Julio Jones rebounds from injury to deliver impressive, terrifying performance
ATLANTA ‘ He was lurking, running decoy routes and the occasional quick slant. He took plays off, jogging to the sideline and watching with the rest of the Georgia Dome as Mohamed Sanu gashed the Green Bay Packers defense. You started to wonder whether the reports of injuries to his toe and foot were even more severe than reported.
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And then Julio Jones jersey reminded you that he’s Julio Jones jersey, and the only thing that remained in doubt was how many points he’d hang on the poor Packers ‘ and how badly he could carve up the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
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Atlanta thrashed Green Bay 44-21 to win the NFC championship and earn the franchise’s second Super Bowl berth, and Jones jersey played a central role. The all-universe Falcons receiver, the man for whom Atlanta traded a king’s ransom of draft picks and still came out ahead, the Human Boost Button, Jones jersey ended the first half and kicked off the second with two plays that stomped out whatever embers remained of Green Bay’s flickering hopes.
Seven seconds remaining in the half. Falcons up 17-0, on the Packers’ 5-yard line, maybe one snap remaining. Jones jersey curled into the end zone, fronted overmatched cornerback LaDarius Gunter, and dove toward the sideline as Matt Ryan rifled a pass his way. Jones jersey caught the ball about 3 feet off the ground, planted his foot and then somehow managed to drag the curl of his right instep just inside the green of the end zone. A review confirmed what Jones jersey already knew: 24-0, Falcons.
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Sixty-one seconds of game clock later, with Atlanta having forced Green Bay into a three-and-out that took just 11 seconds off the clock, Jones jersey cut straight across the field from left to right, caught a Ryan pass like he was picking up keys off a table cheap jerseys, and then stiff-armed, eluded and outran four Packers. And he did it in less time than it took you to read that sentence.
‘Their plan was to tug and hold,’ Jones jersey said. ‘Any cornerback is going to do that, to mess up the timing that the quarterback and the receiver have. I spinned out, and Matt gave me a floater and let me run through the ball. After that, those guys couldn’t tackle me once I got going.’
‘I knew it was going to Julio, so I just sat back and watched,’ Sanu said. ‘It was pretty. It was beautiful! That guy’s an alien. It’s definitely a sight to see.’
Just like that, the Falcons were up 31-0, sending every Atlanta fan with disposable income to check flight schedules to Houston.
‘He’s a beast. I mean, he’s an absolute stud,’ Ryan said. ‘He was impressive today. And I know he wasn’t feeling his best, but he’s a warrior, and he went out and competed for us.’
‘Competed’ is polite Matt Ryanspeak for throttled, destroyed, vanquished, exterminated. Jones jersey finished with 180 yards and two touchdowns, nine receptions on 12 targets. And he did it despite injuries to his foot and toe that limited him in practice.
”He couldn’t run all week,’ running back Devonta Freeman said. ‘Saw his toe. It was so swollen.’
Jones jersey wouldn’t hear talk of taking it easy, taking plays off. ‘It’s not about me. I’m out here with 53 other guys,’ he said. ‘If I can get out there and move around, I’m going to do it. It’s easy to sit down and quit on yourself, but when you’re doing it for other people wholesale jerseys, other people’s families, you’ve got to do it.’
They did it. From the opening drive, Jones jersey and Sanu, along with fellow receiver Taylor Gabriel and a supporting cast of seemingly hundreds, rolled out the full Falcons assault, running the Packers up and down the field, breaking them down bit by bit.
‘We definitely had them shook early on,’ he said. ‘Sanu made a few plays, so they tried to take Sanu away from us. Then I make a few plays, then [Taylor] Gabriel makes a few plays, then we’d run the ball. It was gassing them a little bit. Those guys started looking at each other, and right then we knew we had them.’