Desmond Ridder’s first start in the NFL went as expected for the Atlanta Falcons. The rookie quarterback struggled rather heavily in his first few drives, as he looked a bit jittery at times. When he settled down, though, he had a rather mediocre, if not below-average performance: 13 out of 26 passes completed for just under 100 yards. Still, head coach Arthur Smith isn’t too down on his rookie QB after the game, per Tori McElhaney of

Arthur Smith on Falcons rookie Desmond Ridder: “He came out amped up but as he settled in he corrected that. That’s a step in the right direction… He’s not scared of the moment. He was poised. And it wasn’t perfect in a lot of ways, we’ll look at the tape, but I like what he’s made up of.”

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Desmond Ridder was selected by the Falcons in the third round of the NFL draft. He started the season behind veteran QB Marcus Mariota on Atlanta’s depth chart. With Mariota opting to undergo surgery last week, the team felt it was time for Ridder to step up to the plate. It wasn’t pretty, but it seemed like the coaches and players had plenty to like from his first start.

Despite the loss to the Saints, the Falcons still have a good chance of making it to the playoffs… somehow. Losses by the Buccaneers and the Panthers this week help their cause. Desmond Ridder will have a chance to redeem himself against the Baltimore Ravens (who will likely welcome back Lamar Jackson) next week.