Julio Jones: Receiver's Big Showing in NFC Title Game Not Enough for Falcons

John Rozum@Rozum27Correspondent IJanuary 20, 2013

Julio Jones put on a show versus the 49ers, but it wasn't quite enough.
Julio Jones put on a show versus the 49ers, but it wasn't quite enough.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Julio Jones put on an epic performance versus the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game, but it didn't propel the Atlanta Falcons to Super Bowl XLVII.

On the day, Jones caught 11 passes for 182 yards and scored two touchdowns.

The first came on Atlanta's initial possession from 46 yards out. There, Jones burned past the 49ers secondary and quarterback Matt Ryan launched one up for him to run underneath.

That score happened within the game's first four minutes.

Two possessions later, Ryan found Jones again from 20 yards out at the back of the end zone. This touchdown put the Dirty Birds up 17-0 with 14:54 remaining until halftime. The Falcons would score another touchdown before the half from tight end Tony Gonzalez, but were shut out the entire second half.

After snagging seven passes for 135 yards and scoring twice in the first half, Jones was blanketed to a T in the second. Managing just four receptions for 47 yards, 24 came on the final play.

So in short, Jones' true impact through much of the third and fourth quarter resulted in a mere three catches for 23 yards. And while Jones was the subject of great in-game adjustments by San Francisco's defense, the 49ers offense immediately capitalized.

Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore and San Francisco were provided with additional possessions, and it kept Atlanta's fast-paced attack off the field and in check for the final 30 minutes. Without question, Jones put on a miraculous and entertaining show from the opening kickoff.

But it's all about maintaining that high level of play for a full 60 minutes.

Had Jones dominated the second half like the first, then perhaps this game unfolds differently. What this proves, however, is that a defense is capable of isolating Jones and getting pressure on Ryan.

So, it wasn't surprising to see the 49ers adapt accordingly and gradually take the momentum from Atlanta.