Despite near-perfect 4th quarter, Desmond Ridder has stuff to clean up

NFL: SEP 17 Packers at Falcons

The Falcons haven’t had many Sundays like they had against the Packers. Desmond Ridder led an improbable comeback win with just 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, down by 12 points.

Typically, given recent history, Atlanta would’ve been the one up double digits then surrendered the last-minute lead to Green Bay. However, this might not be your father’s Falcons anymore.

Not that Matt Ryan wasn’t capable of leading a comeback; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. More often than not, it was the defense that faltered. This Atlanta defense is different. For two weeks in a row, they’ve pitched shutouts in the final quarter, enabling Ridder to lead the offense down the field for three scoring drives.

Ridder completed 19-of-32 passes for 237 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while adding another 39 yards and a score on the ground. When everything was on the line in the fourth quarter, Ridder was nearly perfect, completing 6-0f-8 fourth-quarter passes, including a 45-yard flea flicker to Mack Hollins and a massive third down slant to Bijan Robinson.

With that being said, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Falcons’ offense and Ridder, who threw the first interception of his career and narrowly escaped a pick-six dropped by Jaire Alexander, along with another one dropped by Quay Walker. It was ugly and looked a lot like the guy from Week 1 that struggled.

There was a lot to like from Week 2, but there’s no denying that Ridder needs to clean things up. This next stat from my friend Tre’Shon Diaz, who is a great person to follow on Twitter, paints Ridder in a concerning light.

Through two weeks, Ridder leads the league in PFF’s ‘turnover worthy’ plays with five and turnover worth play rate at 7.6%, which isn’t great considering he ranks 28th in total dropbacks and 19th in total pressures faced.

Granted, his shortcomings can also be attributed to the lack of protection from the offensive line and pedestrian, at times, passing concepts from Arthur Smith. Desmond Ridder has shown poise, growth, and moxie in his six starts, but it’s clear there are things that need to be refined. His anticipation, decision-making, and accuracy are the things that I notice most

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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