Jacoby Jones has waited all season for a chance to dance.
The explosive wide receiver has been quiet for most of the year, and had yet to show off one of his iconic touchdown* *dances.
But Jones broke out in a big way in Sunday's 19-3 victory over the New York Jets, and he finally had the chance to show off his moves after a game-changing 66-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.
"I've been holding that sucker since 'Dancing With The Stars,'"* *said Jones, who did his version of the quick-step that he learned during his time on the reality TV show this offseason.
The touchdown gave the Ravens a two-score lead they would hold for the victory, and was a critical moment in a season where the Ravens have been searching for those kind* *of big plays.
"It was probably the play of the game for us," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "That play was kind of the game-breaking play."
Jones' performance went beyond the one long touchdown, as he played his best overall game of the season. He finished with four catches for a team-leading 103 yards and a touchdown. This was the first time since coming to Baltimore and just the second time in his career that Jones has topped 100 receiving yards in a game.
He also provided a spark to the special teams unit. He returned five punts for a total of 108 yards and had two kickoff returns for 38 yards.
Jones nearly took one of his punt returns back for an 83-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He fielded the punt inside his own territory, then spun away from a tackler and reversed field to find an open running lane. A big block from outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw sprung Jones down the sideline, but he stepped out of bounds along the Jets sideline. He totaled 37 yards on the return, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Jets gave the Ravens another 15.
"Those dudes do a great job blocking," Jones said. "Hats off to them. All I do is see the lane and run."
Jones showed the breakout speed and playmaking ability Ravens fans have seen from him in the past. He broke tackles and found seams in the return game to spring big gains. He even beat former teammate and future Hall of Famer Ed Reed down the middle of the field for the long touchdown.
"Not to talk trash, but I've scored on Ed each time I've played against him," Jones said with a smile. "To play against Ed and to be able to do that, that's one of the greatest safeties to play the game, and to get respect from him, and respect is given to him, it's a good feeling."
Reed gave credit to Jones for making the tough catch on the deep pass that got caught up in the wind.
"Jacoby made a play," Reed said about Jones' fingertips-grab. "He adjusted to the ball really well. I probably should have grabbed him and taken the penalty, but he was the one that made the play."
Jones' specialty is his ability to hit the big play, but those have been sparse for the Ravens this season. Connecting on deep plays was a focus coming into Sunday's game, and Jones was able to come up with the clutch deep reception despite a cold, windy afternoon.
"Today we were on point," Jones said. "The same thing in practice. We were on point in practice and it carried over to the game."
The big game from Jones was a bright spot in what has been a frustrating second season in Baltimore.
After a breakout campaign in 2012, which included two Super Bowl touchdowns that propelled him to national fame, Jones hasn't enjoyed the same kind of success this year. He suffered a knee injury in the season opener against Denver when his own teammate crashed into him while he was trying to field a punt, and ended up missing the next four games.
"I'm always excited when anyone on our team is able to enjoy success, but especially Jacoby. It's been tough for him," wide receiver Torrey Smith said. "The year started out with an injury. To see him get going the way he did today, on special teams but also as a receiver, that's huge for us."