How J.C. Jackson Made Patriots History As Interception Streak Grows

'I feel like I become the receiver'


November 16, 2020

FOXBORO, Mass. — In last week’s win over the New York Jets, J.C. Jackson allowed two touchdowns before redeeming himself with a pivotal interception.

He skipped the first part Sunday night.

Jackson picked off a Lamar Jackson deep ball in the waning seconds of the first half, spoiling a Baltimore Ravens scoring chance in a game the New England Patriots went on to win 23-17.

This is becoming a trend for New England’s budding star cornerback.

Jackson now has registered an interception in five consecutive games — a new Patriots franchise record and the longest streak in the NFL since 2014.

Jackson’s six interceptions this season lead all NFL defenders.

“I’m a playmaker, man,” the ever-confident cover man said in his postgame video conference. “I know how to play better than — I know how to play the ball pretty well. I feel like I become the receiver. When I go up for the ball, I become the receiver and I make a play on the ball, every chance I get.”

On this particular play, Jackson ran stride for stride with Ravens speedster Marquise Brown, unfazed by Brown’s stutter-step off the line. As Lamar Jackson’s pass arrived, elevated and overpowered the 5-foot-9 wideout.

Since he entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2018, Jackson leads all NFL players in interceptions with 14. Xavien Howard, the Miami Dolphins’ Pro Bowl corner, is second with 13.

Here’s another stat to chew on: Sunday’s game was the 38th of Jackson’s Patriots career. Since 2000, only three players have nabbed more than 14 interceptions in their first 38 games: Marcus Peters (16), Richard Sherman (15) and Ed Reed (15).

?He?s a beast, man,” Patriots safety Adrian Phillips said of Jackson. “I don?t know how he does it. Some people just have a knack for finding the ball. Quarterbacks keep wanting to try him, and I don?t know why they do that. I mean, we love it because he gets the pick, we get off the field, we get to celebrate. If they continue to do that, then so be it. Let him go after the record.”

Since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, Asante Samuel is the only Patriots player to register double-digit interceptions in a single season (10, 2006). The post-merger NFL record is 13, by Lester Hayes in 1980.

With Stephon Gilmore sidelined with a knee injury, Jackson’s has served as New England’s No. 1 corner for the last three games, giving him ample opportunity to showcase his renowned ball skills. He allowed just one catch on four targets for 14 yards Sunday night.

“He?s just one of those guys, like, you see him 24/7 — before practice, he?s catching the ball,” Phillips said. “He?s doing ball drills. When we?re in practice and the offense is doing their script, he?s catching the ball. After practice, he?s catching the ball. It?s all about the ball with him, and it shows on the field.”

As for his new place in the Patriots’ record book, Jackson said he’ll worry about personal accomplishments once his career his over.

“I’m happy to be able to accomplish that,” he said. “But when I’m done playing, I’ll look at all the records and stuff like that. I’m just proud of my team, the way we came out and competed and won.”

Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
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