Oct 30, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (8) runs after a catch against the Carolina Panthers during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Falcons fear MCL sprain for TE Kyle Pitts

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts will have an MRI Monday to confirm the initial diagnosis of an MCL sprain, NFL Network reported.

Pitts took a hit to his right knee early in the third quarter of Sunday’s 27-24 victory against the visiting Chicago Bears. He had three catches for 43 yards before exiting.

Pitts, 22, has 28 receptions for 356 yards and two touchdowns through 10 starts this season.

He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie first-round pick in 2021, catching 68 passes for 1,026 yards and a touchdown in 17 games (15 starts). He joined Mike Ditka as the only rookie tight ends in NFL history to reach 1,000 yards.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (7) runs with the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs hold off Falcons late rally to snap losing streak

Leonard Fournette reeled in a touchdown pass from Tom Brady and rushed for another 1-yard score to fuel the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 21-15 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Fournette had 10 catches for 83 yards for the Buccaneers (3-2), who held a decisive 421-261 edge in total yards en route to snapping their two-game losing skid.

Brady completed 35 of 52 passes for 351 to improve to 10-0 all-time in the regular season against Atlanta. He also famously rallied the New England Patriots from 25 points down to a 34-28 overtime victory over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

Atlanta’s Marcus Mariota completed 14 of 25 passes for 147 yards. He connected with Olamide Zaccheaus over the middle for a 19-yard touchdown pass and found KhaDarel Hodge for the subsequent two-point conversion, trimming the Buccaneers’ lead to 21-15 with 4:38 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons committed penalties on successive third-down plays to extend Tampa Bay’s ensuing drive. A.J. Terrell was whistled for holding while Grady Jarrett was flagged for roughing the passer while completing a sack on Brady.

Avery Williams rushed for an 8-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter for the Falcons (2-3), who saw their two-game winning streak come to a halt.

Fournette opened the scoring early in the second quarter after rushing in for a 1-yard touchdown. The surge capped a 13-play, 88-yard drive.

Ryan Succop drilled a 21-yard field goal to increase Tampa Bay’s lead to 10-0 with 1:18 left.

Atlanta’s attempt to answer was unsuccessful after Younghoe Koo’s bid for a 52-yard field goal sailed wide right.

Brady connected with Fournette on a pair of passes to set up Succop, who made a 44-yard field goal as time expired.

Fournette reeled in a 1-yard touchdown pass from Brady to cap an 11-play, 74-yard drive midway into the third quarter. Brady then found former Falcons wideout Russell Gage over the middle for the two-point conversion, increasing Tampa Bay’s lead to 21-0.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) is pressured by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Rashad Fenton (27) in the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers face Falcons, out to end two-game skid

Early NFC South supremacy is at stake on Sunday afternoon when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Atlanta Falcons.

It is far from the expected duel atop the division, even from just a few weeks ago. Then again, perhaps a bigger surprise is the reality that the Buccaneers (2-2) have lost two in a row and at home, no less.

“Yeah, you never want to lose back-to-back games,” Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin said. “Like I said, it’s a long year and we have a lot of prepared guys on our team, so I’m confident in our ability to kind of come together as a team and put it together.”

Few players in the NFL are as prepared as Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who missed practice on Wednesday. The 45-year-old played through a right shoulder and finger injury during Tampa Bay’s 41-31 setback to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

Brady downplayed the injuries Wednesday by providing a medical update during his weekly SiriusXM podcast with Jim Gray.

“My shoulder’s doing OK,” Brady said. “You know, just some bumps and bruises and I kind of took a hit there on it. Got some treatment today. Got a little bit last night. So I’m sure I’ll be fine in the end.”

Brady threw for just one touchdown in each of the Buccaneers’ first three games before finding the end zone three times to go along with 385 yards passing against the Chiefs. The three-time NFL MVP flustered the Falcons in two games last season to the tune of 644 yards passing and nine touchdowns.

The Bucs’ Mike Evans reeled in eight receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns versus Kansas City last week. He also found the end zone on two occasions in Tampa Bay’s 48-25 victory over Atlanta on Sept. 19, 2021.

Julio Jones is in line to play in his first career game against Atlanta. He is the Falcons’ franchise leader in catches (848) and receiving yards (12,896), while also ranking second in club history with 60 receiving touchdowns.

Jones (knee) joined Godwin (knee), former Falcon Russell Gage (hamstring) and Breshad Perriman (knee/hamstring) in being limited in Wednesday’s practice, while fellow wideout Cole Beasley announced his retirement earlier in the day after playing just two games with the team.

Left tackle Donovan Smith (elbow) also was limited in Wednesday’s practice, while tight end Cameron Brate (concussion), safety Logan Ryan (foot) and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (foot) did not participate.

Atlanta (2-2) will be hard-pressed to snap a four-game losing skid in the series after placing versatile running back Cordarrelle Patterson on injured reserve. Patterson was nursing an ailing knee while rushing for 38 yards in the Falcons’ 23-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Rookie running back Tyler Allgeier stepped up and accumulated 104 scrimmage yards (84 rushing, 20 receiving) against the Browns. Caleb Huntley added 56 yards and a touchdown on the ground for Atlanta, which ranks fourth in the NFL with 168.0 rushing yards per game after finishing 31st with an 85.4 average in 2021.

“There are a lot of things we’ve changed behind the scenes offensively,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said, when asked what changed from last year’s team.

“We have different personnel, guys who needed to develop and we’re very pleased with the guys who were here last year.”

Tight end Kyle Pitts (hamstring) and punter Bradley Pinion (personal) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice for Atlanta.

Feleipe Franks worked with the first-team offense in place of Pitts, who caught one of four targets for 25 yards Sunday. He has 10 receptions for 150 yards and no touchdowns this season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 8, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws the ball in the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rams, Falcons search for answers to avoid 0-2 start

Teams that are coming off losses in different fashions meet on Sunday when the Los Angeles Rams host the Atlanta Falcons at Inglewood, Calif.

The Rams were outscored by 21 in the second half and were dominated by the visiting Buffalo Bills 31-10 in the NFL opener last week. The Falcons squandered a 16-point lead with less than 13 minutes remaining Sunday and fell to the visiting New Orleans Saints, 27-26, on a 51-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining.

Rams coach Sean McVay and Falcons coach Arthur Smith offered different perspectives on their season-opening losses.

“It can be a blessing in disguise when it’s handled the right way,” McVay said. “Adversity is inevitable at some point in the season especially when you play 17 games. For us, it happened in Week 1.”

Smith told reporters: “You’ll continue to write our obituary. Who cares? We have 16 games. You buried us in May. Bury us again. We don’t care. We’ll get back to work.”

The Rams and Falcons have key areas to address in order to prevent an 0-2 start.

The Rams allowed the Bills to average a whopping 7.1 yards per play en route to yielding 413 yards to Buffalo’s high-powered offense. The Rams rushed for 52 yards and quarterback Matt Stafford threw three interceptions on 29-of-41 passing for 240 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked seven times.

The score would have been more lopsided had it not been for Cooper Kupp, who tied a career-high with 13 receptions for 128 yards and scored the Rams’ lone touchdown.

“I’m excited about the opportunity for this team to respond right away,” McVay said. “That was definitely a humbling night, a humbling experience for us. … You know that humility is only a day away in this league.”

Atlanta had a win in its grasp. leading 23-10 and had a third-and-5 from New Orleans’ 14-yard line with about three minutes left in the third quarter. Quarterback Marcus Mariota scrambled and picked up the first down before he was hit by safety Marcus Maye, who jarred the ball loose at the 5-yard line. Tyrann Mathieu recovered for New Orleans.

With the Falcons leading 26-24 with 1:40 left in the game and facing a third-and-1 from the Saints’ 42-yard line, Mariota fumbled the snap and was swarmed. If Mariota would have picked up the first down, the Falcons could’ve taken a knee since the Saints exhausted all timeouts.

Five plays and 47 yards later, Will Lutz hit a 51-yard field goal with 19 seconds left that ultimately lifted the Saints to a 27-26 win. The Falcons had one last-gasp chance at victory but Younghoe Koo’s 63-yard field goal was blocked by Payton Turner as time expired.

Since 2020, Atlanta has lost three times in eight games in which it led by more than 15 points in the fourth quarter. The rest of the league is a combined 245-2-1 in the same situation, according to si.com.

Mariota went 20-of-33 passing for 215 yards in his Falcons debut, while Cordarrelle Patterson rushed for a career-high 120 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. He also had three catches for 16 yards.

Rookie first-round draft pick Drake London caught a team-high five passes – on seven targets – for 74 yards.

“We can’t let this one game define us,” Patterson said. “We didn’t get the ‘W’ that we wanted, but we have to keep working hard.”

Rams center Bryan Allen came away with a knee injury against Buffalo and is expected to miss two-to-four weeks. He will be replaced by right guard Coleman Shelton, with Tremayne Anchrum taking Shelton’s spot.

Rams receiver Van Jefferson, who missed Week 1 recovering from offseason procedures to his left knee, is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

–Field Level Media

Aug 29, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Alfredo Gutierrez (77) celebrates next to defensive lineman Darrion Daniels (65) after making a tackle against the Las Vegas Raiders in the third quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons sign DT Darrion Daniels to 1-year deal

The Atlanta Falcons signed defensive tackle Darrion Daniels to a one-year deal Wednesday.

Undrafted out of Nebraska, he had four tackles in four games with San Francisco in 2020.

Daniels, 24, spent the 2021 season on the 49ers’ practice squad before landing on injured reserve with a leg injury.

The 6-foot-3, 311-pound Daniels joins a position group that includes Grady Jarrett, Marlon Davidson, Ta’Quon Graham, Vincent Taylor and Anthony Rush.

–Field Level Media

Jun 9, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (4) gets a drink during OTA at Falcons Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons QB Desmond Ridder agrees to 4-year rookie deal

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder agreed to his four-year rookie deal, multiple outlets reported on Tuesday.

The third-round draft pick’s contract is worth a reported $5.362 million and includes a $1.08 million signing bonus.

Ridder, 22, reached an agreement in time to report with the other Atlanta rookies for training camp on Tuesday.

Ridder guided Cincinnati to a 13-1 record in 2021, passing for 3,334 yards, 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

With longtime starter Matt Ryan now in Indianapolis, Ridder enters camp at No. 2 on the Falcons’ QB depth chart behind veteran Marcus Mariota.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers receiver Geronimo Allison celebrates after catching a touchdown during the fourth quarter vs. the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. Green Bay won, 31-24.

Lions 010117 Es21

Falcons sign former Packers WR Geronimo Allison

The Atlanta Falcons announced the signing Monday of former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison.

The Falcons did not disclose terms of the deal as they continue to overhaul the receiver position.

Atlanta acquired wideout Bryan Edwards in a trade last week with the Las Vegas Raiders and drafted Drake London of Southern California with the No. 8 overall pick last month.

The Falcons are playing the 2022 season without receiver Calvin Ridley, who is serving a suspension for betting on NFL games.

Allison, 28, played in three games last season with the Detroit Lions and did not record a catch on two targets. He caught 89 passes for 1,045 yards and six touchdowns in 46 games (14 starts) with Green Bay from 2016-19.

The Falcons are also breaking in a new quarterback with Marcus Mariota expected to take over for Matt Ryan, who was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in March.

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Detailed view of a Philadelphia Eagles helmet against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former Eagles, Falcons DL Ed Jasper dies at 49

Defensive lineman Ed Jasper, who played nine seasons in the NFL with three different teams, died Friday at 49, the Tyler (Texas) Morning Telegraph reported.

No cause of death was reported.

Jasper played four seasons at Texas A&M and was a member of the 1993 team that was ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation. He was in the Aggies program when it transitioned from the Southwest Conference to the Big 12 in 1996.

Drafted by the Eagles in the sixth round in 1997, Jasper played 17 games over his first two seasons with Philadelphia. He followed with six seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, including starts in all 16 games in 2002. He finished his NFL career in 2005 with the then-Oakland Raiders.

In 118 career NFL games (60 starts), Jasper recorded 250 tackles and had 17 sacks. He also forced four fumbles and had four fumble recoveries.

–Field Level Media