Motivation

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore used Davante Adams' words as motivation for shutdown performance

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FOXBOROUGH — Stephon Gilmore hadn’t seen a No. 1 wide receiver like Green Bay’s Davante Adams since the Patriots’ season opener.

On Sunday night, he shut Adams down like he was a scrub.

During New England’s 31-17 triumph over the Packers, Gilmore surrendered a measly two catches to Adams on five targets for 15 yards. He recorded one pass break-up and forced the talented wideout to play defense on another, where Gilmore ran Adams’ deep route for him. Even better, Gilmore steered Aaron Rodgers away from his favorite target down the stretch.

Adams saw only two second-half targets; this after he’d entered kickoff as a top-10 receiver by yards and receiving touchdowns. 

“He was pretty good,” Gilmore said. “But I was gonna play my game regardless of who I’m going against.”

Recalling their matchup post-game, Gilmore admitted that days ago he’d heard about Adams boasting he didn’t feel like anyone could guard him. And those words fueled Gilmore on the field.

“I didn’t like what he said earlier in the week,” he said. “I kinda took it personal a little bit, but he’s a good receiver.”

Gilmore’s lockdown performance was the latest in a growing string for the veteran cornerback. Dating back to Week 4, Gilmore has allowed quarterbacks to complete 30 percent of their passes for 111 yards when throwing in his direction. 

His numbers Sunday even appear inflated upon recognizing that one of Adams’ catches arrived on a hitch route run immediately after the snap and behind a blocking wide receiver. Gilmore, in off coverage, had no chance to make a play on the ball and may have been in zone.

Nonetheless, he came up to make the tackle.

For Adams, like many a No. 1 receiver before him, there was simply no getting away from Stephon Gilmore on Sunday.

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