In the first meeting between the Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens escaped with a 13-10 win on the strength of a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown by Jacoby Jones in the first quarter.
Keeping Jones’ prowess on returns – he leads the NFL in kick return touchdowns with three this season – in mind, the Steelers did their best to limit Jones’ opportunities in their 23-20 win against the Ravens Sunday.
Jones returned three kicks for a total of 74 yards, but he didn’t get past the Ravens’ 26-yard line. Two more Shaun Suisham kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. And Jones got just two chances on punt returns, but both ended in fair catches.
After the game, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged that the strategy on special teams was to keep the ball away from Jones.
“He hurt us, obviously, last time, and we felt like that play was the difference,” Tomlin said, referring to Jones’ punt return on Nov. 18. “Not singularly pointing to that play because every time the ball snaps, you get an opportunity. But as a result of that play, [it] was the margin or the difference. We just wanted to play smart. At times, we were going to have to challenge him and kick it to him, and we did. I liked that we kicked it away, right before the half, and we scored right before the half. But he’s a dangerous guy. He’s the leading kick returner in the AFC. He’s hurt us in the punt return game, but the guys did a nice job tonight.”