It was a game that was seconds away from being the Jets' first victory of the season. Instead rookie WR Henry Ruggs and rookie CB Lamar Jackson battled as they headed toward the end zone. A desperate pass from Raiders QB Derek Carr sailed over Jackson's head and into Ruggs' hands. And just like that on Sunday, the Jets had lost their 12th straight game of the season
Jackson did not shy away from facing the media and answering questions about the play.
"First and foremost, we are in zero coverage, so I have my man," Jackson said. "I knew the situation and knew they were going to be taking a shot at the end zone, so initially I was trying to get back and protect the end zone. The receiver gave me a nice double move and head fake and I took to it. He's a fast guy so he was able to get a step in and that was that. It's tough, it's a learning experience and I can only get better from here. How I see it is I just know what not to do next time."
Up until that moment, Jackson (6-2, 208) had played a solid game in the Week 13 matchup, tallying 3 tackles. Although Jackson was the singular focus at the end of the contest, the defense had struggled all game to contain Carr and the Raiders' passing game. Carr completed 59.6% of his pass attempts and threw for 381 yards and 3 TDs.
"That's something that's over my head," Jackson said when asked about the play, which called for an all-out blitz. "I know I can only just play the call. I'm just a rookie, I have no leverage or seniority to debate a call or ask about a call. I just have to do my job. I heard the call, so I had to execute it. I didn't execute it to the best of my ability or the way I wanted to. At the same time, I know that play is not going to define my career."
Jackson, an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska, said he would not allow the game's final play to define him and his abilities.
"At the end of the day it's my man," Jackson said. "So, if he's running across the field, he's my man. I just have to play the route. They executed what they put in place and we didn't. … It sucks because of the situation and just the pure fact that we were coming off a big stop on defense and we could almost taste the win."
He added: "It's been a long season and we're looking for our first win each week. Every time we think we taste it; something goes left and that's the most frustrating part. The call, my ability, I'm not going to question that or dwell on it too long. How it happened, it was a walk-off touchdown on me, so as a competitor, it's going to be tough. But I know it's not going to happen next time."