The Falcons sit at 3-3 heading into an important Week 7 tilt against the Buccaneers in what will have considerable impacts on their postseason aspirations.
As they lick their wounds from a loss the Commanders that they very well should’ve won, Arthur Smith’s squad is looking to correct mistakes that have plagued them through six games.
Turnovers have proved to be the most costly. Desmond Ridder’s three interceptions on Sunday were insurmountable for Atlanta’s offense to overcome, despite the defense doing its best to give Ridder every opportunity to tie the game.
So, what lessons have the Falcons learned?
ESPN does a theme every week to go with their power rankings. As Atlanta fell from the 16th-ranked team last week to the 23rd this week, Michael Rothstein believes the lesson learned isn’t much of one at all — the quarterback answer is still unknown.
Before the season began, anyone who told you they knew whether or not Desmond Ridder would be a good NFL starter would have been lying to you. Six weeks in, there’s not an obvious answer. He has thrown five interceptions over the past three games, and three of the picks looked to be his clear mistake. But he also has thrown for over 300 yards in each of the past two games. There’s more data to look at, and Ridder is still young and growing into the role, but the Falcons can’t say with any certainty they have their quarterback of the future as Ridder is wildly inconsistent in the present. Which might end up being the answer in the long run. — Michael Rothstein
Desmond Ridder’s 2023 campaign has been a bag of mixed results. He followed up the two worst performances of his career against the Lions and Jaguars with the best one against the Texans, in which he set career marks across the board.
Week 6 was a little of both. In the opening drive, it may have been the best of Ridder’s young career. He completed 5-of-6 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown to Kyle Pitts. The rest of the first half was forgettable, and the second half was more bad than good.
Ridder threw the first of his three interceptions to begin the third quarter, but after another punt, the Falcons drove the length of the field and scored a touchdown. Ridder went 4-of-6 for 39 yards, including that score. Unfortunately, the final three drives resulted in a punt and a pair of interceptions.
The Falcons have no answer at the position. I think if you had to give one, it wouldn’t be favorable for Desmond Ridder. He’ll certainly have the rest of the season to prove himself.
Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire