Ahead of the Broncos' Week 5 matchup against the Jets, cornerback Pat Surtain II was itching to create the kind of game-changing play that he's made so many times before. While Surtain has registered some excellent performances to start the season and is regarded as one of the league's best defensive backs, he had yet to notch an interception after four games.
That was something Surtain hoped to change against the Jets.
"Very eager, man," Surtain said after Thursday's practice. "You can see, there's a lot of motivation around [because] Kareem [Jackson] has already [caught] two. I've got some catching up to do. Yeah, I'm very eager, but I know those opportunities are going to come and I'm in the right position."
Surtain, true to his word, wrestled a Zach Wilson pass away from Jets wide receiver and reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson for a tide-turning interception in the fourth quarter against New York. The turnover gave the Broncos the ball with 2:14 remaining in a three-point game.
"I knew it was a crucial part in the game, and obviously we needed a key stop or play to be made," Surtain said after the game. "When I had the opportunity, I had to make a play and capitalize on it and get the ball back to the offense.
"Possessions like that — key, pivotal moments throughout the game, key stops — big-time players have got to make big-time plays. In my mind, I thought about making a play for the team."
Surtain's dominance extended beyond his late-game heroics.
According to NFL's Next Gen Stats, Surtain held Wilson to a single catch on 20 routes, helping Denver keep the Jets' passing game in check. The performance continued Surtain's strong play at home — the third-year corner broke up three passes and held Raiders All-Pro receiver Davante Adams in check in Week 1.
However, Denver couldn't pull out its first home victory of the season, falling to the Jets 31-21. Surtain expressed his disappointment with the outcome, but he also said the Broncos need to move past the defeat quickly with their Thursday night matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs just days away.
"It was a tough one to go by," Surtain said. "Obviously, we wanted the win, but at this point we need to have short-term memory and prepare for the Thursday night game against Kansas City. We just look over, correct it and look to get better from here on out."