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Julio Jones back to dominant self heading into Super Bowl

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn knows what type of special talent he has in wide receiver Julio Jones. The film from the NFC Championship Game just reinforced it.

Jones, who wasn't at 100 percent after aggravating a toe sprain the week before, responded with 9 catches for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Falcons' 44-21 win over the Green Bay Packers. Jones is the only player in NFL history to have two postseason games with at least 180 receiving yards and two touchdown catches. He had 11 catches for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 28-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the 2012 NFC Championship Game.

Was Quinn amazed by Jones' performance against the Packers coming off the injury?

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"I was," Quinn said. "I could tell on Friday his intent was right, the type of competitor that he is. So I thought he played well. I thought he played one of his best games. It's away from the ball that sometimes you don't see. We see him when he catches it. But there's other times where he's away from the ball, the way he's trying to go get his block, the way he's trying to run his route where the ball may go somewhere else when he's getting a double-team to his side. I think it's the intent that he brings to the game. Yeah, I was very impressed."

Jones' mentor, former NFL receiver Roy "Jet Stream" Green, summed up the performance, which included Jones' explosive, 73-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

"The 73-yarder showed why he's the best," Green said. "Great release, so good that the DB holds. And Julio doesn't quit. He runs right through it, runs away from the initial DB, then stiff-arms the next to the ground. Elusive, speed, strength, power, determination. Just a great, great, competitor."

Certainly, Jones sent a message to the New England Patriots that he's ready to be dominant in the Super Bowl. He will get an extra week to get healthier in preparation for the Feb. 5 game.

Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler said a few years back he wanted a chance to cover Jones.

In 2012, Malcolm Butler tweeted this.
It looks like the Patriots cornerback will finally get his wish. pic.twitter.com/20eC1PypI2

— ESPN (@espn) January 23, 2017

Butler will get his wish in the Super Bowl, though he should be careful what he wishes for.

Jones has made it clear in the past he believes drawing single coverage is "disrespectful" to him. We'll see how it all plays out come Super Bowl Sunday.


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