NFC South Reporter
The Falcons’ win over the Bears on Sunday has additionally include a major loss, as Professional Bowl tight finish Kyle Pitts sustained a knee damage that would finish his season early.
Pitts, 22, left Sunday’s sport within the third quarter after taking a success simply above his knee from Bears security Eddie Jackson on a catch throughout the center. He didn’t return, and Falcons coach Arthur Smith mentioned Monday that he was “out in the short term.” NFL Network reported that Pitts tore the medial collateral ligament in his knee, an damage that sometimes requires no less than six weeks to get better, and the Falcons have seven weeks remaining within the common season. Pitts is searching for a second opinion earlier than deciding on whether or not to endure surgical procedure on his knee.
Pitts, the fourth total choose within the 2021 NFL Draft out of Florida, made the Professional Bowl as a rookie after catching 68 passes for 1,026 yards and one landing. He is been utilized much less in his second season, as many of the Falcons’ passing statistics are down from a yr in the past. Pitts has 28 catches for 356 yards and two touchdowns, and he was Atlanta’s main receiver within the win over Chicago, catching three passes for 43 yards earlier than the damage.
It has been a irritating season for Pitts, whose catch fee dropped from 62 % of targets his rookie yr to 47 % this season, with rookie receiver Drake London rising as the highest goal for quarterback Marcus Mariota because the offense has pivoted to a powerful concentrate on the working sport. The Falcons are on tempo to throw for two,900 yards after throwing for 3,987 final season in Matt Ryan’s ultimate yr in Atlanta. The Falcons have already rushed for 1,753 yards in 2022 after totaling 1,451 final yr.
The Falcons (5-6) are a half-game again of the Bucs for the NFC South lead however dropping Pitts would take a key weapon away from their passing sport. Atlanta’s depth at tight finish is restricted, as Parker Hesse and MyCole Pruitt are used extra as blockers, with Hesse having 5 catches for 50 yards and Pruitt having 4 for 31 on the season. Pruitt caught a 17-yard cross for a key third-down conversion in Sunday’s win. The Falcons even have Anthony Firkser, who has three catches for 39 yards, and transformed quarterback Feleipe Franks, who has no catches this season; each have been inactive Sunday in opposition to Chicago.
Atlanta has one other new damage to take care of; beginning defensive lineman Ta’Quon Graham additionally injured his knee Sunday and needed to be carted off the sphere. Smith didn’t have any specifics on a timetable for a return for Graham, a 2021 fifth-round choose from Texas. Graham has began 9 of 11 video games this season and has been productive with 34 whole tackles.
The Falcons have a tricky problem Sunday taking part in at Washington, which is 6-5 and has gained 5 of its final six video games. From there, they’re residence in opposition to the Steelers (3-7) earlier than their bye week.
Greg Auman is FOX Sports activities’ NFC South reporter, overlaying the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He’s in his tenth season overlaying the Bucs and the NFL full-time, having frolicked on the Tampa Bay Occasions and The Athletic. You may comply with him on Twitter at @gregauman.
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