Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts lost on a dirty, unnecessary hit by Bears safety

As you have probably heard by now, the Atlanta Falcons’ star tight end, Kyle Pitts, may be out for the rest of the year due to a torn MCL in his knee.

The torn ligament came on a play where he caught a pass over the middle and as he turned to run after the catch, the Chicago Bears safety submarined right into his knees. It was a dirty and completely unnecessary play that should have never happened.

Atlanta Falcons lose Kyle Pitts on an unnecessary and dirty hit to the knees

What is one of the first things they teach you in football? Heads up football, attack the ball, and wrap to make a tackle, but apparently, the Atlanta Falcons’ opposition, the Chicago Bears, don’t teach it like that because one of their best defenders did everything you shouldn’t when making a tackle.

Eddie Jackson, a two-time Pro Bowl safety for the Bears, was in a position to make a tackle on Kyle Pitts who was defenseless following his catch, and instead of making a clean tackle, he decided to go low on the tight end and clip him in the knees.

First off, let’s start by saying, Eddie Jackson is not Vontez Burfict. He is not a dirty player, he just made a dirty tackle that cost the Falcons in a big way.

On this play, there was zero reason for him to launch himself right into the knees of the six-foot-six tight end. Some people argue that that is how you take down big players, but it isn’t. Nowhere in the history of the NFL do they tell you to hit the kneecaps with your helmet after launching yourself. They may tell you to go below the waist on bigger players, but that means the thigh area, not the knees.

That is also the direct definition of targeting, he launched himself with the crown of the helmet to make contact, so he should have been penalized 15 yards for it.  It is also a clear player health violation that risks both parties. Jackson is risking his head and neck while also risking Pitts’ knees, and unfortunately, the innocent one gets the punishment with a season-ending injury.

The other part of this is that it makes no sense to go low on Pitts. Pitts was just getting his head around, if you want to make your presence known then put your shoulder to his upper body and lay the boom. Getting hit in the knees does not make the ball carrier feel your presence. And if he wanted to put his head somewhere, why not put it on the ball? The Falcons had issues with fumbling in the game, so why wasn’t he attacking the ball to force a fumble?

There is not a single ounce of logic in this play and it was downright dirty. No player should be literally ‘targeting’ the knees. The crown of the helmet is not used for tackling, your shoulder pads are, and the knees are not meant to be used to take down someone, your upper body is. Eddie Jackson just cost the Falcons their best player thanks to an unnecessary hit that should result in a fine later in the week.

To his credit, he seemed concerned after, and it doesn’t seem like he was trying to intentionally hurt anyone (unlike the Saints) but that doesn’t eliminate the right for us to call it a dirty hit, because it simply was.