Stephon Gilmore certainly did not save his best for last.
Gilmore effectively had no answers for Dolphins No. 1 wideout DeVante Parker, who caught eight passes on 11 targets for 137 yards in Miami’s upset win over New England. The Patriots star cornerback, who arguably was the Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner entering Week 17, held Parker without a catch back in Week 2.
Not only was it a rarity to see Gilmore give up so many receptions, it was a bit surprising to see just how much the Dolphins threw his way in the first place. It’s not uncommon for signal-callers to largely steer clear of Gilmore given his tendency to lock up his opposition. Ryan Fitzpatrick clearly has a great deal of respect for Gilmore, but his confidence in Parker to make plays propelled the veteran quarterback to take chances.
“Well, you know, Steph is a special player and has been all year and has been for years now,” Fitzpatrick said, per a team-provided transcript. “For us and for me as a quarterback, I’m always going to rely on my playmakers, and DeVante’s been that guy all year long. There were a couple that maybe I didn’t get in there, make the throw or Steph did a good job with. But I wasn’t going to shy away from a matchup – not because I don’t respect the other guy but because I have that much confidence in our guy. DeVante really stepped up big today.”
Sunday marked Gilmore’s worst performance since Week 10 of last season when Corey Davis logged six catches for 98 yards with a touchdown in the Titans’ shellacking of the Patriots. Ironically enough, Tennessee will visit New England on Saturday night when the sides meet for a Wild Card-round matchup.
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