Nazair Jones got a notable interception (and a black eye) on first career snap

"It was a great play," Nazair Jones said of intercepting Aaron Rodgers, "but you've got to catch the ball when it hits you in the face." Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks rookie defensive tackle Nazair Jones didn't end up with the football from his interception of Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.

He got a much different souvenir from that play instead.

"Not a lot of people know this: the ball hit me in the face," Jones told "Danny, Dave and Moore" on 710 ESPN Seattle. "The ball actually hit me in the eye. I actually have like a little bit of a black eye right now."

Jones wears a facemask that leaves much of his face exposed. Enough of it, as it turns out, for the nose of a football to reach his eye if thrown at a perfect angle.

That's what happened in the first quarter of the Seahawks' season-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers was targeting a tight end running a crossing route over the middle but instead hit Jones, who was standing about 5 yards away from the quarterback. Replays confirmed the direct hit to the front of his helmet.

Jones wasn't able to get his hands up in time to catch the ball cleanly, but he caught it off the bounce and outraced Rodgers 64 yards to the end zone. The touchdown was nullified by an illegal block in the back called against Cliff Avril, but the interception stood.

Jones downplayed the difficulty of the catch. He said he played tight end in high school and noted that he has "huge hands, so it was pretty easy for me."

"It was a great play," he said, "but you've got to catch the ball when it hits you in the face."

He was more impressed by how he won a footrace with Rodgers at 6-5 and 290 pounds.

"I didn't know I had that kind of speed in me, but when you get on that kind of stage, honestly my body just took over and I was just cruising," he said. "I really didn't realize I was going that fast."

It was an unlikely play on a few levels. Rodgers owns the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history, throwing only 72 picks over his first 12 seasons. He hadn't thrown an interception in his previous 251 regular-season pass attempts, the longest streak of his career. Go figure, it was a rookie defensive tackle playing in his first game that ended it.

Adding to the unlikelihood: It was the first snap of Jones' career.

"I've never heard of that happening," he said, "but I'm glad it did happen."

Jones, a third-round pick out of North Carolina, had already started to make a name for himself before Sunday. He impressed teammates and coaches when he made a tackle well down the field on a screen pass in Seattle's preseason opener. When the Seahawks released starting defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin following the trade for Sheldon Richardson, Carroll cited Jones' emergence as a factor in that decision.

Jones played 24 of Seattle's 82 defensive snaps on Sunday.

"Naz continues to hold up his own, so that’s a real positive sign for us," Carroll said. "That was a great play [his interception] in particular. I think that was his first play on the field, too. He’s going to be able to help us.”

So, what happened to that football? Jones forgot to keep it.

"That's definitely a rookie mistake," he said.