Steelers can't keep up with Ravens returner Jones
The one thing Jacoby Jones knows about returning a kick for a touchdown is that you never know when it's going to happen.
“It happens when you least expect it,” Jones said.
And it happens when it's needed the most.
Jones returned a first-quarter punt 63 yards for what turned out to be Baltimore's only touchdown, as the Ravens took control of the AFC North with a 13-10 win over the Steelers at Heinz Field.
It was the first regular-season punt return for a TD by an opponent in the 12-year history of Heinz Field. New England's Troy Brown returned a punt for a touchdown in the 2001 AFC Championship Game.
“Those are the hidden points that makes the difference in games. It was huge,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I am proud of Jacoby and the entire special teams.”
Jones also averaged 29 yards on two kickoff returns.
“Jacoby's been huge,” Harbaugh said.
The Ravens signed Jones late in the spring to help supplement the Ravens wide receiving crew along with return kicks.
The Houston Texans had seen enough of the 27-year-old Jones. His two fumbles (one lost) in a playoff loss to the Ravens last January seemed to seal his fate in Houston.
Now, Jones has been nothing but a spark for the Ravens' special teams.
Jones has returned a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown against Oakland and 108 yards against Dallas. He felt it was only a matter of time that he returned a punt for a score.
“We have two kickoff returns, it's time to have a punt return,” Jones said. “That is what we emphasized this week. We worked on it real hard and (we) hit like it did in practice.”
Jones fielded Drew Butler's punt at Baltimore's 37, delayed a second until his blockers were in place, and raced up the near sidelines before cutting across the field and outracing Butler to the far corner of the end zone. Only Baron Batch had a chance to tackle him around midfield.
“After that, I did what I do and that's run as fast as possible,” Jones said.
It was the first punt return the Steelers have allowed all season.
“It was a good effort by him,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “They did a nice job, they double-viced our gunners there and when they do that, the tackle has to come from the core of the punt formation and it didn't. Obviously, a significant football play.”
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.