Falcons receiver Julio Jones said Thursday he isn’t concerned with breaking the NFL single-season record for catches.
With just two games remaining, Jones has a slim chance of moving past Marvin Harrison’s 2002 mark of 143 catches, but the three-time Pro Bowl selection says he’s focused solely on helping Atlanta upset Carolina on Sunday.
“It’s not important to me now,” Jones said. “My ultimate goal is to win games, whatever it takes to do that.”
The Falcons’ season hit a low point two weeks ago in a 38-0 loss at Carolina as the offense went scoreless for the first time in 11 years.
Tempers flared notably between Josh Norman and Atlanta receivers, but Jones says the Pro Bowl cornerback didn’t try to trash-talk him.
“Whether you know it or not, he doesn’t say much, you know?” Jones said. “He might say stuff to other guys but he really doesn’t say anything to me when I’m out there.”
Jones has spent all season matched up against the opponent’s best cornerback, so facing Norman a second time hardly weighs on his mind.
“I do not think about a matchup going into the football game,” he said. “I’ve just got to go out there and play my style of football.”
Jones’ bigger concern was how poorly everyone played as the team’s losing streak reached six games. The offense lost two of their four fumbles. Quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked five times and passed for a season-low 176 yards.
Jones had a 46-yard catch, but his six other receptions netted an average of just seven yards. He’s not promising the job will be easy against a Panthers defense that ranks third overall and fifth against the pass.
But the Falcons did miss several chances to throw over the top of the secondary for long gains.
“I feel like we can go down the field all we want,” Jones said. “We can definitely get some shots down the field but we’ve just to take what they gave us.”
Jones needs 12 more catches to move into second place on the single-season list and 26 to pass Harrison. His best two-game stretch was 25 catches wins Week 2 at the New York Giants and Week 3 at Dallas.
He was instrumental in last week’s win at Jacksonville, racking up his seventh 100-yard game and scoring a touchdown for the first time in six games.
Regarding the record, Ryan said he won’t rule out Jones’ chances, but opponents have been adding extra help when trying to defend him throughout the season.
“We have seen a lot of double coverage to Julio this year,” Ryan said this week. “We understand why because he’s a great player.”
Notes: Rookie RB Tevin Coleman has been placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol after slipping in the shower and hitting his head. Coach Dan Quinn says Coleman was at team headquarters when he fell on Wednesday. … Coleman was the only player on the 53-man roster to miss practice. … WR Devin Hester (toe), RG Chris Chester (shoulder), NT Paul Soliai (calf), DT Grady Jarrett (shoulder) and LB Paul Worrilow (knee) were all limited. … LT Jake Matthews (back) fully participated after being limited Wednesday.