Along with the controversial play that ended when Jones slapped off Cooper's helmet before also slamming his unprotected head into the helmet, Jones also walked out of O.co Coliseum with a team-high 10 tackles, a pass defensed and a key forced fumble that led to a promising second-quarter Raiders drive stalling.
Jones was playing like a man possessed. He was playing like his 185 pounds were more like 245. He was everywhere on the defense; so much so that Bengals safety George Iloka thought that for a moment Jones was wearing a purple and black 52 on his jersey instead of his orange and black 24.
"I call him 'Baby Ray Lewis,' man," Iloka said, jokingly adding, "I heard we've got a package where we're moving him to 'Mike' [linebacker]. I'm for real. 'Pacman' Jones at the 'Mike.'"
Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther might not really have plans to move Jones into a Lewis-like role, but he certainly wants all of his defensive backs to play with a measure of middle linebacker intensity like Lewis did for so long for Baltimore.
"You never want your corner leading the game [in tackles], but he played his butt off," Guenther said of Jones. "Obviously you don't want the stuff down the field [with Cooper] occurring, but aside from that play, I thought he played his butt off. I really did. It was probably one of his best games as a Bengal."
Jones has been in Cincinnati since 2010. Now that he has been fully healthy the past couple of seasons and has reined in some of the negative off-field activity that for so long defined his persona, Jones has been playing better. He has been so dominant at the position in recent years that he looks like he's in his prime, instead of the way most cornerbacks look at his age: over the hill.
With his 32nd birthday coming up this month, Jones has played more like he's 22. The physical manner in which he still plays suggests that.
Iloka said Jones and other veteran Bengals cornerbacks and safeties were educated on that style of aggressive play by former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Before leaving last year to become the Vikings' head coach, Zimmer wanted all his players in the secondary to perform with that edge that was on display much of Sunday.
"Zimmer said you can't play in this defense as a corner or safety if you're scared to tackle or if you're not trying to come up and take on a block here or there," Iloka said. "There's a lot of plays you'll see Pacman make that way. He's probably the smallest one in the starting lineup, but he's playing physical. That's how they want us to play."
Maybe "Baby Ray" is a suitable nickname after all.