Maybe it wasn’t just the defensive brilliance of Pats defensive coordinator Matt Patricia that stifled what appeared to be an unstoppable Falcons offense in the critical moments of Super Bowl 51.
While people are crediting the chameleon abilities of Bill Belichick and his talented defensive coordinator for taking ATL's all-world pass-snatcher Julio Jones out of the game and limiting his overall impact to four catches for 87 yards (one of which is an all-time great grab) and pure ineffectiveness down the stretch, it turns out that Jones has been nursing a deteriorating toe injury all season and it may require offseason surgery.
Before the Super Bowl, NFL.com's Ian Rapaport reported that though he “will play his full slate of plays in Super Bowl LI, the injury Jones has been battling may necessitate offseason surgery."
“When the Super Bowl ends, Jones will receive a full evaluation on his foot, sources say, and going under the knife is either likely or possible depending on whom you ask. Jones has also been dealing with a sprained ankle, but that will not require surgery.”
Jones sat out two games in December due to the pain caused by his various problems, but he overcame it to catch nine passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the NFC Title game two weeks ago. So, he really has no excuse for the way he faded to black in the Super Bowl.
However, you’d have to imagine that Jones was hurting in the second half, because overall, the anointed “best receiver in the sport” was basically relegated to non-factor status.
Is the Patriots coaching staff just that great ? Or was Jones playing compromised and his body just ran out of gas at the worst possible moment?