Stat corner: Kyle Pitts on pace for thousand-yard season

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (8) makes a catch in front of Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White (45) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
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Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (8) makes a catch in front of Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White (45) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

Credit: Mark LoMoglio

Credit: Mark LoMoglio

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Falcons rookie tight end Kyle Pitts has caught 45 of 75 targets for a 60% catch ratio this season. He has 661 receiving yards and one touchdown.

Pitts, who’s on pace to have 1,021 yards receiving, has been embraced by the veteran Falcons tight ends.

“We are with each other every day,” Pitts said. “These are the people you see most of the time, more than your family. Just having that bond in the (meeting) room kind of makes that really easy.”

Pitts had five catches for 73 yards in the previous meeting with the Bucs on Sept. 19. The teams will meet again at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“I thought Kyle did a good job the first time,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. “It was his second game, and I thought he made a few really good plays for us. In that game (he) created some (explosive plays).”

Pitts went on to have back-to-back 100-yard games against the Jets and Miami, but since Carolina used Stephon Gilmore on him Oct. 31, he hasn’t had more than 62 yards receiving in a game.

“Again, I think he’s come a long way since that point, and I think he’s playing really good football for us,” Ryan said. “So, it’ll be a good matchup. I think every team that we’ve played probably the last four or five weeks have tried to have a plan to adjust for what Kyle can do. I would expect that to be the same this week.”

Tampa Bay coordinator Todd Bowles acknowledges Pitts’ versatility.

“He is a wide receiver, he is a tight end. He is fast, he is versatile. He has a lot of speed, and he has a lot of flexibility as far as his moves,” Bowles said. “Getting on the line, he can be a wideout or a tight end. That creates match-up problems in how they use him.

“We knew he was going to be a great player when we played him the first time. Now, he is coming into his own. He is one of the most exciting players to watch right now.”

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Falcons’ 2021 schedule features trip to London, January trip to Buffalo

Atlanta Falcons schedule and scores

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington 34, Falcons 30

Falcons 27, Jets 20

Bye Week

Falcons 30, Dolphins 28

Panthers 19, Falcons 13

Falcons 27, Saints 25

Cowboys 43, Falcons 3

Patriots 25, Falcons 0

Falcons 21, Jaguars 14

Next four games

Tampa Bay at Falcons, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5

Falcons at Carolina, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12

Falcons at San Francisco, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 19

Detroit Lions at Falcons, 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 26

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