While rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley had a breakout three-touchdown game in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints, the Atlanta Falcons biggest star Julio Jones has still yet to find the end zone this season.
Jones has 20 receptions for 329 yards through three games, and he is often inexplicably subbed out on the goal line. Regardless, Jones is still one of the best receivers in the game and a problem for the Bengals secondary.
Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan were not able to connect on any routes over 40 yards this year until the 58-yarder seen below. Ryan’s pass is underthrown but Jones is able to adjust and make the catch. The Saints are able to catch up with him because of this and with a better ball from Ryan, his touchdown drought could have ended.
Julio's long for the year pic.twitter.com/uuMHZ6uQXS— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) September 25, 2018
Here, Jones is the third receiver from the bottom of the screen and runs a corner route. The cornerback sits on the quick out by the outside receiver, which opens up a window for Ryan to put the ball in. This is a touch pass to the wide side of the field, but the pair are able to connect. Unfortunately for Jones, he’s tackled just shy of the end zone.
Julio on the corner route pic.twitter.com/plDJ0BJx9R— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) September 22, 2018
Jones is lined up on the bottom of the screen here. He runs an incredible stop-n-go route that the defender bites hard on. This leaves Jones wide open running down the sideline., but the ball is off target and a little short. Jones makes a great effort to adjust to the ball, but cannot pull it in.
A well-placed ball would have led to a huge touchdown pass here, but again, Ryan and Jones fail to connect.
Great effort by Julio, but ruled not a catch pic.twitter.com/ZXIyMeOnEP— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) September 22, 2018
Jones is lined up at the bottom of the screen here. The cornerback is playing way off of him, but Jones is able to eat up his cushion very quickly. Jones stems to the inside as he cuts down the space between him and the defender then quickly breaks just outside the cornerback when he turns his hips to the inside.
This is a great route by Jones, but Ryan overthrows him this time.
Too much on this one pic.twitter.com/nUgGy77Wy0— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) September 22, 2018
Jones is running a post from the top of the screen here. Ryan targets him for a potential touchdown, but fails to see the cornerback from the other side of the formation dropping underneath the route.
Ryan throws some risky balls over the middle of the field from time to time. If this happens against the Bengals, safety Jessie Bates III may be able to record his second interception of the season.
Picked off pic.twitter.com/7Fr7RElAjs— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) September 22, 2018
The Falcons have all of the talent in the world offensively and will give the Bengals fits trying to match up with them. Jones and Ridley are both incredible athletes and exceptional route runners.
For whatever reason, the Falcons have not used Jones on the goal line and have failed to connect with him on a deep touchdown pass. Ridley, on the other hand, was a terror last week against the Saints, and has proven to be a worthy adversary for any defense.
The Bengals will need a strong performance from their secondary and an excellent pass rush to win in Week 4, and make no mistake, stopping Jones is still a top priority.