Atlanta was down a daunting 28-3 before Marcus Mariota connected with London for a 4-yard touchdown.
London, a California native, finished the day with eight receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown.
While London brought some life into the game, the Falcons went on to lose 31-27. And for the second week in a row, the Falcons blew a potential fourth-quarter comeback victory in a heartbreaking way.
Falcons Explain Why They Drafted London
The Falcons had several holes to fill when they entered the 2022 NFL Draft and there were endless ways that the Falcons could have gone with their first pick and they chose a wide receiver out of USC.
A few days following the draft, Falcons’ director of college scouting Anthony Robinson explained why the Falcons took London at No. 8 overall.
“He checked all the boxes that we look for,” Robinson said, via the Falcons’ team website. There was nothing that was left on the table with him. He has everything you want in a receiver. Now, in terms of everything else, he has to put in the work, understand the scheme, pick up the offense, and you know, what we want him to do within the scheme. But I think this dude can be as good as he wants to be.”
In 27 games for the Trojans, London recorded 160 receptions for 2,153 yards and 15 touchdowns. He missed a portion of his final year but still managed 88 receptions for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games.
London missed most of the Falcons preseason with a knee injury but looks to be back to feeling 100% healthy again. Now with two NFL games under his belt thus far, London has logged 13 receptions for 160 yards and a score.
Smith Addresses Kyle Pitts’ Lack of Targets
Meanwhile, Falcons’ 2021 first-round pick and “No. 1 receiver,” Kyle Pitts, was targeted just four times, catching two passes for 19 yards compared to London who was targeted 12 times.
“It’s not fantasy football,” Smith said. “We’re just trying to win. If they sit there and pack the middle….they gave us some access over there and [London is] a big physical player.”
Pitts was also held to under 20 yards in Week 1 against the Saints.
With Pitts being utilized as more of a decoy, he currently sits last on the Falcons’ list for receiving yards with Olamide Zaccheaus and KhaDarel Hodge ahead of him. . .
#Falcons leading receivers in a game they haven’t led yet:
–Drake London: 6 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD, 10 targets
–KhaDarel Hodge: 2 catches, 57 yards, 3 targets
–Olamide Zaccheaus: 2 catches, 21 yards, 1 TD
–Kyle Pitts: 2 catches for 19 yards, 3 targets
— Kelly Price (@thekellyprice) September 18, 2022
No to mention that he still has yet to score a touchdown on American soil.
Now sitting at 0-2 on the season so far, Atlanta’s schedule doesn’t get much easier from here. They’ll face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3 followed by the Cleveland Browns and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.