The Falcons have made their patented deal maybe they’ll blow it up at home against the Lions. Fortunately, they were able to hold out and stay mathematically alive in the playoff hunt.
Here is what emerges from the victory.
Kyle Pitts becomes a gem
Kyle Pitts is special. Throughout the season we’ve seen his ability to shift to another gear when the football is in his hands – especially on cross roads in the middle where he turns a five-yard gain into 20.
It was dubbed The Unicorn, which I think is a bit too high a nickname to attribute to a rookie enjoying his early NFL seasons and the growing pains that come with it. But with that, it’s fair to say that this man is definitely different.
He showed it on Sunday in his six-catch, 102-yard receiving performance, which culminated in a 35-yard reception on the sideline in the third quarter. Pitts was well covered by cornerback Ifetu Melifonwu, and his last-second flurry allowed him to create enough separation to secure the capture.
Kyle Pitts is now just 128 yards away from breaking Mike Ditka’s all-time record for most receiving yards by a rookie winger in NFL history.
Yeah – he’s different.
Foye Oluokun seals victory
Nothing is done and sprinkled with the Falcons until the clock shows 0:00, and they almost let this game slip away Falcony way.
After a fumble by wide receiver Russell Gage, the Lions were close to snatching a win. It wasn’t, thanks to linebacker Foyesade Oluokun.
Foye found himself in the right place at the right time to make the play to thwart the disaster, catching the ill-conceived pass from quarterback Tim Boyle and sliding to secure the win.
The Falcons have big contract decisions to make this offseason, but Foye Oluokun has improved every year since his draft – and he’s established himself as one of the best young linebackers in the league.
These coins charge you.
Russell Gage creates chaos
The wide receiver Russell Gage is an enigma. This man will virtually levitate to catch a ball in traffic to move the chains, but drop an easy ball that will hit him squarely in the chest. He leads the team with five abandoned assists, including one in the third quarter.
The drop proved to be inconsequential as the Falcons would score thanks to a connection between Matt Ryan and Hayden Hurst on the ride. However, his escape in the fourth quarter on an on-screen pass nearly cost Atlanta the game.
Gage is a very solid possession receiver, and he comes in with some big catches seemingly out of nowhere. He at to clean up drips and secure the soccer ball.