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Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer 17d

Falcons' Julio Jones makes no excuses for dropping 39-yard TD in fourth quarter

NFL, Atlanta Falcons

CHARLOTTE -- Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones made no excuses for dropping what would have been a 39-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 20-17 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

"I didn't take advantage of the opportunity,'' Jones told reporters following the game. "It was no excuses or anything like that. It's just a missed [opportunity].''

Jones had six catches for a season-high 118 yards in the game, but the only topic of conversation afterward was the drop. He was 5 yards ahead of the defense before he bobbled the pass from Matt Ryan. After the drop, Jones remained sprawled across the back of the end zone for a moment and appeared to cover his face in shame. Carolina safety Kurt Coleman came over and offered Jones some "spiritual" words after the drop.

"It's just a missed [opportunity]. That's it,'' Jones said. "I'm not worried about people. It's all about my brothers in here because I'm going out there playing for them. I'm not playing for people, 'Oh, I let people down.' I go to work and battle with these men every day. When that play came up, I felt like I could have made a better play in that situation than I did.''

Teammates expressed strong support for Jones afterward. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said his message to Jones was "we're coming back to you. We love you and know what you stand for,'' after the drop.

"One hundred out of 100 times, he's going to make plays,'' Ryan said. "He made more plays in this league than probably anybody. Sometimes it happens. I ain't worried one bit about it.''

Said wide receiver Mohamed Sanu: "He's human. People expect him to make every single play. I mean, that guy is human. He makes mistakes. That's nothing. I'd go right back to him as well. He's one of the best players I've ever been around. So it's nothing.''

Jones appreciated the support from his coach and teammates. He told Ryan he threw a good ball.

"Well, it's not a situation until you make it a situation,'' Jones said. "One play don't define a game. We've got each other's back throughout the game. It doesn't matter who's in that situation. We're going to have their back. We're not going to beat down on anyone and say, 'OK, they're not doing this well today. We're going to go somewhere else.' We have the utmost confidence in everybody on the team, just the way we practice and prepare.

"Without a doubt, of course I knew they'd have my back and would not just not throw me the ball.''

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