Falcons rookie Desmond Ridder flashes franchise QB traits

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The Falcons won their first preseason game against the Lions in exhilarating fashion as rookie Desmond Ridder flashed traits of a franchise QB. On fourth down with about 90 seconds left in the game, Ridder escaped a broken down pocket and lobbed it 20 yards to undrafted free agent Jared Bernhardt in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

Marcus Mariota has been named the starter, and the former No. 2 overall pick showed out in his debut with the Falcons. It’s clear the offense will look different with Mariota and Ridder. The mobility of each signal caller was on full display in the team’s preseason opener in Detroit. The veteran scrambled for 23 yards on three carries, including a drive-ending six-yard touchdown run, while completing two passes on as many attempts for 36 yards. Mariota had more control over the offense than Ridder, but the rookie showed precisely why the Falcons drafted him.

Desmond Ridder finished 10-of-22 for 103 yards with two touchdowns while also leading the team on the ground with six carries for 59 yards. And that stat line should’ve been even better because multiple Falcons receivers dropped easy 10+ yard passes. Arthur Smith was thrilled with what Ridder put out there too.

“I was proud of Desmond, he came in there and showed these guys how to handle adversity,” Smith said. “It wasn’t perfect, a lot to learn from, but he kept swinging and had some plays, caught a break there on one with the penalty, and then he had a couple drops. But that’s what I like about him. I like his mindset, and he just found a way to make a play at the end.”

David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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