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Falcons Answer Questions, Feed Kyle Pitts in First Win

Following a slow start to the season, Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts had a breakthrough performance in Sunday's victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith faced questions surrounding the usage of tight end Kyle Pitts all week.

By all accounts, the questions - which could easily be viewed as criticisms - were well-deserved. Unfazed, Smith decided to quiet the questions early and often in Atlanta's 27-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field.

Through two games, Pitts had just four catches for 38 yards on 10 targets. Smith, who made Pitts his first draft selection as a head coach, stated that the tight end's production was merely the result of the ball going elsewhere as the Falcons tried to capitalize on open receivers elsewhere. Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota echoed similar sentiments.

According to Smith, Pitts' numbers took a backseat to the Falcons' pursuit of winning, but the two should, ideally, go hand in hand. On Sunday, they did just that.

Smith set the tone early, dialing up a play-action shot to Pitts on Atlanta's first offensive play. While the pass fell incomplete, the message was clear that Pitts was primed to be a focal point in the offense's game plan. He proceeded to turn in the most productive two quarters of his season by a comfortable margin.

At the half, Pitts had four receptions for 82 yards, matching his total number of catches and more than doubling his yardage from the season's first two games. He had a quiet second half, catching just one pass for five yards, but his gain picked up a crucial first down on the Falcons' penultimate offensive possession.

Pitts' final stat line shows five catches for 87 yards on eight targets. He was Atlanta's leading receiver in all three categories and led both sides in yards.

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Ultimately, after a question-filled week, both Pitts and Smith rose to the occasion.

Better yet? Atlanta found the win column for the first time this season. 

Following a pair of frustrating losses to start the season, the Falcons got the best of both worlds on Sunday - a breakout game from Pitts to headline a winning effort.

Can it continue? That remains to be seen.

But in the meantime, Smith, Pitts and the rest of the Falcons' offense will take Sunday's result and look to replicate it next week against the Cleveland Browns, with kickoff set for 1 p.m.


You can follow Daniel Flick on Twitter @DFlickDraft

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