Falcons fans have to be feeling better after TNF

NFL: SEP 18 Saints at Panthers

The Falcons are 3-3 with the division still up for grabs, but coming off a game in which they should’ve won, fans probably aren’t as high on the team as they were after the Week 5 win over the Texans.

Atlanta dominated Washington in most facets of the game. They were the more effective offense in every significant metric, including third-down conversions. Ultimately, Desmond Ridder‘s inexperience showed through, tossing three interceptions in the second half. The backbreaker came after a lengthy, well-rounded drive that ended with a turnover in the endzone.

The defense did all they could. Sam Howell and the Commanders offense punted on their final four drives, going three-and-out on the last two. It’s impossible for some fans to compartmentalize Ridder’s performance because of the indefensible interceptions, but he had a decent day outside of a few costly decisions.

It feels like the sky is falling in Atlanta; it’s just not the case, though. The Falcons will sit atop the division if they beat the Buccaneers on Sunday and will be in the driving seat for the NFC South. It’s hard to put a ton of faith in Desmond Ridder, but Thursday Night Football should make fans feel better.

The Saints lost to the Jaguars on national television, and they’re having similar problems as the Falcons. New Orleans has one of the best defenses in football, but Derek Carr and Pete Carmichael cannot get the offense off the ground consistently.

The veteran only put up six first-half points and was mostly ineffective, especially on third downs. The Saints did make a late-game surge, somehow stringing together a 16-play touchdown drive to make it a one-score game in the fourth quarter, then tying shortly after.

Eventually, New Orleans’ defense faltered and the Jaguars took the lead. Carr couldn’t recapture the magic of the previous drive, finishing with a misfire, a pressure, a drop, and another incompletion ending the Saints hope.

The Saints needed to convert on four fourth downs which is certainly not sustainable, and an ungodly amount of garbage time and prevent defense to make it a game. The Saints have serious question marks about that side of the ball and their sizeable investment in Derek Carr.

Carr and Carmichael haven’t been on the same page; Carr and the receivers haven’t been on the same page, and there have been visible frustrations. The veteran quarterback has had public spats with his offensive coordinator and star receiver.

The Falcons might not have a world-beater in Desmond Ridder, and the Saints could very well win the NFC South. Atlanta is getting similar production from Ridder as Carr but at a fraction of the price. New Orleans had a mess of a salary cap sheet prior to giving Carr $150 million. They’ve got the books of a team that is going “all-in” but is looking like they might not even be a playoff team.

TNF should have made Falcons fans feel a bit better about themselves after an embarrassing loss to the Commanders.

Photographer: David Jensen/Icon Sportswire
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