Cornerback Stephon Gilmore was the subject of heavy criticism after the Patriots lost to the Panthers last Sunday and the sluggish play of the defense as a whole has been a big talking point through the first quarter of the season.
The unit came up with a better performance against the Buccaneers on Thursday night. They held the Buccaneers under 200 yards through the first three quarters of the game and avoided giving up the big plays that have been a thorn in their side in past games. Tampa found some momentum in the fourth quarter, but the Patriots were able to keep the Bucs out of the end zone at the end of the game to secure a 19-14 win.
Gilmore spent much of the night on Mike Evans, who had five catches for 49 yards, and said afterward that he was pleased with how things went.
“I was out to prove something,” Gilmore said, via WEEI.com. “Just getting used to playing with these guys. They have a good secondary, D-line and linebackers. It was fun today. A lot better today. I was locked in on the communication. Following Evans, so that made it a little easier. I got my guy, I’m good.”
It wasn’t a perfect outing for the defense and the sentiment would be different if Nick Folk made his kicks, but it was better than before and the team now has 10 days to work on doing even more against the Jets.