Desmond Ridder‘s 2023 campaign has been a rollercoaster, but Falcons fans better not hold their breath for a change at quarterback.
He put together the two worst outings of his career against the Lions and Jaguars as Atlanta’s offense struggled to get anything going in either contest. Ridder followed it up with easily the best performance of his young career against the Texans, setting career highs across the board, capping the performance with a drive that set up a go-ahead field goal.
Then, on Sunday against the Commanders, it was a bag of mixed results. The Falcons offense was clicking on all cylinders in the first drive as Ridder completed 5-of-6 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown to Kyle Pitts in what was by far the most impressive opening drive of the season.
However, the offense would falter the rest of the half; two punts, a turnover on downs, and a field goal had the Falcons down by a touchdown going into the locker rooms. The second half is where things got dicey.
To open the third quarter, Desmond Ridder threw the first of his three interceptions. After another punt, the Falcons drove the length of the field and scored a touchdown to bring it within one score. Ridder went 4-of-6 for 39 yards and a touchdown. Atlanta’s offense was balanced in its attack on the ground and through the air.
Unfortunately, the Falcons final three drives resulted in a punt and a pair of interceptions. Despite Ridder’s entire body of work being less than stellar this season, the offense had moved the ball on the Commanders’ defense all afternoon, so it never felt like the game was out of reach, especially with the defense forcing Sam Howell and Washington’s offense to punt on their final four possessions, including a pair of three-and-outs on the last two.
The comeback didn’t materialize because of poor execution, inexcusable decision making and operational dysfunction. However, the Falcons won’t be entertaining a quarterback change.
Arthur Blank’s comments indicate that the club is still behind Desmond Ridder. The Falcons dominated the Commanders, except in one costly area — turnovers. Moreover, Arthur Smith still praised Ridder, despite the three interceptions. Every facet of the organization, internally, is behind Ridder.
Fans might want Taylor Heinicke to get some burn, but the Falcons are going to see it through with Ridder.
Photographer: John Adams/Icon Sportswire