Falcons Dolphins Football

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts made seven catches for 163 yards in Sunday's win over Miami. [WILFREDO LEE/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons find themselves in an unusual place — .500.

For the first time since Week 2 of the 2019 season, the Falcons have won as many games as they've lost.

A last-second, 30-28 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday was Atlanta's second straight win and pushed the team's record to 3-3.

“It’s big,” said rookie coach Arthur Smith, who then sounded very much like the son of FedEx founder Fred Smith. “You've got to ... use that business analogy. We felt our foundation was strong. We knew there was things we have to clean up. You can’t lose perspective. We haven’t turned the profit yet.”

The Falcons can reach some really rarified territory — turn a profit, if you will — when they host the struggling Carolina Panthers (3-4) next Sunday.

Atlanta hasn't had a winning record since the end of a 10-6 season in 2017, which also was the most recent time the Falcons made the playoffs.

That's the next step, Smith said, again sounding very much like his father.

“Right now, go on our earnings report,” the coach said. “We need to turn the profit — hopefully next week. That’s the name of the game.”

Matt Ryan and the passing game have posted consecutive 300-yard games for the first time since Weeks 6 and 7 of the 2020 season.

Ryan carved up the Dolphins by completing 25 of 40 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns. While his performance was marred a bit by a couple of turnovers, Ryan has clearly gotten on a roll after a sluggish start to the season.

Younghoe Koo booted three more field goals, including the game-winner from 36 yards. He's become about as automatic as a kicker can be, going 10-for-10 on field goals and 13-of-13 on extra points this season. Since arriving in Atlanta midway through the 2019 season, Koo has made 70 of 75 field goals — an astonishing 93.3%.

Atlanta's defense struggled to contain a Miami team that was averaging just 290 yards per game.

The Dolphins put up 413 yards on Atlanta, including a season-high 27 first downs and a 63.6% (7-of-11) success rate on third downs.

Miami was able to move the ball effectively through the air (Tua Tagovailoa was 32-of-40 for 291 yards and a career-best four TDs) and on the ground (29 carries for 132 yards, a 4.6-yard average).

The Falcons were able to limit the damage with two big interceptions, one in the end zone near the end of the first half, the other on the very next play after Ryan was picked off in Atlanta territory.

Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts has become Ryan's most inviting playmaker, exactly what the Falcons had in mind when they drafted Pitts at No. 4. Pitts is a big, speedy receiver who creates all sorts of matchup problems for opposing defenses. Over the past two games, Pitts has 16 catches for 282 yards and a touchdown.

The Dolphins had no answer for him, allowing seven catches for 163 yards — a staggering 23.3 yards per reception. Most notably, Pitts hauled in consecutive catches of 23 and 24 yards on the final drive to push the Falcons into range for the game-winning field goal.

Running back Mike Davis has disappointed. He was signed in free agency to be the team's top back, but Cordarrelle Patterson has seized the lead role.

Davis had only four carries for 10 yards — and no catches at all — against the Dolphins. He seems to have become a back the Falcons use mainly in short-yardage situations. Patterson, on the other hand, got the start and ran 14 times for 60 yards.

Get Unlimited Access
$3 for 3 Months
Subscribe Now

After the initial selected subscription period your subscription rate will auto renew at $8.00 per month.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.