NEW ORLEANS (AP) – What a sensational way to close out the season for Jacoby Jones. The Baltimore Ravens’ All-Pro return man was at his best in the Super Bowl on Sunday, first hauling in a 56-yard touchdown pass and then amazing the Superdome crowd with a record 108-yard kickoff return for a score, matching the longest play in NFL history in any game, regular or postseason.
The scores put the Ravens way ahead before the 49ers rallied but Baltimore held them off for a 34-31 win.
And Jones did it in his hometown, where his mother cooked meals for the team during their stay in New Orleans.
“It’s a great feeling, man. It’s what you work for through the offseason,” said Jones. “Through the camp, many camps, through grind and sweat, the cold tub and the hot tubs — all of that has paid off right here.”
The 6-foot-2, 212-pound speedster, who went to Lane College in Tennessee, set four Super Bowl records and equaled two others. He now has the marks for most combined yards (290), longest play, longest kickoff return and longest kickoff return for a touchdown.
He had five kickoff returns for 206 yards, two punt returns for 28 yards and caught one pass for 56 yards.
In the AFC title game two weeks earlier against Denver, Jones was on the receiving end of Joe Flacco’s 70-yard touchdown pass in the closing seconds that forced overtime and led to a Ravens double overtime victory.
On his TD catch, Jones got behind Chris Culliver late in the first half and hauled in a pass from Joe Flacco before falling down.
He quickly got back up and worked his way into the end zone for the score. He then opened the second half with his return to put the Ravens ahead 28-6. His favorite?
“The passes,” he said. “It was just all the plays we ran through in practice. The line did a great job of blocking and Joe put up a decent throw for me to catch.”
What about that return?
“All year we’ve been running along the sideline on the return,” said Jones. “They did not expect us to run it down the middle. That’s my favorite return.”
During the season, he averaged 30.7 yards on 38 kickoff returns – tops in the NFL – and had two scores, one covering 108 yards.
Jones was 5-7, 160 pounds – “with bricks in my pockets” – when he graduated high school, walked on at Lane and said he just “took off.”
“I’ve been an underdog all my life,” he said.
Now he’ll get a Super Bowl ring.