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Terps in the NFL: J.C. Jackson snags ninth interception of the season

Here’s how former Terps performed in Week 17 of the 2020 NFL season.

NFL: JAN 03 Jets at Patriots Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2020 NFL regular season has officially concluded and the postseason bracket is set. Seven former Terps will continue their season in the playoffs.

While the New England Patriots had a down year, cornerback J.C. Jackson emerged into a star with a career-best season, going from undrafted three years ago to one of the league’s best secondary players.

On Sunday, he snagged his ninth interception of the season after catching an errant pass from Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.

Heading into Week 17, Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard led the NFL with nine interceptions, and just minutes after Jackson recorded his ninth, Howard picked off quarterback Josh Allen for his league-leading 10th of the year. Jackson finished the regular season with the second-most interceptions in the NFL.

In addition to his interception on Sunday, he added four total tackles and a pass deflection, finishing the season with a career-high 14 pass deflections.

Jackson finished the 2020 campaign with a career-high in nearly every single statistical category, including total tackles (40), solo tackles (34), pass deflections (14), interceptions (9) and fumble recoveries (3).

After the game concluded, Jackson was asked why the game mattered despite New England already being eliminated from playoff contention. He had a very passionate response.

Other Performers

  • Stefon Diggs capped off a spectacular season on Sunday, adding seven receptions for 76 yards on eight targets. The Buffalo Bills defeated Miami, 56-26, to clinch the No. 2-seed in the AFC. The fifth-year receiver finished the regular season leading the NFL in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535), both records for Buffalo. He is the first Bills player to ever lead the NFL in either category, and he did that in just his first season with the franchise. Diggs also added eight touchdowns as he cemented himself as arguably the best receiver in the league. He also seemed loose on the sidelines on Sunday, as he flossed his teeth during the game.
  • Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage Jr. continued his quest to land among the league’s best safeties. He recorded a career-high 10 total tackles, eight of which were solo, against Chicago. With a win, the Packers clinched the No. 1-seed in the NFC. Savage concluded 2020 with a career-high in total tackles (75), solo tackles (56), tackles for loss (3), interceptions (4), fumble recoveries (1), sacks (1) and games played (15).
  • Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore caught five passes for 101 yards in Sunday’s loss to New Orleans. Moore finished the best season of his career with 66 receptions for a career-high 1,193 yards, which was good for the 11th most receiving yards in the NFL. Moore had four games with at least 100 receiving yards and tied his career-high in touchdowns (4). Moore made arguably his best grab of the season Sunday with two defenders draped all over him. The third-year receiver and the Panthers missed the playoffs, but Moore will look to continue his upward trend next year.
  • Panthers linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. tied a game-high from this season with eight total tackles, three of which were solo, and added a pass deflection against New Orleans. Carter solidified himself as one of the best defenders in Carolina this year, finishing the 2020 season with a career-high in total tackles (46), solo tackles (36) and fumble recoveries (1). Carter saw more time on the field as the season progressed and was extremely efficient. Like Moore, Carter is on the rise for Carolina.
  • Chicago Bears linebacker Josh Woods totaled a career-high four tackles, all of which were solo tackles, against Green Bay. Woods primarily played on special teams for Chicago in 2020, but he took on a defensive role towards the end of the season. He finished the year with 14 total tackles, 10 solo tackles and recorded a fumble, which were all career-highs. Despite losing to the Packers, Woods and the Bears clinched a playoff spot with Arizona losing its game. Woods will look to take his career-best game into the postseason.
  • New York Jets running back Ty Johnson tied with Josh Adams for the team-lead in carries on Sunday against the Patriots. He ran the ball 11 times for 45 rushing yards and caught two passes for 23 yards. Johnson had a decent season after getting picked up by the Jets, recording his first career rushing touchdown and receiving touchdown during the 2020 season.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers safety Sean Davis put together his best game of the season. He recorded a season-high six total tackles and a pass deflection against the Browns; he previously had six tackles all season. Davis began the 2020 season mostly as a special teams contributor but later produced defensively for Pittsburgh. He totaled 12 tackles in 2020 with one fumble recovery.
  • Steelers rookie running back Anthony McFarland Jr. rushed five times for 17 yards and was targeted once through the air in the loss to Cleveland. The Steelers rested starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as they had already clinched the playoffs and will be the No. 3-seed in the AFC. McFarland finished his rookie season with 33 carries for 113 yards and six receptions for 19 yards. He spent his time playing behind James Conner, Benny Snell and sometimes Jaylen Samuels in the backfield.
  • New England defensive tackle Byron Cowart started against the Jets on Sunday but failed to record a stat in the contest. Cowart finished his second NFL season with career-highs, with 14 total tackles and three quarterback hits.
  • Cincinnati Bengals rookie linebacker Keandre Jones was elevated from the practice squad for Sunday's game. He did not record a stat after recording his first career NFL tackle last week in his NFL debut.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers rookie safety Antoine Brooks Jr. did not record a stat on Sunday.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Derwin Gray remained on the practice squad after being picked up off of waivers last week.
  • Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson recorded three tackles in the win over the Dolphins.
  • Baltimore Ravens defensive end Yannick Ngakoue was inactive.
  • The Washington Football Team released running back Javon Leake from their practice squad this week. Leake spent time with the Giants’ practice squad, along with Washington’s in 2020.