The Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl, and it was a heartbreaking loss to say the least. Before Patriots running back James White could even reach over the goal line to secure the win for New England, everybody had forgotten any great plays that the Falcons had made.
Which, is a shame. Julio Jones’ catch in the fourth quarter as the Patriots were mounting a vicious and historic comeback was nothing short of spectacular. The Falcons were faced with a second-and-8 from midfield, and it appeared the Falcons might be making their way for a dagger of a drive.
That never seemed more likely than when Jones reeled in this bad boy for 27 yards:
Everything about this play is perfect. Matt Ryan placed the ball where only Jones could come down with it. It was just out of the reach of Patriots defensive back Eric Rowe. Jones jumped at the absolute perfect time, to catch the ball at its peak. It was fundamental in those terms.
All of that was great, but as he secured the ball after initially bobbling it, Jones’ toe-tap seemed unreal. There was just no way he could have done that. His left foot came down in a fashion that we’re used to seeing. But it was the way in which his right foot that touched the NRG Stadium turf that was jaw-dropping.
It wasn’t your usual drag of the toe play that — while still a great play by anybody who makes it — we see often. Jones took that right foot, and came down with it in a way that said, “I’m going to make this damn play.” It was emphatic.
It also served as somewhat of a last inkling of hope for Atlanta fans. The Falcons’ history of bad moments and heartbreak in games is no secret, and while up 28-3, even the biggest doubters believed. It started to fade with the Patriots’ comeback, but Jones’ catch made everyone think for another second “OK, they’re not going to blow it this time.”
But hey, they did. It’s unfortunate for Falcons fans like myself, and Jones’ catch was something that’ll go forgotten as the years go by. Even though perhaps it shouldn’t.