The two main talking points of this past week were how great C.J. Stroud had been through his first four games and how disappointing Desmond Ridder had been—especially in his past two games.
However, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback ended up being the better player on the field. The third-round pick from a year ago ended up outplaying the second-overall pick in April's draft.
Falcons QB Desmond Ridder outplayed Texans QB C.J. Stroud in the head-to-head matchup
It really is crazy how when you think you have things figured out in the NFL, that ends up being anything but the case. C.J. Stroud had been praised all week for his play as the Houston Texans' QB while Desmond Ridder had been torn apart with back-to-back disappointing performances as the Atlanta Falcons QB
Desmond Ridder started out a little slow but then he started rocketing the ball all over. He should have had more than seven points in the first half but, ironically, his teammates let him down. Even in the second half that happened, but, to his credit, and the teams' credit, they persevered and won their third game.
Both quarterbacks played well, but the difference was Ridder's ability to fit passes into tight windows. Most of Stroud's completions were to receivers who had decent separation.
Neither Stroud nor Ridder were sacked a single time and they both had a single pass that should have been intercepted. Stroud thought he had led his team on a game-winning drive but Ridder did his best Lee Corso impression and said "Not so fast!" and led his team on an impressive final drive.
Ridder not only won in the eye test, but he also won on the stat sheet. Here are their stats side-by-side:
Ridder had eight more completions on two more attempts, nearly 100 more yards, averaged almost a full yard more per completion, had one more touchdown, and had a QBR that was 22.3 points higher.
That is pretty impressive, yet somehow I still have a feeling that all the talk will be about C.J. Stroud.
This is what we all wanted to see from Ridder. He showed mental fortitude through the past three weeks and just showed us that he can be a great quarterback in this league. The next step is to get another win next week and then fix the road woes.