Kareem Jackson was jacked-up to play his former team, the Houston Texans last Sunday.

All that energy was easy to see from Jackson from jump; he lit the Texans on fire with an 11-tackle performance, tying his previous career-high. But it wasn’t just that Denver’s safety was making tackles; his hits on DeAndre Hopkins to jar a completion loose, and another later on Carlos Hyde were violent.

They were old-school, clean, bone-jarring hits which would make even the legends like Steve Atwater happy.

Of course, it wasn’t just about this massive hit, which forced Houston to punt the ball away, because the biggest play of the year for Denver’s defense came earlier in that first quarter.

With the Broncos leading 7-0, Alexander Johnson stripped Houston wideout Keke Coutee, the ball was picked up by Jeremiah Attaochu and as he was held by his leg, Jackson called for the ball. Attaochu’s heads-up play to give Jackson the fumble really paid off when Jackson took the fumble to the house for a 70-yard touchdown.

Following that fumble return for touchdown, Jackson was pumped, making five more significant plays — including the hit on Hopkins — in that first half alone. After the break, he continued to be in the zone, later intercepting Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and defending three passes as well.

It was only the third time in NFL history a player enjoyed a 10-tackle performance with a fumble return for a touchdown and in interception. He joins Fred Weary of the Saints (1999) and former Bears standout Brian Urlacher (2011) as the only ones to accomplish the feat.

Last offseason, the Broncos made many big-time moves. They signed Joe Flacco, cornerback Bryce Callahan and offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James, all to be starters along with Jackson. But, without a doubt, the best free agent signing of that class was Jackson.

He’s totaled 69 combined tackles, two interceptions, eight passes defensed, has the fumble touchdown and also forced Austin Ekeler to fumble at the goal line as time expired in the first half of the Broncos – Chargers game in Los Angeles this year.

The Broncos have Jackson locked up next year and they have an option to keep him in 2022 as well. He’s quickly emerged as one of the many stars on Denver’s defense and will likely continue in that role for the next few years at least.