Coming into Week 5, the talk around Atlanta was whether the Falcons should make a change at quarterback after Desmond Ridder put up the two worst performances of his career against the Lions and Jaguars.
It was fair too. Ridder held the team back in both contests, but the noise grew louder in London when it was clear that the signal caller was the biggest factor in the offense’s shortcomings.
Hell, even Atlanta’s opponents were mocking Ridder and the Falcons offense. Before Sunday’s game, Jimmie Ward essentially mocked the third-round pick and Arthur Smith’s offense for its inability to get its top playmakers — Drake London and Kyle Pitts — the ball.
Jimmie Ward on what he sees from the Falcons offense:
"They got wide receivers… if they use them. I don't think they're trying to pass the ball."
The Texans safety also had high praise for Bijan Robinson. pic.twitter.com/w5yJREEiF6
— Chancellor Johnson (@ChancellorTV) October 5, 2023
Well, the Falcons and Ridder turned that narrative around completely on Sunday.
It was Ridder’s best game of his young career, completing 28-of-37 passes for 329 yards through the air to go along with a rushing and passing touchdown. Those numbers probably should’ve been even better too. Jonnu Smith and Bijan Robinson lost fumbles that killed promising drives.
Even more ironic, Ridder’s rushing touchdown, the first of the game, came against Jimmie Ward as the Texans defensive back took a ride on Ridder into the endzone.
Moreover, it was Kyle Pitts’ best game of the season and maybe the best since his rookie campaign. He hauled in seven passes on 11 targets for 87 yards, and Drake London added 78 yards on six receptions.
We’ve been waiting for this Falcons offense to use their top 10 picks like top 10 picks, and we finally got our first taste. Maybe we should have opponents mock Desmond Ridder and the Falcons before every game because it seemingly woke up a sleeping giant.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire