1. Marcus Mariota should be benched
Let’s be completely fair to Mariota and point out that he did get hot late and lead a furious comeback that could have been capped off by Atlanta’s first victory over Brady if not for the officials. There is also the fact that Mariota’s receivers didn’t help him early on in this game dropping passes and struggling to get open early on.
While this is all true it is also true that Mariota five weeks into the season has been objectively bad for Atlanta. He has had his great moments but they are far outweighed by his consistent turnovers and missed throws. If the Falcons are serious about winning games this season they cannot continue to put him in the starting lineup.
This roster was able to win a game in which Mariota was only able to complete seven passes a week ago. For much of Sunday’s game Mariota was well below 50% completion rate and yet the team still should have had a chance to win this game late. Imagine how great this offense could be with even an average starting quarterback. Mariota has had his chance at redemption and Arthur Smith has given him more than enough chances to prove he can still be a starter in this league. Aside from the turnovers another telling stat shows just how difficult Atlanta has had it at the most important position on the field. Joe Flacco who made only three starts for the Jets in their first five games trails Marcus Mariota by only 25-passing yards this season. Flacco who has bounced around the league as a veteran backup has passed for almost as many yards as Mariota in two fewer games. It’s time to make the right move and put Desmond Ridder into the starting lineup.