If you looked at just the box score, you’d think the Falcons came out of Sunday’s Week 6 contest against the Commanders with a victory. Atlanta dominated Washington in damn near every category, except for one.
The Falcons had 25 first downs compared to the Commanders’ 13. The Falcons were 5-of-15 on third downs compared to the 2-of-10 of the Commanders. Desmond Ridder and the offense outgained their counterparts 402 to 193 while running 29 more plays and averaging more than a yard per play.
Ridder threw for over 300 yards compared to Howell’s 121 yards. The Falcons rushed for 106 yards while only allowing the Commanders to gain 72 yards on the ground. The home team also held the ball for over 36 minutes compared to the Commanders’ less than 23 minutes of possession.
There was one single metric that led to Atlanta’s downfall — Ridder’s three interceptions. The defense did all it could to give the offense an opportunity to tie the game. Turnovers killed the Falcons’ hopes of a comeback. Ridder had a similar reaction as I did to the box score.
"It's tough coming out of a game like that." Desmond Ridder said the most frustrating part of the loss is looking at the stat sheet and seeing how many areas the Falcons led in, and still lost.
Highlights how important it is to take care of the ball. Something he said he has to…
— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) October 18, 2023
The Falcons should’ve won that football game by all accounts. Not only did the defense force punts on Washington’s final four drives, but they also forced three-and-outs on the final two. Ridder had the Falcons within the five-yard line ready to score and attempt a game-tying two-point conversion.
A delay of game penalty and a panicked Desmond Ridder resulted in his second of three interceptions in the endzone. It was a back-breaking mistake that Ridder can never make again. Mistakes are okay for a young quarterback so long as he learns from them. Making the same mistakes is going to prematurely end his career.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire