MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Falcons found themselves in another tight game down the stretch.
They exchanged blows with the Miami Dolphins late in Sunday's game, creating more tension that expected after controlling middle portions of this contest.
The Falcons established a 13-point that decreased to six midway through the third quarter, with a one-score advantage maintained to start the fourth. Then it increased and decreased again in yet another tight game down the stretch.
This game, like the previous three before it, came down to the wire.
That's when Kyle Pitts took over. The rookie tight end made one big play after another in the game-deciding drive that set up Younghoe Koo's game-winning field goal and a 30-28 result.
Here are three gut reactions right after Sunday's win, that pushed the Falcons to .500:
Game turns (back and forth) on massive plays
Ade Ogundeji's blocked field goal. Kyle Pitts' one-handed catches. Jaylinn Hawkins' interception in the end zone. None, however, were bigger that Foye Oluokun's fourth-quarter pick and 56-yard return.
The Falcons were up six points in the fourth quarter and struggling following a Matt Ryan interception in Falcons territory when the fourth-year linebacker came up huge.
He intercepted Tua Tagovailoa, who was pressured by Grady Jarrett, and nearly took it to the house. The Falcons cashed in a few plays later on a Cordarrelle Patterson to take a two-score lead.
The Falcons scored 17 points off big defensive or special teams plays. The Dolphins took advantage of some big moments, too. Ryan lost a fumble later in the fourth quarter that gave the Dolphins a golden opportunity to go ahead. They did so, but Ryan and Pitts came up huge and got the Falcons to .500.
Youth movement paying off
The Falcons have given their young players more responsibility in recent weeks, and they're rewarding such decisions with quality play. That was evident against the Dolphins, when rookies and second-year players made one big play after another.
The Pitts catches are top of mind. How could they not be? The one-handed grabs accounted for huge yardage and showed just how good (maybe great) the No. 4 overall pick can be.
Hawkins started the game's separating sequence with a second-quarter interception in the end zone. Pitts' 39-yard jaw dropper came one play later and sparked a field-goal drive to end the first half.
Pitts helped generate a third quarter touchdown as well. Don't forget rookie Ogundeji's field-goal block that led to a Falcons touchdown. Or Richie Grant playing well in his opportunities as a slot cornerback, though there were some plays he'd like to have back.
Those are positive things in the game and for the team's long-term prospects.
Falcons miss opportunity to win convincingly
The Falcons were in firm control of this game midway through the third quarter, with a chance to go up three scores. The offense went three and out. Then Miami responded with a touchdown drive that made things tense down the stretch.
The Falcons haven't been comfortable late in a game yet this season. They were on the wrong side of lopsided results the first two weeks, and engaged in dramatic affairs the next four. That was the case despite opportunities to close out the Jets and Dolphins far earlier.
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