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Terps in the NFL: J.C. Jackson continues to lead NFL in pass deflections

Here’s how former Terps performed in Week 15 of the 2021 NFL season.

NFL: DEC 18 Patriots at Colts Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson added yet another special game to his impressive 2021 resume on Saturday against Indianapolis.

Jackson, who leads the NFL in pass deflections with 20, totaled three tackles and deflected three passes from quarterback Carson Wentz in the 27-17 loss to the Colts. The fourth-year defensive back produced and played in 100% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps for the fourth time this season and the first time since Week Five.

Jackson has at least one pass deflection in all but two games this season and has totaled 10 in the last six games to lead the entire league. He has allowed just nine receptions over the course of the last six games, according to Pro Football Focus. He sits second in interceptions with seven, which is three behind Dallas safety Trevon Diggs.

Jackson is currently having one of the more memorable campaigns for a New England cornerback in recent memory, compared to others at his position. In 2014 when the Patriots won the Super Bowl, quarterbacks completed 45% of their targets and had a 55.3 passer rating against Darrelle Revis. In 2019, quarterbacks completed 50.5% of their targets and had a 44.1 passer rating against Stephon Gilmore. Through 14 games in 2021, quarterbacks have completed 44% of their targets and have a 29.4 passer rating against Jackson.

As of Monday, Jackson was leading the NFL in Pro Bowl fan voting for AFC cornerbacks. The Pro Bowl rosters will be announced Wednesday.

New England will face Buffalo next week for the second time in its last three games, which means Jackson will go up against fellow former Maryland football star Stefon Diggs in another game that will possess massive postseason implications.

Other performers

  • Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs found the end zone for the first time since Week 12 on Sunday against Carolina. Diggs caught four passes for 35 yards and one touchdown on seven targets in the Bills 31-14 win over Carolina. It marked his eighth touchdown grab this season. Through Week 15, Diggs is eighth in the NFL in targets (128), tied for eighth in touchdown receptions (8), 12th in receptions (82), and tied for 12th in receiving yards (1,007). Diggs and the Bills will face Jackson and the Patriots next week.
  • Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore was solid on Sunday against Buffalo. Moore caught six passes for 48 yards on 11 targets. He also made a spectacular one-handed grab in the end zone to complete a two-point conversion. He has been one of the more consistent receivers this season, despite the fact that Carolina has used several different quarterbacks. Moore sits seventh in the NFL in targets (133), 14th in receiving yards (986) and 15th in receptions (78), but he has struggled to score touchdowns this year with just four in 14 games.
  • Panthers linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. turned in another impressive performance this week. Carter tied for a team-high in tackles in the game with seven total stops. It was the second straight week in which Carter totaled seven tackles. He has now recorded at least five total tackles in every game since Week 6 as he continues to produce in the most successful NFL season of his career.
  • Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage Jr. continued his reliable 2021 season on Sunday in Baltimore. Savage totaled six tackles with five solo tackles. He appeared in 100% of the Packers’ snaps on defense for the eighth straight game and the 12th time this season. Green Bay snuck out of Baltimore with a one-point win, which could have been a loss if the Ravens converted the final-second two-point conversion attempt. Savage and the Packers now stand alone atop the entire NFL with an 11-3 record.
  • Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson started in his 14th game of the season on Monday night. He recorded two total tackles and a tackle for loss. Jefferson has a tackle for loss in each of the last two games and has totaled four this season. The Raiders miraculously beat Cleveland, 16-14, to improve to 7-7 and remain in the hunt for a playoff spot in the AFC.
  • Fellow Las Vegas defensive lineman Yannick Ngakoue was minimal in production in Monday’s win. Ngakoue failed to record a tackle, but he continued to get to the opposing quarterback, which has been his best skill since coming into the NFL. He recorded one quarterback hit on Sunday and has totaled at least one quarterback hit in all but two games this year. The pass-rusher, Jefferson, and the Raiders will host Denver next week.
  • Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Michael Dunn made his second career NFL start on Monday night this week. The Browns have been battling with COVID-19 and with several players out, Dunn was able to start and appear in 100% of the team’s offensive snaps for the first time in his career. It was just his third time playing on the offensive side of the football this year for Cleveland.
  • After posting two of the best games of his career, Detroit Lions linebacker Josh Woods only played in two total defensive snaps and did not record a stat on Sunday. The Lions pulled off the ultimate upset and defeated the NFL-leading Arizona Cardinals, 30-12, to improve to 2-11-1.
  • Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keandre Jones made his second straight appearance after being elevated to the active roster from the practice squad. Jones totaled one tackle on special teams, which was his first of the season and the second of his career. He has now appeared in four NFL games in the last two seasons.
  • Los Angeles Rams rookie running back Jake Funk, who was originally ruled out for the season with a hamstring injury, was activated for Tuesday’s game against the Seahawks. Funk appeared in 50% of the Rams’ special teams snaps but did not record a stat. It was his seventh appearance this season and his first game since Week 6 on Oct. 17.
  • New York Jets running back Ty Johnson was a healthy scratch on Sunday against Miami.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers running back Anthony McFarland Jr. was a healthy scratch on Sunday against Tennessee.
  • Running back Trey Edmunds remained on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad this week.
  • New England Patriots safety Sean Davis remained on the practice squad this week.
  • Offensive lineman Derwin Gray stayed on the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad this week.
  • Tight end Tyler Mabry was waived by the Seattle Seahawks in the middle of November but was signed to their practice squad last week.
  • Antoine Brooks Jr. was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list on Thursday by the Los Angeles Rams. He was one of nine Rams players to land on the list on Thursday. Brooks did not clear the protocols and was therefore inactive for Tuesday’s game against Seattle.
  • Patriots defensive lineman Byron Cowart was designated to return by New England on Oct. 20. The Patriots had three weeks from then to activate him off the PUP or leave him there for the season.