When the Atlanta Falcons took Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, they made him highest tight end drafted in this history. The expectations that came with that designation were huge, and Pitts has met them early in his NFL career.
With the Falcons top two receivers Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage missing against the Jets on Sunday, it was always going to be a big opportunity for Pitts to shine against the 1-3 Jets.
Ridley was missing for personal reasons and it's unclear when he'll return. Gage missed his third consecutive game with an ankle injury, but should return for Atlanta's next game.
Quarterback Matt Ryan went early and often to his 6’6 and 245-pound tight end with three targets for two receptions on the first drive of the game that ended with a field goal.
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On the day Pitts finished the game with nine catches on just 10 targets for 119 yards and the rookie’s first touchdown of his young NFL career.
On the season Pitts has 24 catches for 308 yards and a touchdown. Extrapolated across a 17 games season Pitts is on pace for 82 catches for 1,047 yards, but his pace has increased dramatically the last two weeks.
Pitts helped lead the Falcons to a 27-20 victory in London and brought the Falcons record to 2-3 heading into the bye week.
The Jets meanwhile fell to 1-4. After an encouraging overtime win against the Tennessee Titans last week, the Jets were dominated by the Falcons being out-gained 450 to 230 yards. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, taken two spots ahead of Pitts in April’s draft was 19 of 32 passing for 192 yards and an interception.
The Falcons have next week off before traveling to Miami to take on the Dolphins on October 24 … and Falcons fans surely hope it’ll be another time to shine for Kyle Pitts.