Kyle Pitts already broke one Atlanta Falcons record. The rookie tight end is closing in on a few more milestones.
After breaking Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez's mark for most yards by a tight end in franchise history, Pitts needs just 11 yards to pass Julio Jones (2011) for most receiving yards by a rookie in Falcons' history.
Then Pitts would have his sights on even bigger marks. He could join Mike Ditka (1961) as the only rookie TEs with 1,000-plus receiving yards in NFL history. Pitts needs 128 receiving yards over the final two weeks to break Ditka's rookie TE record of 1,076 (14 games).
"I would have never thought of 1,000 yards. That's a lot of yards," Pitts said, via The Athletic. "Always striving to be the best, but I would have thought 1,000 would be a little tough."
Pitts chasing a record has flown under the radar. Matt Ryan, who has pursued records with Gonzalez and Jones in the past, said the rookie's quiet approach is similar to those stars.
"He hasn't said anything, man. He's just out there just playing," Ryan said. "He falls into that category of some of those really good players that I've played with that are great teammates, and they put in work. You answer questions about it so you kind of understand where things are going, and you always want to get it for them personally, but I've been really fortunate to be around guys that it didn't come up."
At a position notoriously challenging to master coming out of college, Pitts has shined as a pass-catching threat. He's generated three 100-plus yard games this season, including 102 yards in the Week 16 win over Detroit that kept the Falcons' faint playoff hopes alive.
Predictably, Pitts' blocking has been a work in progress over the season, but he's a polished route-runner who can win down the seams or up the sideline. His ability after the catch makes him a burgeoning weapon for ATL.
Pitts' modesty when it comes to his nascent success -- which includes making a Pro Bowl as a rookie -- is matched only by his raw talent.
"I know it's an easy thing to say, 'You're a professional and get paid,' but some people can't handle the hype that comes with it," head coach Arthur Smith said. "A lot of guys in sports with that kind of hype don't handle it well. Kyle certainly has. That's not lost on us here."
Sunday could be another franchise record-setting day for Pitts, but it won't be easy against a Buffalo Bills defense that has allowed the fifth-fewest yards to tight ends this season.