When Jacoby Jones’ knee was mangled in a Week 1 collision, it wasn’t likely that he’d be able to step right back on the field performing like the same dangerous speedster.
He came back from the sprained knee in Week 6, but it wasn’t until the last two games that the Ravens wideout looked quite as threatening both at receiver and returning kicks.
In Sunday’s win over the Jets, Jones made four catches for 103 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown, while adding five punt returns for 108 yards. It was his first 100-yard receiving effort with Baltimore.
In Thursday’s victory, he made four catches for 53 yards while returning two kickoffs for 104 yards, including his controversial 73-yarder where Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was in Jones’ way on the field.
Jones has felt a difference.
“I’m getting back to myself physically, health-wise,” he said Thursday. “I’m starting to get my bounce back, and I’m just getting back into rhythm with Joe (Flacco) again, and ... all that sync’s coming in. I’m just getting back to myself, where I was Week 1, had to do all that again. I’m feeling good again.”
Like last season, it feels like there’s a chance Jones could break a big return every time he fields a kickoff or punt while at the same time, he has complemented Torrey Smith well in reopening the Ravens’ potent deep-passing game.
Flacco is certainly glad to have two speedy long-range weapons on his side again.
“Jacoby is huge. Anytime you can get two guys on the field that can run like he and Torrey can, it makes it a tough matchup, because they’ve got to pick one to feel like they’ve got to stop,” Flacco said. “Jacoby’s doing a great job running some of the short routes, so that when he does get deep, it’s usually a pretty big role. Not to mention the kicking game and the field position he has given us. He’s been doing great.”
And coach John Harbaugh enjoys the Ravens being able to stretch the field again, much like they did consistently a year ago.
“We have some guys who can run,” Harbaugh said after the win over Pittsburgh. “So that’s No. 1. No. 2, they’re going to put some guys up there and put some pressure on you, whether it’s blitzing or it’s defending the run. And when you do that, you might open up some deep opportunities. I think right out of the gates, we wanted to make sure we took advantage of those things and push them off us a little bit. We do think we can make plays down the field with our guys. We’ve felt that way all year, and hopefully here in the next four weeks and pushing into the playoffs if we can make this run, that should be a big part of our offense.”