On the stat sheet, D.J. Jones had a decent game Sunday.
On game-changing plays, he had an outstanding day.
Blowing up the Browns’ backfield, Jones scooped a bobbled hand off and landed on the ball at Cleveland’s 20-yard line.
D.J. Jones recovers a fumble after a terrible roughing the passer call.pic.twitter.com/LftS7VVjK8— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 26, 2023
It was a fantastic defensive effort in its own right. It was even more important as it came soon after a highly questionable roughing the passer call against Barron Browning that moved the Browns to midfield to start the fourth quarter.
Down only five points, the Browns would have only needed one touchdown to go up at the start of the 4th quarter.
But Jones made sure that was never going to happen.
Ironically, Jones was perhaps the most critical of his fumble recovery - the first in his career so far. In his mind, he should have scooped AND scored.
“Just like anybody else, I love contributing to the team,” Jones said. “I should have scored. I should have got it, but I am glad I got it for the offense.”
Jones’ attitude that there’s always more to be done is partly why this defense has been the strength of the turnaround from 1-5 to 6-5 the last five weeks.
“We are just trying to go 1-0 every week,” Jones said of the win streak. “Personally, I am not looking at stacking on top of each other, five in a row. Do not get ahead of yourselves. That is what I was always taught. But we are 1-0 today, and I am proud of the group.”
For a 305-pound lineman, Jones is amazingly agile. Last week we saw him run - RUN, not lumber - to cover a running back in the open field. Jokes were made on Twitter that it must be a boring game if THAT was being talked about.
But it was no joke.
And neither is Jones.
Head coach Sean Payton noted that Jones’ ability stood out to him long before he coached him at the Broncos. Payton knew of him on the other side of the field as the 49ers’ menace to his Saints.
“The two things now that I’ve been around him is he’s very athletic and he has really good football IQ,” Payton said after the Browns’ game. “Those traits can serve you well, especially when you bring up some plays or examples of plays. [He has] good football instincts and is athletic for an inside tackle.”
No one is happier about the defensive turnaround and domination than quarterback Russell Wilson, who has found his own revival of sorts.
“Our defense has been lights-out. One of the best defenses in the world. Those guys have been unbelievable,” Wilson said. “Vance Joseph has done a great job with those guys—getting those guys ready every week. ...We’ve handled the adversity. The reality is that we have a lot more ball to go. We have to stay humble and hungry. We have a lot more to do.”