Falcons’ Jones gets playoff rematch with Seahawks’ Sherman


By Charles Odum

AP Sports Writer

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Julio Jones simply shrugged instead of screaming and shouting following a costly no-call against Richard Sherman three months ago.

By contrast, Sherman had a meltdown in the same Falcons-Seahawks game when things didn’t go his way.

On Saturday, the two stars will meet again in a high-profile matchup when Seattle visits Atlanta in a NFC divisional playoff game.

Seattle beat the Falcons 26-24 on Oct. 16. The Falcons’ hopes for a late comeback ended on an incompletion from quarterback Matt Ryan to Jones. Sherman hooked Jones’ right arm as he was draped over the receiver, but there was no call on the apparent pass interference.

Jones, who had seven catches for 139 yards and a touchdown, explained Wednesday why he quickly moved past the play.

“At the end of the day, one play doesn’t define a game,” Jones said. “It’s everything. … My job is to go out there and compete for the ball and it’s the referee’s job to call whatever they see.

“That’s how I get over it. I went out there on that play and competed as hard as I could and didn’t come up with the catch. On to the next.”

Falcons receiver Aldrick Robinson cringed this week when reminded about the no-call.

“It was hard,” Robinson said. “It was hard to watch.”

Even so, Robinson said he wasn’t surprised to see Jones keep his cool.

“He ain’t going to complain about what’s going on because he knows it’s hard to stop him,” Robinson said. “He knows if you’ve got to grab him, a lot of guys get away with it. He’s probably used to it by now.”

Sherman erupted on the Seattle sideline, screaming at coaches and teammates, after Jones’ 36-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. The star cornerback has had little to say this week about the rematch.

When asked what stood out in his memory of the first game against Atlanta, Sherman said, “Nothing that I didn’t know. He’s a great player.”

Sherman also said Jones “works the whole game. He plays hard every snap.”

Similarly, Jones described Sherman as “very competitive.”

“I know that he comes to play and I do the same, week in and week out,” Jones said. “It’s just going to be fun with the matchup.”

Seattle lost at Atlanta 30-28 in another divisional round playoff game following the 2012 regular season before recovering to win the Super Bowl the following season.

Jones was a repeat All-Pro selection despite missing two games with a sprained toe. He still finished second in the NFL with 1,409 yards receiving on 83 catches, six for touchdowns.

Sherman was a three-time All-Pro pick from 2012-14. He helped lead the 2013 Seahawks to their first Super Bowl title, with current Falcons coach Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator .

Quinn said Sherman has “that kind of football acumen” to play quarterback.

“He understands football completely but it’s what he stands for as a competitor that makes him so unique,” Quinn said Wednesday.

Quinn said the Jones-Sherman rematch will be “awesome.”

“When you see two really skilled competitors really battling for it, it’s totally the essence of our game,” Quinn said. “… We’ll anticipate that one happening a bunch.”

Jones said the game is bigger than his desire to win his matchup.

“We’re in the playoffs,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s not ‘I want revenge’ or anything like that. It’s just that they’re in our way.”

NOTES: The Falcons should be healthy following an off week. Quinn said all players practiced without restrictions on Tuesday and Wednesday.

By Charles Odum

AP Sports Writer

AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed to this report.

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