Jones’ return nets NFL record, 24-13 Ravens lead (Ravens win 31-29)

If it hasn’t been mentioned here before, Jacoby Jones is fast. Mighty fast. Cheetah fast.

It has been an eventful game at M&T Bank Stadium and an especially active start to the second half. Dallas started by cutting the Ravens’ lead to 17-13.

Moments later, Jones took the ensuing kickoff eight yards deep in his own end zone, but clearly saw promising enough blocking in front of him to run it out rather than take the touchback.

Jones sprinted right up the gut of the Baltimore blocking scheme, finding a hole directly in the middle of the field before taking a turn to his right to return the ball untouched for a touchdown.

Jones’ 108-yard return tied an NFL record set twice before - in 2007 and 2011 - and set a Ravens record for longest kickoff return. And with that, Baltimore took a 24-13 lead in a game that has swiftly swung in the home team’s control.

Jones was brought here for his speed. He’s made some mild contributions to the offense but his ability to make a return like that is the exact reason he’s in a Ravens uniform.

Update: Nobody’s taking complete control of this one, as the Cowboys answered the Ravens again, cutting the margin to 24-20. This time, Dallas drained 8:05 off the clock during a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant, who beat Cary Williams on the play.

The Cowboys have outgained Baltimore 337-237 with 177 yards on the ground, but still trail the Ravens by four. DeMarco Murray has rushed for 93 yards and Felix Jones has run for 81.

Update II: And the score holds at 24-20 heading into the fourth quarter. Dallas is still winning the yardage battle 344-238.

Ray Rice has 13 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown to go with a 43-yard reception. Joe Flacco has 174 passing yards and a touchdown.

Update III: Jacoby Jones’ kickoff return is looking bigger by the minute. With the Ravens’ offense unable to move the ball in the second half - to be fair, they’ve rarely had possession since the start of the third quarter - Jones’ record return is the difference right now.

Dallas has narrowed what was once an 11-point lead to 24-23 with 8:22 to go on Dan Bailey’s 34-yard field goal. The Ravens have the ball back. Can they chew some clock and pad the margin? We’ll find out. Good one going down on Russell Street.

Update IV: After two three-and-outs in the second half, the Ravens finally were able to do something with the ball in their offense’s hands.

Flacco and Rice led the team on a 10-play, 73-yard drive that Rice finished with a 1-yard touchdown run to the right for a 31-23 Baltimore lead with 4:41 to go.

Rice, who ran for 17 yards on the possession, now has 106 yards from scrimmage today for his 37th career game with at least 100 yards from scrimmage. Since 2009, he has an NFL-best 35 such performances.

The Ravens had their response. Do the Cowboys have another one coming?

Update V: Dallas drove all the way down for a touchdown, a 4-yard pass from Romo to Bryant. But the rally died at 31-29. Twice.

First, the Cowboys’ two-point conversion attempt failed as Romo’s pass went off Bryant’s hands. Then after Dallas got the onside kick back and a pass interference put the visitors in field-goal range, Dan Bailey missed a 51-yard field goal wide left to seal it.

Even though Dallas rushed for 227 yards on the ground, the most ever given up by the Ravens breaking record set in 1996, Baltimore improved to 5-1 for the first time under John Harbaugh.