FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- When Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley recorded his first career sack at Ford Field during Atlanta's 30-26 win over the Lions, he pointed his finger to the sky as a salute to his late grandmother, Myrtyle Collins.
Collins was the most influential person in McKinley's life. She was the one who raised him after his mother abandoned him when he was 5 years old, and he never met his father.
So for every special moment in McKinley's life, it's dedicated to Collins – as we saw Sunday and on draft night.
"I was excited, I didn't want to do too much celebrating. I didn't want to get a penalty so I kept it real simple," McKinley said of the feeling he got after recording his first career sack. "That was for my grandma. At the draft, I was always preaching [about] getting to the quarterback, this is who I do it for. It took three games, but I finally got one."
McKinley started in place of Vic Beasley who was sidelined with a hamstring injury. The rookie played more than 50 snaps and his presence was certainly noticed. In addition to McKinley's sack, Atlanta's first-round pick had two tackles for loss, one quarterback hit and one pass defensed.
And above all the stats, his physicality was on full display, one of the traits head coach Dan Quinn admires the most about him.
"He was really excited yesterday to get his opportunity to have more extended play time, and you saw the disruptiveness that he can play with and the speed that he can play with," Quinn said of McKinley. "That's what excited us early on about him, and now he's got some on-the-job training that's happening. That happens with rookies as you're learning new things, new topics, and new ways to play. I'm very excited about where he's headed, I really am. The physical styles that he plays with really suits how we want to play."
With Beasley's status undetermined, McKinley could continue to see a significant amount of playing time this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
And if he records a sack on Tyrod Taylor, he's not holding back on his celebration this time.
"If I get my second one the world will see … stay tuned," McKinley said.