FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots cornerback JC Jackson started his season with a hiccup, but he more than made amends by the end of the Patriots’ 21-11 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Head coach Bill Belichick seemingly forgave Jackson for a mental error committed on the punt return team by going out of his way to praise the young Patriots cornerback for a game-clinching interception late in the fourth quarter.
Jackson bumped Patriots wide receiver Damiere Byrd, causing a muffed punt early in the first quarter. Jackson immediately atoned for the sin by recovering the fumble then went on to put together a stellar defensive performance.
Jackson let up just two catches on four targets with a pass breakup and the interception while rotating with Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones in the Patriots’ secondary.
“I really take my hat off to JC,” Belichick said. “I thought JC really competed well today. He showed a lot of mental toughness and a real competitiveness in the game for him to make that play at the end to seal the win. … So I just wanted to personally congratulate him for that. It was good.”
Belichick was asked about the Patriots’ secondary but pulled an uncommon move by voluntarily shifting the focus of his answer to a specific player.
Jackson has been one of the NFL’s best defensive backs over his first two seasons, leading qualified cornerbacks in passer rating allowed in 2018 and 2019. He’s already off to a hot start in 2020, letting up a 22.9 passer rating in Week 1.
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