dont’a Hightower: two sacks, hurry
DE Deatrich Wise: QB hit, two hurries
DT Danny Shelton: sack, hurry
LB Jamie Collins: sack, hurry
DE Chase Winovich: sack, hurry
DE Michael Bennett: sack
DT Adam Butler: hurry
— Lawrence Guy, Shilique Calhoun, John Simon and Ja’Whaun Bentley received pass-rush reps but didn’t generate any pressure.
— Wise (10 snaps), Winovich (nine snaps) and Collins (seven snaps) were extremely productive on a per-play basis.
— Bennett only played 14 out of 56 possible snaps. He’s down to 37.9 percent of defensive snaps on the season.
CB Stephon Gilmore: 3-5, 51 yards
CB Jason McCourty: 4-5, 22 yards, INT
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: 5-5, 17 yards
LB Jamie Collins: 2-2, 10 yards
LB Elandon Roberts: 1-2, 6 yards, PBU
CB Jonathan Jones: 1-1, 5 yards
CB JC Jackson: 1-2, 4 yards
LB Dont’a Hightower: 1-1, 4 yards
FS Devin McCourty: 0-1
— Safety Duron Harmon took on the bulk of Patrick Chung’s snaps while Chung was out with a heel injury. Harmon wasn’t targeted.
— Jones and Jackson also took on bigger roles and played extremely well.
— Safety Terrence Brooks also wasn’t targeted.
— Bentley only was on the field in coverage for six snaps, and he was targeted five times. He held up well, allowing just 3.4 yards per attempt/completion. But it’s clear Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy was going after Bentley.
LB Dont’a Hightower: five stops, missed tackle
CB Jason McCourty: four stops, missed tackle
LB Jamie Collins: four stops, missed tackle
CB Jonathan Jones: two stops
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: two stops
DT Danny Shelton: two stops
DE Deatrich Wise: two stops
DT Adam Butler: two stops, missed tackle
CB Stephon Gilmore: stop
LB Kyle Van Noy: stop
CB JC Jackson: stop
DE Chase Winovich: stop
LB Elandon Roberts: stop
FS Devin McCourty: two missed tackles
FS Duron Harmon: missed tackle
SS Terrence Brooks: missed tackle
— The Patriots allowed 7.3 yards per carry, but that includes wide receiver Steven Sims’ 65-yard touchdown run. Redskins running backs ran for 66 yards on 17 carries, averaging 3.9 yards per carry.
— Hightower had two tackles for loss in the run game and one more on a short pass behind the line of scrimmage.
— Wise and Harmon shared a tackle for loss.
— Bentley had a tackle for loss in the passing game.
LT Marshall Newhouse: two sacks, QB hit, two hurries
LG Joe Thuney: three hurries
C Ted Karras: sack, two hurries
RG Shaq Mason: hurry
RT Marcus Cannon: sack, three hurries
— No running backs or tight ends allowed any pressure.
— The Patriots’ offensive line has to start doing a better job of protecting quarterback Tom Brady and giving him more time to throw. It will help when left tackle Isaiah Wynn returns in Week 11. But it’s not just Newhouse who is struggling right now.
— Newhouse and Cannon rank 47th and 29th, respectively, in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency out of 67 qualified offensive tackles. Thuney and Mason rank seventh and 52nd, respectively, out of 72 qualified guards in pass-blocking efficiency. Karras ranks 21st out of 33 centers in pass-blocking efficiency.
— Wynn had allowed just one QB hit in 42 pass-blocking snaps before going down with a toe injury.
— Brady has faced the eighth-least pressure among 37 qualified quarterbacks so far this season.
— Brady went 28-of-42 for 348 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
— Of Brady’s 14 incompletions, two were drops, two were throwaways, one came as he was hit while throwing and one was batted at the line of scrimmage. Brady had a 78.9 accuracy rate.
— Brady was 1-of-2 for 29 yards with a touchdown on deep passes. Running back Brandon Bolden caught his lone deep completion.
— Brady took longer to throw than usual. He got rid of the ball in 2.72 seconds. He came into the week throwing in 2.32 seconds on average.
— Brady was under pressure on 34.8 percent of dropbacks, and he ate four sacks. He went 6-of-12 for 134 yards with a touchdown and interception while under pressure. He threw two balls away.
WR Julian Edelman: drop
TE Matt LaCosse: drop
— Wide receiver Josh Gordon received a deep target, but Brady overthrew him.
— Running back Sony Michel caught his first three passes of the season for 32 yards.
— Brady had a 154.6 passer rating targeting Edelman despite the drop.
RB James White: 2.17 yards after contact per attempt, three forced missed tackles
RB Sony Michel: 1.88 yards after contact per attempt, four forced missed tackles
RB Brandon Bolden: .8 yards after contact per attempt
— Michel had his best game of the season, picking up 5.7 yards per carry with 91 yards on 16 carries.
LB Kyle Van Noy
Van Noy was overshadowed by Hightower, but he had a solid game, himself, leading the Patriots in total pressures.
CB Jonathan Jones
Jones allowed just one catch and one target resulting in a 5-yard catch. Can’t get much better than that on 43 snaps.
Jones has allowed just 69 yards from the slot all season. He also forced a fumble that was recovered by Collins on Sunday.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, go to ProFootballFocus.com.