Shaq Lawson's game-changing interception helps lead Jets to comeback win over Bengals

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Shaq Lawson celebrates with teammates black jerseys
Shaq Lawson celebrates with teammates black jerseys

After Ty Johnson scored a 19-yard touchdown to bring the Jets within five points with just under three minutes to go in Sunday’s matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, Robert Saleh needed a big stop from the defense.

And not only did they stop the Bengals from scoring, the Jets defense came away with their first interception of the season as Shaq Lawson came up with a tip-drill pick of Joe Burrow to set the Jets offense up at the Bengals’ 14-yard-line.

Some more Mike White magic on offense led the Jets to a huge 34-31 victory, but Lawson’s first-career interception at any level was a much-needed game-changing play by the defense.

“I [saw] the tackle block down and I got my hands on some balls early and I had a chance to catch it, but the O-line knocked me down. Our D-Line coach [Aaron Whitecotton] kept telling us ‘We’ve got to make a big play.’ We’ve been talking about the last couple of weeks they’ve been scheming us, but we just had to find a way to make a play,” Lawson said after the game.

“The play happened so slow … Like I know I tipped it, but I blacked out. I don’t think I was thinking like ‘I’ve got to catch this, like I can’t let Joe Burrow interfere with me on that.’ That was a just a big play, man. … That’s my first interception ever, so I didn’t even know how to act when I got it.”

“To give our offense a chance on the short field, give them the ball inside the 20 and let’s see them go score – made the play, obviously a huge play, and for the offense to finish it and go score was obviously huge,” added Saleh. “That was the deciding factor.”

The Jet defense took their lumps last Sunday, as the New England Patriots demolished them to the tune of a lopsided 54-13 win.

According to Lawson, the Jets needed to get that bad taste out of their mouths.

“We took (last week) personally. We all came in there, and as a D-line, it starts with us,” Lawson said. “We put it on us and we just had to do better. We knew we had a great team, the Bengals, coming in here and we knew we were going to get their best shot, and we just had to find a way to win and help the offense out.”

“The entire defense took it personal,” Saleh said of last week’s performance. “You always want to take it personal. Last week was not indicative of who we are as a defense, and I think it was important for those guys to just get back to Sunday to go play ball against a playoff-caliber football team.

“We’re capable of doing this stuff. Tennessee wasn’t a fluke. This was not a fluke. We’ve got a good football team. This youth has got to find its consistency, which I think we’re, again a big, big step in the right direction, and we’ve got a short week this week against a good Indianapolis team and we’ll see if we can stack it up and do it again.”