Patriots

J.C. Jackson, Patriots defense handed a slice of humble pie by Buffalo

Adam Richins For BSJ

Amid all of the doom and gloom spewed out last week following the Patriots' 22-12 loss against the Dolphins, J.C. Jackson did what he could to remain positive — even if New England's front seven was thoroughly trampled by a usually listless rushing attack from the Fins.

Granted, trying to polish a sordid showing from New England's defensive unit wasn't going to get very far — not on an afternoon in which the Pats relinquished 250 yards on the ground down at Hard Rock Stadium, and especially not in the immediate aftermath of a loss that officially bumped Bill Belichick's club out of playoff contention.

No, rather than try to view that loss through rose-colored glasses, Jackson instead looked ahead — doling out some assurance that this defense was not going to let another embarrassing effort mar what has already been a trying season down Foxborough.

"We've just got to play better as a team in my opinion, which we will," Jackson said postgame down in Miami Gardens. "We will. We will get shit together and we're going to get ready for Buffalo next week - Monday night."

Of course, for as daunting as Buffalo's offense — orchestrated by Brian Daboll and executed by Josh Allen — has been this season, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Jackson's confidence was unwavering entering Monday night's showdown with the new top dogs in the AFC East.

You certainly can't blame the young defensive back — not with eight interceptions on his stat line this season and plenty of buzz generated from being omitted as a Pro Bowl selection.

“I feel like I had an OK season,” Jackson said earlier this week on his game. “I could have done much better. In some games, I could have played better, better performance. I’ll never get myself credit. I can be way better than I was this year, trust me. They haven’t seen nothing yet.”

If the 25-year-old cornerback was looking for an opportunity to cement himself as one of top young DBs in the game, Monday's national showcase was primed to provide such an outlet. Even with New England's playoff hopes dashed, there was still plenty of pride on the line for a Patriots' defense that has been put on the ropes repeatedly over the last few weeks — with Jackson slated to handle No. 1 cornerback duties with Stephon Gilmore ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a torn quad.

Jackson's task? Stymying one of the top wideouts in the league in Stefon Diggs.

Had this played out like most seasons at Gillette Stadium over the past two decades, a poor defensive performance against Miami would likely be absolved with a lockdown showing against Allen and the Bills — with Jackson backing up his postgame prose in Florida by grounding Diggs and Buffalo's aerial assault.

But, plain and simple, this hasn't been like most seasons for Belichick and Co.

And any hope for redemption for Jackson and New England's defense was snuffed out more and more with each successful salvo that Allen and the Bills launched down the field in Foxborough on Monday night.