CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Everyone knows that nine times out of ten, Julio Jones will make that catch.
In fact, last year against the Carolina Panthers, Jones made 12 catches for 300 yards. Some deep balls, some quick throws. But this season, Jones can't get in a rhythm mostly because he's always in double or triple coverage. Plus, he's not getting targets in the red zone.
He got his target today, and he dropped the ball.
"There are no excuses," Jones said after the Falcons' 20-17 loss to the Panthers on Sunday. "I just didn't take advantage of the opportunity. Just missed it."
November 5, 2017
On fourth down and the Falcons down by 10 points in the fourth quarter, Matt Ryan threw to Julio who was wide open in the end zone. Unlike a try in the first half on the same route, the throw was accurate. Jones put his hands out and the ball bounced off them. Jones tried to recover but he ended up flat on his stomach.
It wasn't the difference in the game. There were a lot of issues on offense such as a terrible conversion rate on third down, overthrown passes, pressure on Ryan and the run game struggling to get anything going. But it could have started a comeback, and the eventual score from Tevin Coleman could have led to a Falcons victory.
Instead, the Falcons late-game heroics were stopped by Kevon Seymour who swatted a ball for Taylor Gabriel incomplete on fourth down.
"After eight games, we’re certainly in the middle of it. We expected a division fight and we got one," head coach Dan Quinn said.
No one even thought about saying a negative thing about Jones' drop after the game. Not even Kurt Coleman, who was covering Jones on the play. Coleman spoke to Jones after the play was over on the field, and Jones said it was only kind words.
"I guess he’s just a very spiritual guy, so he said some spiritual things with me. That’s it," Jones said, adding he didn't have a relationship with Coleman.
Quinn told Jones on the sideline that they would keep targeting him. They did once, but on a pass in the grass that Jones couldn't come up with. Matt Ryan completed 24-of-38 for 313 yards and two touchdowns.
Receiver Mohamed Sanu said that Jones is allowed a rare mistake.
"He’s human. People expect him to make every single play. That guy’s human. He makes mistakes. That’s nothing. I’d go right back to him as well. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever been around," Sanu said.
Jones' lackluster season continues, and he still has just one touchdown this season. But he feels support from the locker room and will have chances to redeem himself.
"One play doesn’t define a game. We got each other's back in the game. Doesn’t matter who’s in that situation," Jones said. "Of course I know they’ll have my back and just not throw me the ball."