The Falcons don’t have a traditional way of winning football games, at least not in today’s NFL. While the rest of the league zigs, Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot zag.
Atlanta is 1-0 after a Week 1 victory over the Panthers that could only be described as ugly, but as I wrote earlier, the Falcons shouldn’t apologize for winning.
Desmond Ridder and the offense spun its wheels for much of the game, including a couple of near turnovers. However, the defense carried the club to a win, which is something Falcons fans haven’t experienced very often.
Ryan Nielsen’s revamped unit held Bryce Young and the Panthers offense to 10 points while forcing three turnovers, all of which came by way of the crown jewel of the free agent class — Jessie Bates III.
Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier were also bright spots; both powering the Falcons offense to the red zone and endzone, combining for three scores and over 80% of the touches. There were some concerning parts, though.
Kyle Pitts and Drake London combined for four targets, two of which were caught by Pitts for 44 yards. That’s probably not what you want from the highest drafted tight end in history along with another top 10 draft pick.
If you ask London and Pitts, though, they’re perfectly content and satisfied with their role in the offense… as long as the Falcons are winning.
“We’re 1-0. That’s all that matters,” Pitts said. “It’s the first game. If you look at the games around the league, they were pretty low-scoring games, not many people had glaring numbers, and it’s not about numbers individually, as long as we got the win. I’ll let coach Smith do his thing and worry about this week. I’m not going to get frustrated that the ball is not coming my way if we’re still doing well and driving down the field.”
“Maybe they’ll be mad about me not getting catches in a week, but our team went 1-0. We beat a pretty decent Carolina team. I’m just excited that we got the dub. As long as we win, I’m out there blocking my tail off,” London continued. “I’m out there running routes, clearing guys out, I’m out there doing whatever I’ve got to do to help the team win. I’m all for it. We came away with a W, and this week is a new opportunity to go out there and compete with my brothers. I am just excited to get out there. It feels like it’s Week 1 again for me.”
The fact of the matter? Winning is a cure-all. As long as Arthur Smith continues to stack victories, the media, ownership, and his players will continue to swallow their tongues.
But what happens when Atlanta stops winning? Will Drake London and Kyle Pitts still be satisfied with their roles? Regardless of their opinions, the point remains the Falcons drafted two pass catchers with back-to-back top 10 picks and aren’t utilizing them as such. At the very least, it’s a bad use of resources, and things could turn out much worse if they don’t change.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire