Complain about calls? Miami Dolphins' Byron Jones would rather focus on Bills' Diggs

Hal Habib
Palm Beach Post
Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones is called for pass interference against Raiders receiver Nelson Agholor, resulting in a 49-yard penalty that set up a field goal.

Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones didn’t complain about the Raiders game, even though many would say he had a reason to. He simply said he has to do a better job — and hopes to show it this Sunday versus  an opponent he never had a chance against last time around.

Jones suffered a groin injury four plays into the Dolphins’ first meeting with Buffalo this season. He was missed. Badly. The Dolphins turned to rookie Noah Igbinoghene against Stefon Diggs, one of the most dangerous receivers in the league.

Diggs and quarterback Josh Allen feasted on the mismatch. Allen targeted Diggs 13 times — more than double any other player — and Diggs responded with eight receptions for 153 yards and a TD in a 31-28 victory.

“That’s one thing we’re going to have to stop this game,” Jones said Monday. “Both of those guys have been on a tear this year.”

Jones has been around long enough to know any cornerback’s mantra: that he must forget what happened last. And when he was last seen, Jones was victimized twice by Raiders receiver Nelson Agholor as the teams traded gut punches in a late flurry of points.

Two snaps after the Dolphins tied it at 16 with 4:01 left, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr went deep for Agholor, who fought off Jones for an 85-yard catch-and-run and a 22-16 lead. Before there could be much discussion of whether Agholor got away with offensive pass interference, the Dolphins were scoring on a 59-yard pass to Myles Gaskin.

But Carr came right back looking for Agholor, this time drawing a massive 49-yard penalty on Jones for defensive pass interference.

The explanation Jones received from an official: “He said I grabbed the receiver from the front and pulled him back from the shoulders.”

According to nflpenalties.com, there have been 286 defensive pass interference penalties this season … but only 56 offensive.

Jones could have complained about a possible double standard but chose not to.

“We’ve got to — or at least, I’ve got to — do a better job of not allowing the officials to come in and affect the game,” Jones said. “So we understand what it is, the challenge we have as DBs and in the NFL, in today’s era. And that’s a challenge that all DBs accept. So we’re not going to get much OPI and that’s fine. We’ll just have to play accordingly.”

Jones credited Carr’s ability to extend plays with his feet. Problem is, Allen is even more of a threat with his legs. That’s an ability he has always had. What makes him more dangerous in his third season is he has found the balance between taking off when plays break down vs. keeping his eyes downfield. Result: He has a 104.2 passer rating and made the Pro Bowl.

“His decision-making at this point is really impressive,” Jones said. “He knows when to run and he knows when to fit it in a tight window.”

Diggs also made the Pro Bowl for the first time, on the strength of 111 receptions for 1,314 yards and five touchdowns entering Monday night.

"He's always been a really good route-runner," Jones said. "The guy can catch the ball really well. He's savvy, a veteran player."