Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones has insisted his injuries aren’t an issue, yet he keeps taking himself out of games. An injury slowed Jones again Saturday, but he still won his rematch with Seahawks nemesis Richard Sherman at the Georgia Dome.
Jones had six catches for 67 yards with a touchdown during the Falcons’ 36-20 victory in an NFC divisional playoff game. Jones was in and out of the game with what the Falcons said is a foot injury before heading to the locker room for good during the fourth quarter.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Jones could have returned to the game and expects Jones to be “ready to rock” for the NFC Championship game Sunday.
“We all have nagging injuries, not just Julio,” Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel said. “For him to go out there and play for us, play for the brothers, that’s a blessing. I’m glad we’ve got him, and I’m glad I’m here to have an opportunity to play with him.”
Jones played the final two games of the regular season after missing two because of a sprained left toe. He didn’t appear to have his usual explosiveness during those contests and periodically went to the sidelines.
The same thing happened against the Seahawks. Jones asked out of the game on the Falcons’ opening drive, but still got the best of Sherman during that possession.
Jones had two catches for 20 yards during the drive and would have run past Sherman for a touchdown if the cornerback hadn’t grabbed him for a holding penalty. Jones finished the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass when teammate Mohamed Sanu took out cornerback Jeremy Lane on a pick play and Sherman couldn’t help in time.
Jones finished the first half with five catches for 55 yards and the touchdown. He took himself out of the game for a few plays during the third quarter and headed to the locker room to stay during the final quarter.
Jones wasn’t in the locker room when it was opened to reporters following the game.
Saturday’s game was a turnaround for Jones from the Oct. 24 meeting with the Seahawks in Seattle. In that 26-24 Falcons defeat Jones had a dropped pass that led to an interception and was involved in a controversial play with Sherman.
Sherman pulled Jones down before Matt Ryan’s pass arrived, but officials didn’t penalize him on what turned out to be the Falcons’ final play. The Falcons left Seattle fuming about the no-call.