High School Football

Check out Stephon Gilmore’s play that sent the Patriots back to the Super Bowl

Stephon Gilmore left Buffalo to compete for Super Bowls, and he’ll have a chance to do that in two weeks after making a game-saving play to help New England beat Jacksonville on Sunday in the AFC Championship game.
Stephon Gilmore left Buffalo to compete for Super Bowls, and he’ll have a chance to do that in two weeks after making a game-saving play to help New England beat Jacksonville on Sunday in the AFC Championship game. AP

Stephon Gilmore left Buffalo last NFL offseason for a huge contract with the New England Patriots.

But the main reason any NFL free agent joins the New England Patriots is to win Super Bowls, and Gilmore, the former South Pointe Stallion, will have a chance to do that Feb. 4, 2018.

The Patriots held off Jacksonville 24-20 in the AFC Championship, with Gilmore making a critical fourth quarter defensive play to seal the win.

With less than 2 minutes to play, Jacksonville drove the ball to the Patriots’ 43-yard line. They had one last play to keep the chains moving, a fourth-and 15. Gilmore lined up across from Jaguars receiver Dede Westbrook in the slot, and Westbrook got a great jump off the line. He was past Gilmore by about a step, down the right seam.

Blake Bortles’ pass was pretty well thrown, but Gilmore’s play was exceptional. He leapt and hanged in the air with an outstretched right arm, hooking the ball down to the ground at the last second. The Patriots’ offense took over and picked up a first down on Dion Lewis’ run to clinch their Super Bowl return.

Gilmore told the Boston Sports Journal his thought was to “be the receiver. Don’t worry about the player. That’s what the offense is taught to do, so that’s what the coaches teach us to do. Go make a play.”

Gilmore played all 74 defensive snaps and made five tackles, along with two pass break-ups.

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