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Julio Jones shows flashes in return

HOUSTON -- Sure, Julio Jones didn't score a touchdown or make a spectacular one-handed grab, but just his presence on the field was a positive step for the Atlanta Falcons.

The star receiver saw his first game action since suffering a fracture in his right foot Oct. 7. He caught two passes for 20 yards while being targeted four times during Saturday's 32-7 loss to the Houston Texans.

"I thought Julio looked good," quarterback Matt Ryan said. "It's good to have him back. Obviously, he's a dynamic player for our offense and somebody we feel like is a game-changer. I thought he did a nice job out there tonight."

Jones' first catch came across the middle for a 6-yard gain just two plays into the game. Ryan then tried to go back to him on third-and-7 from the 20. Jones showed explosion in going up for the ball but couldn't get both feet in bounds.

On Jones' second catch, which went for 14 yards, Texans safety D.J. Swearinger put on a hard hit that seemed to rattle Jones a moment, but Jones shook it off.

Ryan unsuccessfully attempted to connect with Jones on two third-down situations.

"It's amazing how a play here or there changes kind of how a game feels, how a preseason game feels, when you're only getting a couple of drives," Ryan said. "We had that opportunity on the first third-down situation. We took a chance down the field. I've got to give him a little bit better chance to keep his feet in bounds. That's one of those things, moving forward, we need to make the plays. And I think we will."

Coach Mike Smith talked about having Jones back in the lineup.

"Julio got an opportunity to get out on the field today with the rest of the offense, and that’s always a good sign," Smith said. "We wanted to get him a prescribed number of plays. We got him very close to the number that we wanted."

Jones played in the first four series against the Texans. Expect him to get more action in the third preseason game against the Tennessee Titans next Saturday, the most important of the four exhibitions in terms of the starters and putting together a game plan.

Jones, who did not play in last week's exhibition opener against the Miami Dolphins, did not address the media following Saturday's game.