The Falcons returned from the bye week to play the rival Saints in New Orleans. But it was no ordinary tilt; Atlanta turned to rookie third-round pick Desmond Ridder in his NFL debut. The Superdome is an intimidating place to play, regardless of how poor the Aints are doing. Ridder’s performance was forgettable; he struggled early but did seemingly settle as the game progressed. It was pretty much exactly what one would expect from a Day 2 pick starting his first game. Even despite the team’s overall poor performance, the Falcons had a chance to tie or even win the game late in the fourth quarter. A fourth-down completion to Drake London extended the drive, but the hard-running London had the ball poked out, effectively ending the game. And the loss has the Falcons skidding down NFL Power Rankings.
25. Falcons (22 last week): “The Falcons declined the fifth-year option on their former first-round pick back in May — and McGary responded with his best and healthiest season of his career. Always considered a strong run-blocker, McGary has shown marked improvement as a pass-blocker in Falcons coach Arthur Smith’s scheme with a career-high pass block win rate against single defenders (78.6%) and double teams (91.1%). McGary has played well enough to believe there could be reason for a continued relationship beyond this season if both player and franchise can find reasonable financial terms. Huge, huge win for McGary.” — Michael Rothstein
26. Falcons (25 last week): “Well, Desmond Ridder didn’t answer any questions at quarterback. He didn’t break 100 yards passing. There’s still a few games for Ridder to show he can be the quarterback of the future but his first start wasn’t the best.”
26. Falcons (25 last week): “So maybe that’s why Arthur Smith was so hesitant to turn to Desmond Ridder? The rookie quarterback looked quite green in a 21-18 loss to the Saints, tentative in the pocket on a 97-yard passing day. Ridder should improve as he adjusts to the pro game, but it will be a bumpy ride that likely takes Atlanta out of contention in the absurd NFC South. The biggest bright spot on offense on Sunday? Running back Tyler Allgeier, who rushed for a career-high 139 yards and a touchdown on a gorgeous 8.2 yards per attempt. Cordarrelle Patterson continues to produce, but Allgeier now looks like the potential future of Atlanta’s backfield.”
26. Falcons (22 last week): “Falcons have really struggled in one-score games. Gotta get better in the fourth.”