Desmond Ridder struggles with accuracy but makes plays in Falcons’ preseason opener

Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions
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The Falcons gave starting quarterback Marcus Mariota some brief work at the beginning of Friday night’s preseason opener in Detroit, but most of the game was the Desmond Ridder show.

Ridder, the rookie quarterback out of Cincinnati, delivered in the end, hitting Jared Bernhardt for a 21-yard game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute.

“At that point, you have to give someone a chance,” Ridder said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I saw it was a one-on-one matchup. I gave my guy Bernhardt a chance and he came down with it. It was huge play for us.”

It was an up-and-down game for Ridder, who also led a touchdown drive at the end of the first half but struggled with his accuracy, completing just 10 of his 22 passes for 103 yards, a paltry average of 4.7 yards per pass. Where Ridder was perhaps most impressive was in using his legs to avoid pressure: He was never sacked, and he ran the ball six times for 59 yards.

Mariota liked what he saw from his young backup.

“That was unbelievable,” Mariota said. “I thought Desmond had a great game. For a young guy, his first NFL shot, he made a bunch of plays. At the end of the game when you needed him most, he made a play.”

Falcons coach Arthur Smith liked what he saw from both quarterbacks.

“I thought Marcus came out and he was sharp,” Smith said. “He really operated, I thought at a high level. It was good to see. To take a drive and go all the way down the field and score. . . . I was proud of Desmond. He came in there and you want to see how these guys handle adversity. It wasn’t perfect. There’s a lot to learn from, but he kept swinging.”

There’s no quarterback controversy in Atlanta, as Mariota is the unquestioned starter. But Ridder did enough to give Falcons fans some hope that he may some day be the team’s quarterback of the future.

9 responses to “Desmond Ridder struggles with accuracy but makes plays in Falcons’ preseason opener

  1. Good 1st game for the kid.

    He doesn’t have the upside of a Bailey Zappe but still, good for him.

  2. Actually several of Ridder’s incompletions were drops. I watched the entire game and his numbers would have been better but he was throwing to some practice squad WR and of course Felipe Frank had several drops that were in his hands, but of course that is to be expected since he is trying to make the position transfer from backup QB to WR.

    Ridder did have several bad throws though, and he had a pick that was called back because of a late hit on the QB. But overall he looked far more impressive last night than he has looked in training camp so far. Arthur Smith has already said that even though Mariota is the starter they plan to use both QB’s this season, so I expect Ridder to get more reps as training camp goes along and more work in the next two pre-season games should help get him closer to being ready to play in real NFL games.

  3. He really wasn’t very good. His runs were all a result of him dropping back and either having no one or not being able to read the defense before pressure got to him. He made several really bad throws and the TD was a straight up prayer that got completed against a fifth-string UDFA safety. When he had someone wide open, he hit them most times, so I guess that’s not too bad.

  4. It’s way to early only a stupid fan expect a great player in game 1 of the pre-season ? relax…this kid has a chance to be a good one the ceiling would be Prescott .

  5. To be expected, these new rookie QBs are not taught to read defenses…consistently if at all.

  6. no sacks, 10 yard carries and completions, scored both 2 min drills, and 4th down game-winning TD (when most coaches would have took the tie and not let it rest on rookie QB); made some mistakes but very positive start to his career

  7. He sucks. Kenny Picket or Malik Willis if you were desperate enough for a QB this year. The rest are for the birds.

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