The Falcons made it interesting with two costly turnovers, but in the end were too much for the lowly Jets in recording a 27-20 victory in London. Here are the highlights:
Plays of the game: After the Jets pulled to within three points, 20-17, the Falcons put the game away with a touchdown drive that culminated with Mike Davis running in from three yards out. The Falcons picked up three key third downs to keep the game-icing drive alive. On third-and-13 from the Jets’ 39-yard line, Matt Ryan found Olamide Zaccheaus on a 15-yard completion. On a third-and-2 from the Jets’ 16, Ryan found Cordarrelle. Patterson on with a 7-yard completion. Davis scored two plays later and the Falcons went up by 10 points with 2:26 remaining.
Offensive game ball: Give Kyle Pitts the game ball. In fact, give the rookie tight end nine game balls — one for each of his receptions. Pitts finished with 119 yards receiving and caught his first touchdown pass. With the Falcons missing top wideouts Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage, the team turned to their tight ends. Hayden Hurst had four catches for 40 yards and touchdown and Lee Smith had three catches for 30 yards. In the first half alone, Falcons tight ends accounted for 11 receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensive game ball: Falcons defensive back Jaylinn Hawkins came up with a drive-stopping interception in the first quarter as the Jets appeared to finally get an offensive drive started. The Jets’ first two possessions went for a total of six plays and 16 yards. At that point, they already trailed 17-0. Hawkins picked off Zach Wilson on the second play of the Jets’ next drive. Three possessions, eight plays, 18 yards, two punts and an interception. The early deficit was too big to overcome.
Key stat: 450 yards. The total offense by the Falcons. The Jets were limited to just 230 totals yards of offense. Fumbles by Hurst and Davis deep in Jets’ territory prevented the Falcons from putting more points on the board.
Biggest takeaway: The Jets aren’t good. However, the Falcons won a game with their two top wideouts unavailable. Ryan had completions to eight receivers on the day. Except for the two costly fumbles, the Falcons did what needed to be done, especially the nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to seal the win.
Ryan moving up: Ryan, who was 33-for-45 for 342 yards, eclipsed the 5,000 career receptions mark and also moved past Eli Manning for eighth place on the NFL’s all-time yardage list. He needed 266 yards to surpass Manning and now stands at 57,099 yards.
Credit: Ian Walton
Credit: Ian Walton
They said it: “Kyle stepped up. … We’ll continue to evolve offensively. He was good. He won is one-on-on matchups. He made some big time plays for us. Like I said, it’s a long game. Everyone wants the hot take after week one and you’ve got to see continual improvement. That’s why Kyle is here.” – Falcons coach Arthur Smith on Pitts
Next up: The Falcons can rest for a week. They are on a bye week after defeating the Jets in London. They return to play at 1 p.m., Oct. 24 at the Dolphins.
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