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Shaq Lawson’s game-changing pick was the first interception of his life

Shaq Lawson, Marcus Maye, New York Jets, Getty Images
Shaq Lawson, Marcus Maye, New York Jets, Getty Images

Shaq Lawson accomplished a personal first against Cincinnati

They say there’s a first time for everything.

For New York Jets defensive end Shaq Lawson, his first-ever interception simply could not have come at a better time.

With four and a half minutes to go in the fourth quarter and the Jets trailing by five points, Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals offense took the field looking to ice the game.

Intending to flip the ball to star rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase on a screen pass, Burrow instead had his toss batted up into the air by the rushing Lawson, who subsequently let it fall into his arms and secure the interception as Burrow wrestled him down.

All season long, the Jets have been gashed by huge gains on screen passes. Bengals coach Zac Taylor likely saw the screen play as an easy completion to kick off the crucial fourth-quarter drive.

Playing the odds game, it was a pretty good call. Nobody could have anticipated that Lawson would do something that he had never done before – not just in the NFL, but in his entire football career.

“That’s my first interception ever,” Lawson told reporters after the game. “I didn’t even know how to act when I got it … College, anything; that was my first pick.”

Could a storybook author write it up any better than that?

The Jets acquired Lawson just prior to this season in a trade with the Houston Texans. Gang Green sent over a 2022 sixth-round pick in exchange for the former Clemson Tiger following a season-ending injury to the unrelated Carl Lawson, the former Bengal.

Next up, the New York Jets will face the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night. Perhaps the Jets’ defensive backs can follow in Lawson’s footsteps and get their first pick of the season? Indianapolis quarterback Carson Wentz is coming off of a two-interception game.

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