Ravens punt returner/cornerback Cyrus Jones has been named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week following his 70-yard punt return for a touchdown in Sunday's 34-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders.
Jones' score was the Ravens' first touchdown, giving them a 10-7 lead in the second quarter and putting them ahead for good.
After patiently allowing his blocking to set up, Jones cut to his right and accelerated down the sideline, receiving a key block from wide receiver Chris Moore on the way to the end zone. Both the crowd and the Ravens' bench went wild, as Jones celebrated his first NFL touchdown. Being a Baltimore native made the moment even more special for Jones, a former prep star at Gilman who played college football at Alabama.
"He's very talented – everybody in Baltimore knows that from his days at Gilman," Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "But to see him break out, and to see the punt return team block the way they did without the penalties. For Cyrus, yes, that is a great, great story to see that happen. The fans were into it, they were excited for him, too.
"As soon as he caught it, I could tell we had some room. I have a lot of experience watching these plays from the sideline, so I could see it was blocked – or going to be blocked. Then you just hope that everyone makes good decisions, and they did. When he got to about to the 40, I knew it was done. It was fun. It was a big play, big play."
Jones has solidified the punt return position since being signed in early October after being released by the New England Patriots. Studying the Raiders on film during the week, Jones had a feeling he could take a return to the house.
"We knew coming in that their punter was kind of inconsistent, and he was going to give us returnable balls," Jones said. "Like I do every week, I just try to possess the ball first and make a play after that. God bless those guys that are up front blocking for me. They set the wall up, and I just try to make a couple of people miss and get around the corner, and we made that happen."