TAMPA, Fla. – It was Julio Jones’ touchdown in the first half that gave the Falcons life when they were down 17-0 moments before the half.
And that’s not the first time this season where Jones’ play has helped spark the Falcons to a win.
Jones has been one of, if not the most, consistent players for Atlanta (7-9) during a season filled with highs and lows.
The 2018 season was also one of Jones’ best in his eight-year career. He finished the year with 1,677 yards, the highest total in the NFL and the second-highest season total of his career.
Jones’ 138 receiving yards against the Buccaneers (5-11) marked the 10th time he’s reached 100-plus receiving yards, breaking his previous franchise record of nine games with 100-plus yards in 2015.
As for how Jones stays so consistent? He said it’s easy, he’s not a person who can be swayed easily. He stays true to who he is.
“For me, I’m not going to make up anything,” Jones said. “I’m very authentic. Nothing is going to change on my end. Just continue to do what I do and be me.”
“He’s one of the best receivers I ever watched and have been around,” Calvin Ridley said of Jones. “He just does everything the right way. He can teach anybody who plays with him. I respect him to the fullest and I’m very, very happy one of those goals. It’s awesome.”
Speaking of Ridley, he also set a franchise record.
Ridley now owns the franchise record for most touchdowns for a rookie with 10. He had tied former Falcons tight end Junior Miller’s record last week in Charlotte. His 7-yard touchdown reception helped him become one of nine rookies since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to record 10-plus touchdown passes during their rookie season.
Atlanta’s first-round pick said the win over Tampa Bay on Sunday was the highlight to his rookie season.
“Finishing this last game, the right way, getting a win and bringing it home back to Atlanta,” Ridley said. “Just finishing the right way.”
Both Jones and Ridley are expected back next season and there’s reason to believe the duo could be even better in 2019.