Sunday was a day to forget for Adam Jones.
The veteran cornerback looked more like a rookie with the mistakes he was making during the Bengals' 29-17 loss to the Broncos. While he had some good moments, the ones that everyone will remember were his gaffes that led to Denver touchdowns.
The first came in the first quarter, when Jones fumbled a punt at midfield in which he may have been down, but was ruled to have lost the ball before he was down. After the play was reviewed, the referees said the call stood.
"I was down," Jones said of the play. "My knee went down into my ribs. I was really surprised. We haven’t got one (fumble overturned) the whole year. Have you all realized that yet?"
Three plays later, Jones' second big gaffe came when he was smoked by Emmanuel Sanders for a long touchdown that gave Denver a 10-7 lead. Jones admitted after the loss that he let those plays get to him, leading to him having a poor first half in which Denver scored 16 points.
"I’ve got to worry about the football plays," Jones said. "I can’t worry about all the other stuff. I just got to keep playing. I know if I don’t give up that touchdown, it’s a whole different game. Everybody knows me — I’m going to take this one on my shoulders. I rather the guys stick together, and we’ll be ready for Thursday."
As tough as the loss was to stomach, Jones has been in the NFL for over a decade now. He knows no matter how high or low you get, the next game takes it away just as quickly as it came.
For Jones and the Bengals, they have even less time to sulk over this loss with Miami coming to town on Thursday, and Jones knows he and his teammates are already moving onto it.
"It don’t hurt nobody. We lost the game," Jones said. "We’re 1-2. We’ll look at it, and we’ll get better from here. It’s not just the defensive backs. It’s everybody in the (defensive) group. When you call certain plays, the guys up front have got to blitz, the guys have got to do what they’re supposed to do.
"It looked like, ‘Hey, it’s just the defensive backs,’ but if you don’t know the calls, you don’t know where the blitz is going, and the quarterback scrambles out, and certain things happen. It’s not just the defensive backs... There won’t be no — what’s the word? — lingering until Thursday."
Jones left Sunday’s game twice with injury, but he doesn't seem to be worried about that as he is prepared to turn to the Dolphins.
"I’ll be ready to go tomorrow. I’ll get the guys going. Everybody’s going to hopefully follow my lead. This is a winning team by far. The last two games that we lost, we were better than those teams. Today, they played better than us in the fourth quarter. But we’ll learn from this and pick it up."
Another reason the Bengals shouldn't worry is their star linebacker returns this week. Vontaze Burfict is now off his three-game suspension, and Jones is eager to have his stud teammate back in the fold.
"Hell yeah!" Jones told ESPN. "Can't wait till 55 gets here, and I don't give a ---- who don't like it either. I'm calling him right now when I walk out of here."
It's great to see Jones remaining upbeat amid the Bengals' slow start, which has them sitting at 1-2 for the first time since 2011. The Bengals just barely squeaked into the playoffs that year, but they certainly have the firepower to not only be in the postseason, but end the dreaded playoff drought lingering over this team like a black cloud.