The Falcons lost 20-17 to the Panthers on Sunday afternoon, but things might have been different if wide receiver Julio Jones didn’t pick a bad time for a bad drop.
Jones was wide open in the end zone with a little over eight minutes to play and the Falcons trailing by 10 points in the fourth quarter, but he couldn’t hold onto the ball for what would have been a 39-yard touchdown from Matt Ryan. After the game, Jones said he made “no excuses” for not catching a pass that should have remained in his hands and that he wasn’t worried about what anyone outside the organization had to say about it.
“It’s just a missed [opportunity]. That’s it,” Jones said, via ESPN.com. “I’m not worried about people. It’s all about my brothers in here because I’m going out there playing for them. I’m not playing for people, ‘Oh, I let people down.’ I go to work and battle with these men every day. When that play came up, I felt like I could have made a better play in that situation than I did.”
There’s no guarantee that the result would have been different had Jones, who had six catches for 118 yards, reeled in the pass, but the Falcons surely would have liked a chance to find out. The drop didn’t faze Ryan too much because he went back to Jones several more times before the game was over and any chance of the Falcons rallying from 4-4 back into the NFC South race will take plenty of help from Jones in the future.