Desmond Ridder has likely started his final game for the Atlanta Falcons. Ridder was benched for the second time this season and veteran Taylor Heinicke will take his place. In the games we watched Heinicke earlier this season the results were a bit confusing.
The offense scored far more consistently, however, Heinicke was every bit as bad as Ridder when it came to turnover chances. Atlanta started their veteran quarterback in "must-win" situations and he failed to deliver in all three. It is only fair to point out that those were three of the worst defensive games we watched all season.
It was on the heels of losing Grady Jarrett and it obviously took that unit a few weeks to adjust to the loss. However, Taylor still had plenty of chances and played extremely poorly. The turnover chances and missed throws were there just as often as they were for Ridder.
Despite this, Heinicke will be an upgrade for the Falcons in their final three games. The veteran has a far more proven resume and should in his second stint give the Falcons a more consistent level of play. Taylor isn't a long-term option and is unlikely to be on the team at all next season.
For the next three games, however, it appears he will be Atlanta's starter and Smith's last effort to save his job. It is somewhat poetic that last season Smith stuck with Mariota for so long costing the Falcons a chance to realize that Ridder wasn't the answer. One year later and the Falcons are in the exact same position benching a failing quarterback far too late with the season already gone.
Playing the Colts with their playoff lives on the line the Falcons made the right decision turning to Heinicke. However, with Smith still in charge the results will be the same.