Buffalo Bills defensive back Taron Johnson has been making plays all season long, but the 24-year-old nickel back may have made one of the best plays in Bills history on Saturday in their 17-3 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
With 41 seconds left in the third quarter and the Ravens on Buffalo’s 23-yard line, Lamar Jackson dropped back and let a pass fly towards tight end Mark Andrews. But Johnson stepped into the way of the pass and picked it off before returning it 101-yards for his second interception return touchdown of the season.
The play put the Bills up 17-3 and they never looked back as they punched their ticket to the AFC Championship game for the first time since the 1993 season.
TARON JOHNSON PICK SIX‼️
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 17, 2021
After the game, Johnson received plenty of praise for his play because of how it flipped the game and changed the momentum in Buffalo’s favor. Because even though the Bills held the lead at the time, Johnson’s interception came at the end of a 15-play, 66-yard drive and the Ravens were on the doorstep of tying the game.
“He totally changed the dynamic of the game,” Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White told NFL Network’s Kim Jones after the game. “He gave our whole team juice. The play that he made really changed the game and it flipped the momentum.”
But, according to White, and a few of his other teammates, Johnson’s play didn’t only change the dynamic of the game, but it will also go down as one of the best plays in Bills history.
“That’s probably one of the biggest plays in Buffalo history in the past 25 years,” White told Jones.
According to a few Bills reporters who were at the game, Bills quarterback Josh Allen also though the same thing.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) January 17, 2021
Josh Allen called Taron Johnson's interception a "franchise altering play" and said "he will be remembered for a long time here in Buffalo."
— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) January 17, 2021
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Johnson Made a Similar Game-Changing Play Against Pittsburgh
Johnson has a habit of making big plays that completely swing the momentum of games. Earlier this season, when the Bills were hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, Johnson picked off Ben Roethlisberger and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown with 52 seconds left in the first half to give the Bills a 9-7 heading into halftime.
To. The. House.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) December 14, 2020
The Bills never looked back after that play as they cruised to a 26-15 victory and only allowed the Steelers to score eight more points after that play.
Johnson Is a Player on the Rise
The nickel back from Weber State has been big for the Bills all season long and before Saturday night he had recorded 94 total tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and one pass deflection.
At the end of the regular season, he was actually third on the team in tackles and pass deflections. But this season has truly been a breakout year for Johnson.
He had only recorded one interception before this season and he had never recorded more than 50 tackles. But, Johnson has come up big for the Bills this season and he’ll be remembered in Buffalo for a long time.
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