New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore captured the AP Defensive Player of the Year during Saturday’s NFL Honors, cementing his status as the best top cover man this season. Gilmore made history as he was the player in Patriots history and the first cornerback in a decade to win the said award, since Charles Woodson captured the trophy in 2009. Gilmore led the league in passes defended with 20 and recorded six interceptions, which is good for a share of first place. He also recorded two pick sixes while covering their opponents’ best receivers.

With Gilmore covering the best receivers, opposing quarterbacks completed just 47.4 of their passes.

Gilmore shut down several of the league’s best receivers, including Amari Cooper of the Dallas Cowboys,Odell Beckham Jr. of the Cleveland Browns, DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans, among others. Gilmore made his biggest impact this season when he held Cooper catchless in their 13-9 win over the Cowboys. When Gilmore received the award, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media spotted Hopkins giving the cornerback a standing ovation. In the Patriots’ three games against the Texans since Gilmore arrived in New England in 2017, Hopkins was limited to just 11 catches on 14 targets for 146 yards with an interception in three games.

Gilmore edges Chandler Jones for the award

According to the tally, Gilmore received 21 out of the possible 50 votes, Arizona Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones finished second with 14 while Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt came in third with 10 votes. Tampa Bay Buccaneers edge rusher Shaq Barrett got two votes while Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White, Minnesota Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald tallied one vote each.

With Gilmore leading the way, the Patriots defense finished first in the league in terms of yards allowed and points allowed, helping the team finish with a 12-4 record in the regular season. However, the Patriots’ quest for a seventh Super Bowl title ended with a 20-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card Game.

Brady lauds Gilmore’s win

Veteran quarterback Tom Brady took to social media to congratulate Gilmore on his achievement. On Instagram, he posted a photo of him and Gilmore with the caption “Congrats @bumpnrungilmore on winning such a prestigious award!” The 42-year-old Brady also praised Gilmore for his incredible play week after week and admired his work during practice is what we all admired and respected.

“You worked your ass off and we are all proud of you!!! “LOCK EM UP STEPH!!!” Brady ended. The Patriots’ outstanding defense was instrumental in their campaign this season as Brady struggled connecting with his wide receivers and tight ends. Brady will turn free agent for the first time in his career on March 18, but experts believe that he will stick with the Patriots.