London – No Ridley? No problem! Robert Saleh, the head coach of the New York Jets, had almost feared it in advance.
Two days before his Jets’ first London game of the 2021 NFL season against the Atlanta Falcons at Tottenham Stadium, Saleh replied to the question whether it was not a clear advantage for New York that the Falcons without their supposedly best wide receiver Calvin Ridley said: “With Matt Ryan they still have one of the best quarterbacks in the league in their ranks, with Cordarrelle Patterson an outstanding running back and with rookie Kyle Pitts an incredible talent.”
In the case of Pitts, the term was even mentioned that, from Saleh’s point of view, he was “a heck of a player”.
Ryan, Patterson and Pitts hit jets
And it was precisely these three Falcons players, this “magic triangle”, that became kryptonite for Saleh and the Jets in England. Because both Ryan, Patterson and Pitts all delivered an outstanding game in Atlanta’s 27:20 victory, none of them could be stopped by the actually so strong Jets Defense.
The Falcons quarterback even managed his 5000th successful pass against New York in the regular season of his long career – making him only the seventh NFL professional to have achieved this feat.
That being said, he threw for 342 yards, brought 33 of his 45 pass attempts to the man and thus enabled two touchdowns. He didn’t even have to put a sack in his pocket. A sparkling clean evening for “Matty Ice”.
“I can’t say enough good things about Matt,” enthused Falcons head coach Arthur Smith after the game in London. “He’s an incredible leader on our team and he’s always leading the way with his experience.” And how did Smith see the performance of Pitts – who scored his first touchdown in the NFL in London – and Patterson? “They both stepped up big time.” Smith’s eyes seem to shine at this sentence.
Pitts convinces Falcons coach Smith
“Kyle had some sensational plays and catches, prevailed in many one-on-one duels and is always developing in the right direction. For me he is definitely on a really good path,” said Smith, the support of His running back Cordarelle Patterson received: “Kyle has everything to become an outstanding player in this league: good hands, high speed and he also has a feeling for the right routes on the pitch.”
And Ryan says of the hopeful rookie: “I went to Kyle right after the game and told him I was very proud of him.”
And the “old driver”: “Kyle can have the great moments he had today against the Jets in the future. He just has to keep working hard on himself – and I see his willingness to do so. But that is not simply because there is a lot of talk around him, which can be quite distracting. But we will support him as a team so that he becomes the player he would like to become. “
“Matty Ice” lobt Running Back Patterson
Pitts himself doesn’t want to hang his performance against New York – 119 receiving yards with a touchdown – too high. “I’m just proud to be part of this team and grateful for having made my first touchdown today,” said the tight end, who let it be known that the ball, with which he scored his touchdown, had gone into the basement his other football collection.
He also said that his entire family – parents and siblings – flew to London especially for the game. “They are my ‘support system’, they give me strength,” said Pitts. A family outing that was definitely worth it.
Last but not least, Patterson got his personal accolade. “We have to see that we give Cordarrelle the ball even more in the future – because he is a real playmaker,” said Ryan. “His advantage is that he can be used variably. Back then he was actually drafted into the NFL as a wide receiver and now he also plays in the running back position with a physique and toughness that it is a pleasure for him to play to watch. “
Dolphins next Falcons opponent
The next game will rise with the Falcons – who are now at 2: 3 – after the upcoming Bye-Week on matchday 7 with the Miami Dolphins. “The week off comes at the right time after the London trip. The win was good for us, now we just have to put the right mindset into the day and take the momentum with us,” said Ryan.
With a Patterson, Pitts and then maybe Ridley back in the roster, these Falcons shouldn’t be afraid of the Dolphins either.
Reports from London: Dominik Hechler
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