ATLANTA — Another postseason, another big play for Stephon Gilmore.
One year after he made a game-changing play against the Jaguars in the AFC title game, the cornerback sealed New England’s sixth Super Bowl when he picked off a pass from Jared Goff with just over four minutes left in regulation, giving the Patriots the ball back and helping them come away with a 13-3 win in Super Bowl LIII.
For his efforts, he wins #StayCovered Defensive Play of the Game honors.
The Rams were driving for what would have been a game-tying score with just over four minutes to go. And the veteran cornerback, who was working in coverage against former Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks, was able to make a break on a pass from Goff that was underthrown, thanks in part to pressure on the quarterback.
“When those guys get pressure on the quarterback, I like our chances against anybody,” Gilmore said after the game.
“It was blitz coverage,” he added. “And I was able to see the ball the whole time. It was kind of like … I saw the ball the whole time. It was kind of like an easy pick for me. It’s like … playing throw it up in the backyard. You throw the ball in the air, you just have to come down with the play.”
SUPER BOWL PROP WINNER:
* First Patriot to Record an Interception = Stephon Gilmore +600
— SBR Sports Picks (@SBRSportsPicks) February 4, 2019
“To be honest, I couldn’t believe he threw it,” marveled Gilmore. “I was just like in my head, ‘I know he didn’t throw this right now.’ He saw me looking at him. It was a great play — the guys put great pressure on the quarterback. I was able to see it the whole time.
“That’s my fault,” Goff said afterward. “I can’t put us in that situation. I knew they were bringing a cover-zero blitz there and I tried to hit Brandin on a go-ball, and Gilmore was too far off for me to make that decision. It was a bad decision by me, and I have to be better.”
While Gilmore’s play was huge, attention should also be paid to the pass breakup made by Jason McCourty in the third quarter on a deep ball for Cooks. Goff had Cooks all alone in the end zone for what would have been a go-ahead score, but McCourty raced over to knock the ball out of the back of the end zone, preventing the big play and making things a little easier on the Patriots.
Jason McCourty won his first Super Bowl with his brother and made one of the most underrated plays of the game. 🔒 pic.twitter.com/0jYsC4JYLP
— Young Boston™ (@YoungBostonTM) February 4, 2019
“That was a tremendous play,” said Bill Belichick. “That was a tremendous effort, a great play on the ball. We had several good pass breakups in there. Of course, Gilmore’s play on the blitz, going up and high-pointing the ball and took it away for the interception was another huge one.
“Jason McCourty, that was a tremendous play. It was Cooks standing there fair-catching the ball in the end zone,” Belichick said with a laugh. “McCourty came out of nowhere to make the play. It was a tremendous play.”
“Just one of those plays,” Cooks shrugged after the game. “Kind of popped open — busted coverage — and you know, I was just back there waiting for the ball. Not something we expected, so Jared saw it late, and you know, I just got to go up earlier to give myself a better opportunity and not be in the back of the end zone and let the guy get close to me.”