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Sunday, December 16, 2012
Hosley targeted in first NFL start

By Matt Winkeljohn | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

ATLANTA -- Jayron Hosley was not surprised when the Falcons seemed to target him Sunday because, well, rookie cornerbacks making their first NFL start might as well wear a bulls-eye.

"I think they did," Hosley said when asked if he thought the Falcons went at him. "I definitely would if I was a coach."

Hosley was surprised by a couple plays Sunday, when he replaced injured starter Prince Amukamara in the Georgia Dome.
Jayron Hosley
Jayron Hosley covers Julio Jones as Jones makes a touchdown catch.

On Atlanta's seventh play of the second half, wideout Julio Jones ran a jet route near the left sideline.

"He just got behind me," Hosley said after finishing with three tackles and an assist. "I could have played outside leverage more. He's a fast receiver who builds up his speed. I should have kept outside leverage, and he just made a big play."

Matt Ryan found Jones near the goal line for a 40-yard scoring play that gave the Falcons a 24-0 lead with 11:31 left in the third quarter.

Hosley had half the Giants' pass breakups, although that wasn't saying much. New York had just two on Atlanta's 28 pass attempts while the Falcons deflected five of the Giants' 25 throws.

The rookie's breakup three plays prior to the first of Jones' two touchdowns (the second came with Corey Webster in coverage) came when Pro Bowl wide receiver Roddy White was hauling full speed deep down the middle. Hosley was on White's hip, and when the long, high-arching pass finally came down, Hosley poked it away.

Ryan went on to complete 23-of-28 for 270 yards.

Jones and especially White -- who each have more than 1,000 receiving yards -- are known for their skills and their mouths. They let Hosley have a little lip.

"On the touchdown, [Jones] said a couple things but it's a part of the game," the rookie said.

The same goes for injuries. Hosley's day of NFL education a sprained an ankle on another play.

On the Falcons' second possession, the rookie mistook one play for another.

Falcons slot man Harry Douglas beat Hosley for 37 yards on what looked from afar to be an out-and-up route where Douglas worked his way behind coverage.

To the rook, it looked like Atlanta was repeating an earlier play.

"They had run a screen before that, and they ran it again and I played a little too aggressive on it," Hosley said. "The guy that had blocked me before [Douglas] got behind me."

The Falcons took a 14-0 lead three plays later on a 12-yard pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez. Hosley missed that play because he sprained an ankle trying to tackle Douglas. Justin Tryon replaced him, but Hosley was back for Atlanta's next possession.

"There was some pain, but I decided to play through it," he said. "It wasn't an excuse. You got to suck it up."