Falcons rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder throws game winner in debut
By Nick Halden
Desmond Ridder certainly made an impression in his Atlanta Falcons pre-season debut. The rookie was the leading rusher for the Falcons tossing two touchdowns and flashing his athleticism leading the Falcons to a 27-23 win over the Detriot Lions.
Ridder not only threw the game-winning touchdown but did it under immense pressure while facing a 4th down that would have ended the game for Atlanta if not converted. Ridder rolling to his right and avoiding the pressure floated the ball perfectly to give Atlanta a lead they wouldn’t reliquish.
As hard as it might be for Falcons fans it is important to point out that this was simply a preseason game against the Lions’ second and third teams. However, it is hard not to be impressed by Ridder’s playmaking ability and the performance he put together. He showed why Atlanta believes he is the quarterback of the future and gave Atlanta fans enough to start clamoring for the rookie if veteran Marcus Mariota stumbles out of the gate.
Ridder’s debut was made all the more impressive by the fact he was often dealing with penalties and little help from his receivers. Multiple drops and inconsistent pass blocking made his debut difficult and showed he is capable of carrying an offense.
While this may not be the case against a legitimate starting defense it is worth pointing out Ridder was playing with second and third-teamers as well. It was an impressive debut that may leave a bit of doubt in Atlanta’s mind as to who their starting quarterback should be. If Ridder continues this level of play throughout the pre-season it will be difficult to ignore if Mariota struggles whatsoever.
It would be a great problem to have for an Atlanta team attempting to do the impossible in replacing former franchise quarterback Matt Ryan.