CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Julio Jones had a nice day while catching six passes for a game-high 118 yards, but the Falcons wide receiver was asked first and foremost after a 20-17 loss to the Panthers about the touchdown pass he dropped in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 20-10 and facing fourth-and-7 from the Carolina 39-yard line with 8:20 left, quarterback Matt Ryan threw deep middle to Jones, who was wide open. He tried to catch the ball over his right shoulder, but it hit his hands and fell incomplete, turning the ball over the Panthers.
Jones rather than swiveling his head to the right he was looking back and up for a ball that was coming just about straight at him as opposed to from any kind of angle. He said that didn't matter, that he got good eyes on the ball.
"No, no excuses or anything like that," Jones said. "I just missed it. ... One play doesn't define a game. We've got each other's backs throughout the game. ... We're not going to be down on anyone. We have the utmost confidence in everybody on the team. Without a doubt, I knew (teammates would) have my back."
After the play, Jones said to Ryan on the sideline, "I was just like, 'Good ball.' "
Ryan said to Jones, "Forget it, man. Let's get to the next one, man. You know, 100 out of 100 times he is going to make plays. He has made more plays in this league than probably anybody. And so sometimes it happens. I am not worried one bit about it."
Jones was targeted 12 times, or six more than any other Falcons (Austin Hooper had three catches on six targets), and he did some damage to the Panthers, including a 34-yard reception on the first play of the game.
He said, however, that the Falcons wasted too many opportunities.
"The looks were there today," Jones explained. "We didn't hit them."
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