Jacoby Jones has a knack for late-game, big-play heroics.
He can add another line to his resume after Sunday's 29-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
With the Ravens facing a four-point deficit with less than 90 seconds left, the big play artist struck again. Jones returned a pooch kick 77 yards for a touchdown, temporarily giving the Ravens a lead and setting up a historic finish.
"That thing parted like the Red Sea," Jones said about his blocking on the kickoff. "Well, the red snow."
On a snow-covered field at M&T Bank Stadium, Jones cut through a hole and then dashed towards the sidelines with his eyes set on the end zone. Once he broke into the open field, he had only kicker Blair Walsh to beat. Walsh had a chance to put him out of bounds, but Jones avoided the tackle, tip-toed along the sidelines and then cruised in for the touchdown.
"I was so locked in," Jones said. "I was zoned in [saying], 'Take this thing back.'"
Jones' touchdown initially appeared like it would be the game-winning score for the Ravens, but the Vikings responded with a score of their own. Then the Ravens came back with one more touchdown – a 9-yard strike to wide receiver Marlon Brown – for the improbable comeback win.
Jones' return came on a kickoff where the Vikings tried to negate his game-breaking ability. Walsh popped the kick high up in the air and kicked it short, an attempt to keep the ball away from Jones, who was lined up in the end zone.
"I'm walking around in the end zone like I usually do, pacing, and just happened to turn and look, and the kick was short," Jones said. "I was like, 'Oh, snaps.' So I just started hauling butt, and thank God I got there in time."
The late touchdown against Minnesota continued an impressive trend for Jones. He has stepped up his play in recent games, and has been critical during the current three-game winning streak.
He scored on a late touchdown grab two weeks ago against the New York Jets that sealed the victory, and also had a number of big returns in that game to set up the offense with favorable field position Then last week he nearly broke a kickoff return for a touchdown, but Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin interfered with the play from the Pittsburgh sidelines.
Jones has regained his burst that he had at the start of the season, before spraining his knee in the opening game. The injury sidelined him for four games and still hindered him once he did get back on the field.
Now he is he healthy again and has found his groove making the kinds of big plays that helped propel the Ravens to a Super Bowl last season.
"I finally got back there, and so the chemistry with my guys that are blocking for me, we've got that chemistry going," Jones said. "And health—I'm feeling good again. I'm feeling like the old 12."