“Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said about Rider’s performance, and then he elaborated.” “After weeks of criticism, Rider has prepared a two-minute drill to help clear doubts and suspicions about his performance.
In Atlanta, when the roof of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens and the sun shines, there’s a different feeling in the air. The fresh air, the fall breeze, and the bright sunshine have turned the field and stands into a warm glow, akin to a college football matchup, particularly within the NFL.
Perhaps that’s why Desmond Rider, who excelled in college to the extent that he led a group of five schools to the college football playoffs, had a great day as a professional on Sunday. Rider orchestrated a game-winning drive – in less than a minute, no less – but more than that, he stayed composed, evaded sacks, used his legs for the team’s benefit, and on every pass he completed, he had one of his teammates right there.
“Very impressive,” Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said about Rider’s performance, and then he elaborated. “Becoming a quarterback in this league can be quite a challenging journey. They sign up for it. A lot of people have been compensated very well for it. He takes a special mentality. He has the right mentality.”
The mentality was never in question; Rider exudes confidence every week. For Falcons fans, the question is one of skill. Coming into Sunday’s game, Rider had more touchdowns (3) than anyone else in the NFL. His decision-making and accuracy, especially in pressure situations, have both been in the spotlight. And when Rider led the Falcons’ first drive against the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon to a three-and-out in less than 75 seconds, it sapped hope from the Falcons’ huddle tired of falling short.
Falcons Transform from “Everything But” Team to Defensive Force
For the first four weeks of the season, the Falcons were seen as an “everything but” team – like, everything but a quarterback. The defense showed what it could do on Sunday, bullying C.J. Stroud and forcing four field goals against the Texans. Drake London poses a threat as a wide receiver, Kyle Pitts looks pretty darn good whenever the ball is thrown near him, and Tyler Algeier is a sledgehammer when he collides with the line.
Bijan Robinson, on the other hand, was already a star. His hurdle-dribble touchdown run looked so remarkable that it was a wonder the officials didn’t flag him for traveling.
Other teams have taken note of the Falcons’ unbalanced offense. Texas safety Jammie Ward said earlier in the week, “If they’re using ‘M,’ they’re getting a wide receiver.” “I don’t think they’re trying to pass it. They’re trying to run physical teams.”
He’s not wrong. After five games, Ridder is 17th in the NFL in attempts, 19th in completions, and 20th in completion percentage. In the meantime, Robinson and Algeier carried nearly the same number of carries – 67 and 62, respectively – and together, they put the league-leading Christian McCaffrey’s 99 carries in the shade.
Ridder’s Game-Changing Sunday Performance.
But something changed in Ridder on Sunday, something that can transform Atlanta from an “Everything But” team to an “Everything And” team. After a three-and-out to start the first series, he led the Falcons on a 75-yard drive in seven plays, covering the last seven yards himself for a touchdown.
Three quarters later, with 1:54 remaining and one timeout, Ridder faced his first NFL moment. To win the game, he told himself. Don’t try to do too much. You’ve got plenty of time.
In the huddle, he told the Falcons to avoid penalties and win the game. Then he took advantage of a Texans defense that had softened to an almost laughable degree, first by striking Robinson, then London twice, then Pitts, all in a span of a few seconds, raising the ball high to send it on its way. Then Ridder found Algeier deep downfield, whom he located from the depth of his vision and found at 23 yards, after a protest that ended with a game-winning field goal.
Final score: Falcons 21, Texans 19. Ridder’s final numbers on the final drive: 44 yards on 5-for-5, one scramble for five yards, two knees for a minute, and a seat for Yenga, the game-winner.Those were truly my first two minutes on the drive,” Ryder said. “
They stayed calm, cool, and collected, not rushing or forcing anything; they simply adapted as the situation unfolded. Smith chimed in, saying, “We’re quite optimistic that this will really boost our confidence, especially considering we now have solid proof to back it up.
A fantastic comeback in the fourth quarter.
Next week, they’ll face the Falcons Commanders (2-3), and after that, a crucial road game against the Tampa Bay Division rivals (3-1). Both are winnable games for Atlanta, especially if the Falcons and Ridder show the same form they did in the fourth-quarter comeback. The division title is still a long way off for Atlanta, but the NFC South is wide open.
“Smith emphasized, “We’re well aware that there’s plenty of work ahead of us. If we ever start thinking we’ve got everything figured out today and aren’t committed to getting better and advancing, we’ll find ourselves falling behind in no time.”We’re not resting on any laurels.
Sports info: Marshawn Lynch’s Perspective