It was an eventful Sunday for James Burgess.
There were clutch tackles made and disappointing penalties taken, but with the scoreboard reading in the Jets’ favor at the end of the day — a 22-21 win over the Dolphins at MetLife Stadium — Burgess was undoubtedly an impactful presence on the field.
In his seventh consecutive start since being called up from the practice squad on Oct. 20, Burgess registered a season-high 10 solo tackles and assisted on three others. He recorded his first forced fumble and third pass deflection of the season to tie one of his best performances of the season together with a bow.
On Miami’s first drive of the game, which resulted in a 22-yard field goal, Burgess turned up the pressure once Ryan Fitzpatrick broke out of the pocket and forced a fumble before the Dolphins quarterback was able to recover it.
“He almost got me,” Burgess told The Post with a laugh. “At first, I thought he was going to try and run me over. So I was about to get lower and then he cut on me last minute, I just wrapped up and made the tackle. I didn’t even know he fumbled, honestly, until everybody was like, ‘Fumble! Fumble!’”
Burgess, who is with his eighth team since going undrafted out of Louisville in 2016, nearly got the first pick-six of his career as well. Just before halftime, he stepped in front of Fitzpatrick’s throw intended for Allen Hurns at the Dolphins’ 49 and took off for the end zone.
But flags came raining down on the field as Burgess was hit with a defensive holding penalty, negating the touchdown.
“That was a horrible, horrible call,” he said.
The 25-year-old was more than familiar with the Jets’ opponent Sunday, having had two stints in Miami in his young career. After signing with the Dolphins in 2016, Burgess served on the practice squad with the Chargers, Ravens and Jaguars before getting promoted with the Browns — where he spent nearly 2 ¹/₂ years until he suffered knee and hamstring injuries before being waived in October 2018.
The Dolphins re-signed Burgess to their practice squad last December and waived him in May, allowing the Jets to scoop him up five days later. He was waived at the end of the preseason and then re-signed to the Jets’ practice squad two weeks later.
Burgess now has the sixth-most tackles on the team (28). He said his comfort level is “at an all-time high right now,” mentioning how much defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has helped him get acclimated.
“Burg is a guy that doesn’t care what people say about him, doesn’t care what people think about him,” linebacker Jordan Jenkins said after the win. “He’s going to go out there, hit the hell out of somebody, make the right checks and calls, and he’s going to keep playing. He might miss a play there, so what? He can come out there and go out there with the same confidence, get guys lined up, make the checks and do everything he can in his power.
“He is a guy I love playing with. He legit would give his body up for somebody else to make a play. He is a hell of a player.”