The Ravens season looked almost certain to be done.
They were down a touchdown and had to drive 70 yards in 40 seconds with no timeouts left. The odds were stacked against them, and the Denver Broncos appeared headed to the AFC championship.
But then quarterback
“It was crazy,” Flacco said. “Sometimes you have to get a little bit lucky, and hey it worked out. We were able to take a shot and everybody came through when that one opportunity kind of arose.”
Jones was somehow able to get behind the secondary as Flacco scrambled to his right out of the pocket. The ball then hit Jones right in the chest, just over the outstretched arms of Denver safety Rahim Moore, who misjudged the angle to the ball and the timing of his jump.
Once Jones hauled in the catch, he had a clear path into the end zone for the score.
“I had my eye on the ball, I wasn’t even looking at the safety,” Jones said. “As soon as he missed and it hit my hand, I was like, ‘Touchdown.’”
Jones, who has a reputation for his entertaining touchdown celebrations, just dropped to a knee after the score.
“I didn’t even dance,” Jones said. “I had to thank God. And you know I’m a dancing fool.”
At that point of the game, the Broncos were playing deep coverage because the only way they could lose was if the Ravens did the improbable and found a way to get into the end zone. The Ravens had their four receivers running deep routes on the play, Flacco said, and then he threw it up for Jones when he saw him slip behind the cornerback.
“It’s almost like backyard football and that’s part of the game,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “Joe scrambles out of there and they get a little pressure on him and he puts the ball down the field, really on the money, which is a great throw on the run.
“Jacoby Jones kept pressing the deep route. He didn’t slow down, he kept getting deep. We’re always telling our guys to keep pressing the deep route and beat the ball to the spot. I think maybe different judgments were made on the track of the ball and Jacoby was the guy that made the right judgment on the track of the ball on the run.”
For Jones, the late touchdown catch was a bit of redemption for an earlier miscue. He dropped a first-down catch on third down on the Ravens’ previous drive in the fourth quarter. The Ravens ended up turning the ball over on downs, and Jones was still frustrated by the mistake when they got the ball back from Denver.
He knows what it’s like to have his season end in disappointment, as he fumbled in the playoffs against the Ravens as a member of the Houston Texans last year, and was the focal point of criticism by the fans and media.
“I already was upset with myself because I had a drop,” Jones said. “I’ve been through that before.”
Now, instead of dealing with disappointment, Jones and the Ravens are headed to the AFC championship. The Ravens were heavy underdogs coming into Saturday’s game, and Jones said that he hopes it stays that way for the rest of the season.
“I’ve been an underdog my whole life, so they can keep sleeping on us,” Jones said. “Hit the snooze button.”