The Bucs do not have an answer for Julio Jones in the 34-20 loss to Falcons


ATLANTA – You may not know your first name: Quintorris Lopez Jones. And the way the Bucs approached covering him on Sunday, it's possible they thought he was using an alias.

When Mike Smith was the head coach of the Falcons, he picked him sixth overall in 2011, so he would think if anyone knew what The Bowl receiver was capable of being Bucs defensive coordinator.

And yet, by any name, Julio Jones was simply the best receiver the Bucs faced after what they did in the 34-20 loss to the Falcons on Sunday.

Jones had 12 receptions for two touchdowns and 253 yards, the most yards allowed to a player in a game by the Bucs in 42 seasons. More yards than Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Tim Brown.

"We tried to pbad the coverage to him, we tried to pressure him," coach Dirk Koetter said. "And we did not have an answer for him today, the second half we were going to try to press him or cloud him every time he was in the game."

According to the Falcons, when it came to coverage, Jones attracted more Sundaythan e-Harmony singles.

"It's not often that we have so many unique opportunities per game, but we did it today," said Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. "I think, historically, we've done it, it's been incredibly explosive when it's had a single showdown."

Jones entered the game on Sunday with 42 receptions and one touchdown this season. All he needed was a receiver to launch his second TD. Mohamed Sanu received a direct kick from the center and threw a 51-yard bomb that Jones caught over his shoulder behind rookie Justin Evans.

And, hey, it was not just Evans who ran Jones on Sunday.

He pbaded Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (most received yards in the first 90 games of an NFL career) and Anquan Boldin (most receptions for the period).

Jones also became the first player in NFL history with three receptions of 250 yards games.

"It's just a total package," said catcher Mike Evans. "One of the best, if not the best, in the game, it's hard to contain it, obviously."

For his part, Jones fulfilled his reputation as one of the most humble players in the NFL.

"The offensive line did a great job of keeping Matt upright and letting him throw some shots into the field," Jones said. "Mohamed did a great job on the deep ball in the center for me and gave me the opportunity to make a play."

Jones' second touchdown was a 25-yard pbad from Ryan in which he had to stretch his 6-foot-3 frame to reach the pylon and he did 17-3 in the second quarter. The advantage would expand to 27-6 with the Falcons' push to start the third quarter.

Credit the Bucs for not only starting the team buses parked outside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium at that time.

"There were some moments of fear there at the end of the second quarter, at the beginning of the third quarter," Koetter said.

Tampa Bay actually defended itself with the support of Ryan Fitzpatrick leading a pair of touchdown units capped by 2-yard, 1-yard TD runs by Peyton Barber. In fact, it was a difficult time in Atlanta when linebacker Kendell Beckwith stripped football broker Terron Ward and Brent Grimes returned the fumble to midfield.

The Bucs had a third and 2 at the 18-yard Atlanta. One pbad for Adam Humphries only won one yard, and Koetter (correctly) thought his defense could not stop the Falcons twice, so he went for the fourth and 1. But Fitzpatrick's pbad attempt to Cameron Brate was incomplete.

"You have three or four plays on your sheet for that situation, and I chose the wrong one," Koetter said.

In addition, the defense of the Bucs was historically bad. In the third and eighth, Ryan found that Jones hit a single again to gain a 24-yard gain to establish the final TD.

Smith's defense did not capture Ryan. The Bucs hit him only three times. They compensated for the lack of an avalanche of pbades with porous coverage. They did not make the ball go to another player. They will not allow Grimes, one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, to try to neutralize the best receiver of the other team, preferring to keep him on one side of the field.

"No, we did not do that and they have not done it," Grimes said.

Quintorris Lopez. July. Does not matter. For the Bucs, it's hard to keep up with the Joneses.

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