Julio Jones’ dropped touchdown pass looms large now

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The play wasn’t in the Falcons’ game plan, but when the Falcons lined up in the wildcat the first time Sunday, they saw something they liked. The Cowboys had a cover-zero look.

The Falcons decided then to have receiver Russell Gage attempt a pass if they got the same look later in the game.

They did, and he did.

The Falcons led 29-17 with 7:15 left in the third quarter when they faced a third-and-two from the Dallas 41. Gage took the direct snap and saw Julio Jones running free behind rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs.

Gage’s perfect pass hit Jones in the hands in the end zone . . . and the All-Pro receiver dropped it.

Jones blamed his hamstring injury for a play he usually makes.

“I just can’t run the way I want to run,” Jones said, via Tori McElhaney of TheAthletic.com. “We took what they gave us. They stayed low. And it was a phenomenal throw. A great throw by him, and I can definitely make that play. It is what it is. It’s football: a game of inches.”

No one knew at the time that Jones’ drop would become a turning point in game the Falcons seemed to have in hand from the start.

The Falcons intended to go for it on fourth-and-two, but a questionable penalty for 12 players in the huddle — a penalty coach Dan Quinn said he hoped “wouldn’t happen again” — pushed them back and forced a punt.

Jones caught two of four targets for 24 yards as the Cowboys rallied for a last-play, 40-39 win as the Falcons pulled defeat out of victory. He tied Roddy White for the franchise record for career catches with 808, but it felt empty after the drop.

“It’s one of those examples of when you have an opportunity, whether it’s on offense or defense or on special teams — it could be in the third quarter; it could be in the fourth — there are these moments that come up, man, and you pounce, and you attack, and when they happen for you, you recognize it, and you feel it, and when it happens to you, you also have the same emotion,” Quinn said.

10 responses to “Julio Jones’ dropped touchdown pass looms large now

  1. The Falcons should have won this game. You score 39 points and don’t win? That’s beyond crazy. Aside from this game the Falcons have a systemic problem. Why can’t they score in the 3rd quarter. This is now the 5th game in a row going back to last season where they have not generated a point in the 3rd. Aside from 2016 where they were #1 they rank in the bottom half of the league for most of the past decade. This is a major reason why they loose games. T

  2. That drop was brutal. And to blame the hammy for stone hands? Somehow worse. Does Jones bounce back this year or is he the team’s #3 pass-catching option from here on?

    Even worse than all this is that Falcons defense. Horrible.

  3. Doesn’t loom as large as the three Falcons standing over the ball on the onside kick! Looked like three Cam Newtons in the super bowl.

  4. 440-0
    Score 39 points & No Turnovers and all teams won since 1933.[Elias] Stat was true right until the Cowboy Kicker Greg Zuerlein made a FG at the very end of the Dallas vs Atlanta game.

    Dak & the Cowboys make history by changing the Stat to 440-1. It will always be remembered. Great that it was in front of Real Fans! They witnessed a historic moment.

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