The Atlanta Falcons lead the NFC South after beating Tampa Bay 16-13 in an ugly game that was dominated by the Atlanta defense. Atlanta's offense set the tone early driving for a touchdown on the first drive of the game and continued to move the ball and do a lot of things well.
The problem for the Falcons continued to be Desmond Ridder turning the ball over at the absolute worst times. Three fumbles for Ridder stopped three drives that should have all at worst given the team three points. Part of the problem with the fumbles was poor pass protection and issues with the snap.
Not all of the blame belongs on Ridder despite the second straight week of turning the ball over three times. Desmond redeemed himself somewhat with a late game-winning drive with a nice throw to Kyle Pitts to set up the game-winning kick from Koo.
Desmond has plenty of things to work on and the turnovers continue to be the issue for an offense that is now moving the ball at a consistent level. If Ridder can clean up this part of his game the Falcons are going to easily score 24-30 points a game and take a lot of the pressure off of their defense.
Whether it was the deep throw to Scotty Miller or creating yardage out of broken plays scrambling or throwing on the run to Allgeier there is a lot to like about what Ridder did in week seven. Yes, the frustrations are there and obvious with a young quarterback but the offense is improving and the turnovers can be fixed.
Desmond has a higher ceiling than Taylor Heinicke and with Atlanta leading the NFC South it will take an absolute implosion for Arthur Smith to even consider a change. Ridder is Atlanta's quarterback despite the obvious issues that Desmond must clean up if the Falcons are going to hold onto the division lead.