Lamar Jackson Throws First Career Red-Zone Interception at the Worst Time

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL divisional round football game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Lamar Jackson couldn't have picked a worse time to throw his first career red-zone interception, and it couldn't have ended more disastrously.

Jackson was picked off in the end zone in the third quarter of Saturday's divisional playoff game in Buffalo as the Ravens were poised to tie the game. Instead, Baltimore fell behind 17-3 after Jackson's interception was returned by Bills cornerback Taron Johnson for a 101-yard touchdown.

Johnson fell off into zone coverage on third-and-goal from the 9-yard line. He read Jackson's throw intended for tight end Mark Andrews all the way and stepped in front.

"It's just one of those things where the guy popped out and made a good play," Andrews said. "The Bills played a great game. The defense played really well on their side. We didn't get the job done."

"It was a good [offensive] play-call. [Johnson] just squeezed real hard on Mark and [Jackson] didn't see him," wide receiver Willie Snead IV said. "It just sucks, man, because we had a 15-play drive going there and it looked like we were about to score. It was just a huge momentum shift in the game. It's part of football, man. It is what it is. You just wish you could have those plays back."

Jackson previously had 49 touchdowns and zero interceptions in the red zone over his three-year career. He has also run for 13 touchdowns.

Jackson finished the game 14-of-24 for 162 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and three sacks taken. Jackson ran nine times for just 34 yards.

"They weren't really playing anything special. They were just playing top-down coverage, a lot of Cover-4, a lot of zone," Snead said. "They just eliminated the runs and tried to make us one-dimensional as a team. We just weren't taking advantage of what they were giving us."

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