A Super homecoming for J. Jones

A Super homecoming for J. Jones
February 4, 2013, 1:00 am
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NEW ORLEANS – Maybe it was Mama Jones’ gumbo. Maybe it was the motivation of coming home again and playing in front of family and friends. Most likely, though, it was simply his blinding speed that led Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones to become one of the biggest stars of the Super Bowl here on Sunday.

Jones caught a 56-yard touchdown pass and scored on a 108-yard kickoff return –- the longest in Super Bowl history –- to help the Ravens to their 34-31 win over the 49ers for the second Super Bowl title in franchise history.

Jones, a native of New Orleans, treated his teammates to some his mother Emily’s home cooking this week, and then Jones went out and treated Ravens fans to two of the game’s signature plays.

With the Ravens leading 14-3 in the second quarter, Flacco stepped up in the pocket and heaved a pass downfield for Jones, who had slipped behind 49ers corner Chris Culliver. The ball was underthrown, but Jones caught it sliding, got up since he hadn’t been touched by a defender, and raced into the end zone to give the Ravens a 21-3 lead.

“The O line did a great job blocking, I ran a decent route and Joe put it up there for me to catch,” said Jones after the game as he held 5-month-old Jacoby Jr. in his lap.

As for his move after the catch, getting up and avoiding tacklers, Jones said, “That was just backyard football right there. That was catch me if you can. That was like playing freeze tag.”

After the 49ers trimmed the gap to 21-6 at halftime, Jones took the second-half kickoff deep in the Ravens’ end zone, blasted right up the middle and outran everyone for his fourth return touchdown of the season.

Jones said the Ravens practiced that up-the-middle return play all week in practice.

”That’s my favorite return,” he said. “I told Coach I don’t care where they kick it at, how deep it is, I’m taking this ball out.”

Jones, who was unheralded out of high school and attended Lane College in Jackson, Tenn., said he’s been an underdog his entire life. It’s fitting then that he helped the Ravens win as a playoff underdog for the third straight time en route to the Super Bowl title.

“It’s a great feeling,” Jones said. “This is what you work for all offseason, through the camp and minicamps and OTAs, through the grind and sweat, the cramps, the cold tub, hot tub … it all paid off right here.”