At every turn of the calendar, the NFL’s two conferences announce their players of the previous month — and for the second month in a row, a member of the New England Patriots defense took home the trophy earlier today: after safety Devin McCourty was given the award for AFC Defensive Player of the Month for September, cornerback Stephon Gilmore was announced as the recipient for the month of October.
Gilmore, who is in his third season with the Patriots after joining the team from the Buffalo Bills during free agency 2017, is a first-time recipient of the trophy and it is not hard to see why he won it: appearing in four games this month, the 29-year-old was outstanding while regularly going against opponents’ number one wide receivers. Along the way, he was targeted 21 times but surrendered only seven receptions for 90 yards.
The first-team All-Pro also registered a pair of interceptions and five additional pass breakups along the way, resulting in a passer rating of just 8.1 — far worse than throwing every pass attempt incomplete, which would result in a 39.6 rating. Needless to say that Gilmore has been terrific in October (and before that as well) and his performance is a big reason for the Patriots’ continued defensive success so far this season.
Gilmore is the fourth member of the Patriots to earn an individual NFL award this season. Punter Jake Bailey was named the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week after New England’s win against the New York Jets in Week 3, while linebacker Kyle Van Noy was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week after the team’s victory in Buffalo one week later. The aforementioned Devin McCourty, meanwhile, received the Player of the Month trophy in September.