The key to J.C. Jackson getting interceptions for the Patriots? "I'm a playmaker, man."
FOXBORO – You don’t get an interception in five straight games by accident.
But the question remained – how does J.C. Jackson keep coming up with picks every week?
“I mean, I’m a playmaker, man,” said Jackson, an Immokalee High grad.
It’s hard to deny it at this point. With Stephon Gilmore inactive for a third straight week, Jackson stepped right up into the spot as the New England Patriots top cornerback. While he gave up some chunk plays the last two weeks, the Baltimore Ravens’ receivers he lined up against Sunday night did nothing of the sort. Jackson came up with a huge pick late in the first half, his fifth straight game with an INT, and broke up another pass to help the Patriots come away with a 23-17 win.
“We played complementary football, which Coach [Belichick] always talks about. The offense had a great game. I feel like as a team, we all played good football, offensively and defensively,” Jackson said. “We didn’t give up any big plays, the offense didn’t have any turnovers and we came out with the W.”
Jackson’s interception just before halftime played a rather large role in that dub.
The Patriots had just gotten a 24-yard touchdown pass by Jakobi Meyers to Rex Burkhead to take a 13-10 lead with 1:06 left in the second quarter. It was the type of momentum-building play teams need to win games they aren’t supposed to.
Lamar Jackson nearly stole it all back, getting the Ravens up the field in a hurry. With 14 seconds left, Baltimore was at the New England 38 – within field goal range for Justin Tucker even with Sunday’s monsoon – when reigning NFL MVP went for a home run ball to Marquise Brown, who was streaking up the right sidelines.
The play never had a chance. Jackson ran side-by-side with Brown down the sideline, cutting in front as Lamar Jackson’s pass strayed inside the field instead of the sideline. Jackson secured the catch and the halftime lead.
“I know how to play the ball pretty well. I feel like I become the receiver when I go up for the ball,” Jackson said. “When I go up for the ball, I become the receiver and I make a play on the ball every chance I get.”
It’s the fifth straight game with an interception for Jackson, setting a Patriots’ franchise record. The former mark of four was set by Hall of Famer Mike Haynes before being tied by Devin McCourty last season. If Jackson can get picks in each of the next three games, he’ll tie the NFL record set by Oakland’s Tom Morrow set during 1962-63.
“I’m just happy to be able to accomplish that. But when I’m done playing, I’ll look at all the records and stuff like that,” said Jackson, who will see DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans next week. “But I’m just proud of my team, the way we came out and competed and won.”
Jackson's 14 interceptions are the most in the league since 2018 when he signed with New England as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland. Miami's Xavien Howard is next with 13.