Falcons’ Pitts breaks loose for long gainer on first catch

Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts, making his NFL debut, caught a short pass in the right flat from quarterback Feleipe Franks and broke loose for a 27-yard gain against the Browns on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

ExplorePhotos: Browns at Falcons

Atlanta finished the preseason schedule 0-3 after 19-10 loss to Cleveland.

Pitts, who was the fourth player taken overall in the draft, did not play in the previous two exhibition games.

“Kyle, we didn’t want his first snap to be against Philly,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “We thought he’s done a nice job all (exhibition) season. We try to be smart with guys and create true competition and evaluate those guys.”

Pitts played another snap and was done for the evening.

“I’m just excited to prepare for each game and act like I’m going to be in the game,” Pitts said. “To actually go out there and play was pretty fun.”

After he got a brief taste of the NFL, Pitts was back on the bench.

“We gave him a small little package,” Smith said. “Of course him and Hayden (Hurst) wanted to play the whole game, but we have to make those decisions. Small sample size, but we were going to get him a catch. We’ll see where we go going into the regular season.”

After a spectacular career at Florida, Pitts, will open this season as a 20-year-old and is expected to make an immediate impact as a rookie.

“It definitely was fun,” Pitts said. “I feel like my heart was moving faster than my legs, but just fun being out there feeling that atmosphere and being in the game and around some guys that help me appreciate it.”

Pitts caught the ball at the 9-yard line. He gathered his feet and powered his way up the field. It took four Browns players to bring down the 6-foot-4 and 245-pounder.

“It was great,” Pitts said. “I just love competing, so just any time that I get the chance to go against anyone else is always a good time.”

Now, Pitts, a native of Philadelphia, can start getting ready for the season-opener against the Eagles on Sept. 12.

“I’ve always been preparing each game to play and to be ready and every week, just trying to make myself better,” Pitts said.

The Falcons fans loudly approved of Pitts’ dynamic catch-and-run.

“I feel like when I go in, I can’t hear anything so maybe I didn’t hear the loudness, but once I looked back at it, it was pretty fun,” Pitts said.

The Falcons, perhaps not wanting to unveil too much of their offensive attack, didn’t play other key offensive starters in quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Calvin Ridley and left tackle Jake Matthews.

Pitts did well in training camp practices, according to Smith.

“I think there’s always room for improvement and each week there is something better that you can get on,” Pitts said. “So just now, after I’ve seen what I did this game, I want to try and make it better for game one.”

Wide receiver Juwan Green had three catches for 58 yards, but Pitts was named the player of the game on his one catch.

“I thought they would have given it to Juwan (Green), but I was appreciative of it,” Pitts said.

Pitts pronounced himself ready for the season after just the two snaps.

“I think it did — just the speed and seeing how fast it really is just to try and prepare myself for the first game,” Pitts said.

Ryan has been a good mentor to Pitts.

“Preparation and sleep — those are two things he harps on which kind of helps your mind sleep first and you being better than the day before,” Pitts said.

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