Instant analysis: Josh Rosen, Kyle Pitts shine in Falcons’ preseason finale

The Atlanta Falcons may have lost their preseason finale to the Cleveland Browns, but the game still feels like a success due to the stellar debuts of rookie Kyle Pitts and quarterback Josh Rosen.

Let’s see how all three phases of the team performed against the Browns on Sunday night.

Offense

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Arthur Smith played more starters than in the two previous weeks but the Falcons sat quarterback Matt Ryan, Jake Matthews and Calvin Ridley. Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts would play, though, and caught a screen pass from Feleipe Franks and took it for 27 yards rather easily. Quarterback Josh Rosen made his debut in the second half and it was easily the most impressive any Falcons quarterback has played this offseason. He showed nice velocity, accuracy and a quick release. For the game, Rosen completed nine of 18 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown and 13 rushing yards. The numbers don't look amazing, but there were two bad drops and Rosen threw some low-percentage passes on the game's final plays. Even with just one game of work under his belt, it's clear Rosen is the Falcons' best option to back up Matt Ryan this season. Qadree Ollison rushed for 21 yards on five carries, D'Onta Foreman had 25 yards on four carries and rookie Caleb Huntley went for 16 yards on four carries.

Defense

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The defense bent but didn't break for much of the night and despite missing bad on a few blitzes, this group showed some resilience in winning on key third and fourth downs. There were some pretty bad miscues as well, with Browns tight end Austin Hooper making two Falcons defenders run into each other while gaining 35 yards. We saw the potential of how the defense can play off of one another, particularly on Dwayne Johnson Jr.'s interception after the front seven forced a bad throw from Browns QB Kyle Lauletta. Linebacker Mykal Walker had a nice game, breaking up a pass on fourth down and leading the team with seven combined tackles and two passes defended. Safety Jaylinn Hawkins continues to make his case for playing time.

Special Teams

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo converted his lone field goal attempt from 41 yards and added an extra point. Punter Cameron Nizialek had one punt for 57 yards, while Dom Maggio didn't fare as well, averaging 43 yards on his two attempts. Rookie safety Richie Grant made a nice special teams tackle and fifth-round pick Avery Williams again showed some juice in the return game. Williams finished with 54 yards on two kick return attempts (27 yards per return). Chris Rowland had one return for 24 yards.

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