Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts scored his first NFL touchdown as the Atlanta Falcons secured their second win of the season by beating the New York Jets 27-20 in London.
The NFL returned to the UK’s capital for the first time in two years and Pitts produced a breakout game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where he had nine catches in all for 119 yards.
The Falcons made a fast start despite temporarily losing running back Cordarrelle Patterson for a concussion check early in the first quarter.
Patterson was cleared to return, while South Korean kicker Younghoe Koo landed a 31-yard field goal before Pitts’ touchdown, after he escaped Jets defensive lineman John Franklin-Meyers, put Falcons 10-0 up.
Fellow tight end Hayden Hurst brought in Matt Ryan’s 17-yard touchdown pass – the quarterback’s eighth touchdown pass in two games – to extend the Falcons’ advantage to 17-0 early in the second quarter.
Rookie Jets quarterback Zach Wilson threw an interception to Jaylinn Hawkins but Hurst fumbled the ball back two plays later and Matt Ammendola’s 31-yard field goal finally got the Jets on the board – but Koo extended the Falcons’ lead to 20-3 with a 52-yard field goal with the last play of the first half.
The Falcons’ first-half superiority was reflected in the fact they had made a total of 251 yards compared to the Jets’ 80 but the second half was a different story.
The Jets hit back early in the third quarter with their opening touchdown of the match when Ty Johnson rushed in from a yard out, though Ammendola’s attempt at the extra point struck an upright to leave the score at 20-9.
Johnson’s first touchdown of the season had been set up by fellow running back Tevin Coleman, who returned a kick from his own six-yard line deep into the Falcons’ half.
The Jets hauled themselves right back in it with just under seven minutes to play when running back Mike Carter’s two-yard rush secured them their second touchdown.
The two-point conversion attempt was successful via Wilson’s pass to Jamison Crowder and with the Jets now trailing 20-17, the momentum appeared to have shifted.
But the Falcons hit straight back and running back Mike Davis was shoved over for a three-yard touchdown, with Koo’s extra point making it 27-17 with just over two minutes left to play.
Ammendola made a 49-yard field goal in the closing moments but the Falcons triumphed 27-20.