Deion Jones didn’t have the kind of 2019 season that necessarily draws rave reviews, even though many of his numbers were in line with the rest of his career. It was largely the lack of eye-popping turnovers and some early season shakiness in coverage that drove that perception.
Largely, though, Jones was the same guy. That’s impressive after he surprisingly returned from a significant foot injury late last year and may have still been feeling some of its effects this year, and given that the rest of the defense wasn’t exactly giving him much help in the early going.
That recognition is coming belatedly, though. Jones’ defensive touchdown to end the Buccaneers game moves him to sole possesion of first place for interceptions returned for touchdowns in franchise history (he has 4, breaking a tie with Deion Sanders and Kevin Mathis), and it also snagged him Defensive Player of the Week honors.
The season-ending play was vintage Debo, though, and that plus some truly stellar coverage against the Buccaneers will win you the Defensive Player of the Week aware. Jones read Jameis Winston like a See Spot Run book from the jump, undercutting Cameron Brate at the perfect time on the first play of overtime and using his speed to take the interception all the way to the house and win the game for Atlanta.
That’s just the seventh time someone’s done that in overtime since 2002, per Falcons stat maven Gaby Moran.
Becoming just the seventh NFL player with a game-winning interception return for a touchdown in OT since 2002 grants you NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Congrats @debo!! Can’t wait to see all that you do next year— Gaby Moran (@gabsmoran) December 31, 2019
Jones is going to be here for the long haul if all goes well, given that he just signed an extension in July, and is already making his way up the team’s all-time leaderboard in interceptions (tied for 25th with Ricardo Allen), tackles (19th), and yards on interception returns (8th). He’s just 25 years old, still feels like he has untapped upside, and should be even better next year further removed from his injury.
In other words, this isn’t the last award Deion Jones is going to win, and even if you’re feeling a little dour about the state of this team right now, you have to feel good about what lies ahead for him.