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Kyle Pitts Leads Falcons to 30-28 Win at Dolphins

Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts posted game-high 163 receiving yards at Miami

A pair of former Alabama receivers squared off at Hard Rock Stadium when the Atlanta Falcons visited the Miami Dolphins o Sunday, but it was an ex-Florida Gators tight end who stole the show.

Falcons rookie tight end Kyle Pitts made big play after big play, finishing with seven receptions and a game-high 163 receiving yards as the Falcons defeated the Dolphins 30-28.

On three occasions, Pitts recorded long catches on the first play of drives to jump start the Atlanta offense. His two most important receptions came on the eventual game-winning drive when the Falcons were trailing by a point.

Pitts started the two-minute drill drive with a 23-yard catch to bring the Falcons to midfield. He made another beautiful reception for 28 yards to the Dolphins 24-yard line. 

Already in field-goal range, the Falcons began running the ball to force the Dolphins to take their timeouts. With three seconds left, Younghoe Koo made a 36-yard field to move the Falcons back to .500 at 3-3.

Pitts had his hand prints all over this Atlanta win. The Falcons deferred at the beginning of the game to receive the ball to begin the second half, which enabled them the opportunity for the double scoring dip -- a field goal to end the first half and a touchdown to start the third quarter.

Like at the end of the game, Pitts started both of those scoring drives. First, he hauled in a 39-yard catch along the sideline with just one arm. Eric Rowe, who was called for defensive pass interference, held Pitts' right arm, but the impediment didn't stop Pitts from making a terrific highlight-reel catch.

The 39-yard catch brought the Falcons into Miami territory. 

After four more completions to make the field goal more manageable, Koo made a 36-yard field goal with four seconds left in the half.

Pitts also caught Ryan's first pass of the third quarter, which was a 26-yard grab. He led the Falcons in receptions, yards from scrimmage and yards per catch. 

Pitts is the first rookie tight end with back-to-back 100-yard receiving games since 1970.

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Russell Gage, who returned from injury Sunday, also had a nice game. He had four catches and 67 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown. His touchdown is the longest play for the Falcons offense this season.

Just prior to Pitts' impressive one-handed catch along the sideline, Jaylinn Hawkins intercepted a pass from Tua Tagovailoa in the end zone. 

Foye Oluokun recorded another Falcons pick early in the fourth quarter. Grady Jarrett pressured Tagovailoa one snap after Matt Ryan threw his own pick to set up the Dolphins in great field position. To avoid a sack, Tagovailoa blindly threw the ball to the middle of the field where Oluokun made the pick and returned it 56 yards.

If not for Hawkins' interception, the Dolphins could have been within a point at halftime. Instead, the next time Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense touched the ball, they were trailing by 13.

The Oluokun interception was also at least a 10-point swing. Cordarrelle Patterson ended Atlanta's drive after Oluokun's pick with a 3-yard rushing touchdown.

Rookie linebacker Adetokunbo Ogundeji also made impactful plays. He only had two tackles on defense, but Ogundeji blocked a field goal in the first half.

Ryan completed 25 of 40 passes for 336, averaging 8.4 yards per pass. He also had two touchdowns with one interception.

Calvin Ridley caught Ryan's first touchdown throw.

Tagovailoa threw a career-high four touchdowns but also had the two costly picks. He had 291 passing yards, averaging 7.3 yards per attempt.

The Falcons will host the Carolina Panthers next Sunday with the chance to move above the .500 mark for the first time in the Arthur Smith era. The Falcons haven't been above .500 at any point since the end of the 2017 season.

Carolina has dropped four straight games since starting the season 3-0. The Panthers lost to the New York Giants on Sunday, 25-3.