Drake London has strong showing in Falcons’ loss

Rookie Drake London led Falcons receivers in their 19-16 loss to the Steelers on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

London finished with six receptions and a career-high 95 yards. Tight end Anthony Firkser was the next most productive with two catches for 24 yards.

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Despite the loss, London had his strongest showing since Week 2, when he had eight catches for 86 yards, a touchdown and a two-point conversion against the Rams. London is expected to become the team’s primary target because Kyle Pitts will miss the rest of the season with a strained MCL.

London’s growth and willingness to do whatever is necessary has caught A.J. Terrell’s eye.

“He’s been good; he’s been producing, too, in practice,” Terrell said. “He’s handling business, anything the team or coaches need of him, attacking everything.”

The eighth overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, London worked to keep the Falcons from falling out of the game early. The offense needed to respond on its third possession after falling behind 13-3. London did that, starting the drive with his longest play of the game and career, a 37-yard pass from Marcus Mariota.

London did his part again in the fourth quarter with the Falcons (5-8) trailing 19-13. London caught an 11-yard pass for a first down. It was part of a 16-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a field goal.

London now has 533 yards this season and became the fourth Falcons receiver since 2000 to eclipse 500 receiving yards in his first 13 career games, joining Pitts (2021), Calvin Ridley (2018) and Julio Jones (2011).

Cornerback Dee Alford has seen London grow each week.

“Drake gets better every day,” Alford said. “He continues to come in and work and (keeps) getting better with his craft; he’s got a bright future.”