The Falcons could be without their superstar rookie tight end as they host their most hated division rivals in the season finale. Atlanta will have the chance to play spoiler as New Orleans scratches and claws for one of the last playoff spots in the NFC, and having Pitts would make that much easier.
Against the Bills last Sunday, Pitts made waves as he eclipsed 1,000 yards — the first rookie to do so in 60 years. He did it on a 61-yard catch and run that included a vicious stiff arm, but Pitts also became the franchise’s all-time leading rookie receiver, passing Julio Jones. Unfortunately, Pitts injured his hamstring right before halftime and didn’t do much for the rest of the game.
On Thursday, Pitts returned to practice in a limited capacity and told the media that he believes he’ll be able to strap it up Sunday, noting that playing the Saints certainly motivates him.
Falcons TE Kyle Pitts (hamstring) said he believes he’ll play Sunday. Needs 50 yards to set the NFL’s record for rookie tight end receiving yard.
“My biggest priority now is to beat the Saints because it’s the last game and they’re a divisional opponent and it’s the Saints.”
— Josh Kendall (@JoshTheAthletic) January 6, 2022
If he plays, Pitts has a chance to make history on Sunday. Not only has he passed Tony Gonzalez for the most single-season receiving yards in team history from a tight end, but he also has a chance to set the NFL’s record for rookie tight end receiving yards on top of being the first rookie tight end to be voted into the Pro Bowl since Jeremy Shockey in 2002.
“He’s been exactly who we thought he was,” Arthur Smith said via Michael Rothstein of ESPN. “He’s impacted games immensely. Even [when] the ball hasn’t found his way. He’s not even scratching the surface.”
Mike Ditka tallied 1,076 yards in 1961, 50 yards more than Pitts currently has. We could see history unfold in the Mercedes Benz Stadium this Sunday.