Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 11/6/11
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff spent six years in the front office of the New England Patriots, so he might know a thing or two about Boston-area legends. If he were so inclined and, clearly, neither Dimitroff's personality nor his clean-living lifestyle would seem to be the kind to do it he might have taken a page out of Hall of Fame Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach's playbookand lit a victory cigar early in the Falcons' 31-7 victory over Indianapolis on Sunday. Not only because his team, in impressive fashion, had essentially locked up its third straight win on Sunday less than four minutes into the second quarter to improve to 5-3 heading next weekend's NFC South showdown against arch-rival New Orleans, but also for a larger reason. Now, one game doesn't a career make, but in his first game back off a hamstring injury, rookie wide receiver Julio Jones showed why Dimitroff moved up 21 spots on draft day in April to take Jones, sending numerous picks to Cleveland in exchange a trade that continues to be hotly debated and for which Dimitroff has taken his share of criticism. (Just this week it came out in a book that his mentor Bill Belichick advised him against it; but you never know with Belichick, maybe he thought Jones would make the Falcons too good.) Within those first 18-plus minutes of Sunday's game, Jones, out of Alabama, showed the game-breaking ability for which the Falcons acquired him. He had caught two passes, one for 50 yards, the other for 80, both for touchdowns, and also ran an end around for 14 yards. The plays showed the range of Jones' skills. The first catch was a diving effort that initially was ruled incomplete. Jones instantly bounced up and motioned to the sideline to challenge the play. At first, his remonstrations looked like the bravado of a young player wanting undue credit. But the replays revealed that Jones indeed had snuck his arms under the ball before it hit the ground before his momentum carried him into the end zone. The officials bore that out and he had himself a touchdown. One play before the touchdown, Jones had a much more mundane 14-yard run on an end around for a first down. So on the 79-yard drive, he accounted for 64 of the yards to help put the Falcons up 14-0 with 2:51 left in the first quarter. On his next reception, he showed himself to be even more efficient, in terms of the amount of yards he could compile on a scoring drive. He accounted for 80 of 87 the 80 all coming in one chunk on a slant in which he outraced a couple of Colts defensive backs to the end zone. Earlier in the week, Jones seemed to show some naivety when he suggested that he would not play unless his hamstring, which had kept him out for the previous two games,felt 100 percent. "I need to be at 100 percent," he said, "going out there flying around not having any doubts about if my hamstring is going to start hurting if I get full speed." Well, he seemed to be at full speed on that play. The burst of speed recalled a play from the Falcons' first preseason game when Jones' skills at the NFL level started becoming apparent to outside observers. Against Miami, Jones caught a short pass across the middle, then zipped past a number of Dolphins defensive backs for a 21-yard gain. He said after the game that he slowed up to set up a block, leaving reporters incredulous that that gear did not represent his top one. But it hasn't always been so smooth. Through their first three games this season, the Falcons coaching staff seemed unsure of what to do with such a weapon and how to add it to their several other ones. They went 1-2 as quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked 13 times and started to take on the look of a battered signal caller who might not finish out the season. Coach Mike Smith had seen enough and simplified the scheme, which has kept Ryan safe. That was in evidence on Sunday on one play, as 5-foot-6 running back Jacquizz Rodgers delivered just enough of a chip block on one of the Colts' dangerous edge pass rushers to help out right tackle Tyson Clabo and let Ryan get off a pass cleanly. Since those first three games, the Falcons are 4-1. They had a few games off with Jones going down in the Green Bay game on Oct. 9 and, fortuitously for them, the bye week kept Jones' absence at just two games, as he required four weeks to get healthy. Seemingly, during those four weeks and during the coaching staff's self-scouting in the bye week, they figured out what to do with Jones and Jones figured out what to do against opposing defenses. He made some veteran defensive backs on the Colts look silly on Sunday. "Just watching what our defense would do, trying to hide coverages," Jones said this week of what he spent his time off doing. "Got me in tuned with it a little more. Thinking about what route I have to run and my responsibilities on that play. ... Being on the sideline, you can see the whole field, so I think that helped me out, reading the defenses a little better." For good measure, Jones added another 19-yard end around in the fourth quarter. He and fellow wide receiver Roddy White, who led the NFL in catches last season, shared some open-mouthed smiles after that one. His receiving totals were three catches for 131 yards with the two touchdowns. Those grins could be a look the rest of the league might have to get used to -- and that Dimitroff might share himself, possibly with a cigar peeking out of the corner of his mouth.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving ate the Celtics’ heart during the second half of Game 4

NFL to reportedly bring back fun touchdown celebrations

Mike Trout explains why he doesn’t look at advanced stats

Reds’ Joey Votto shuts down heckler with “I remember when you used to be thin”

Rob Gronkowski gets new contract, chance to double salary

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Padres offering $99 ticket plan for five June wins or 16 June games – whatever happens first

Former Jets WR Devin Smith found out he was cut via Twitter

Roger Goodell tweets ‘Key & Peele’ joke about relaxed celebration rules

Martavis Bryant: ‘I know this is my last chance’

Glennon: ‘This is my year and I’m not worried about the future’

Durant apologizes for response to fans complaining about blowouts

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker