Mariota was also processing the loss and said he wasn’t yet thinking about possibly losing his starting job. He completed 13 of 24 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown. He finished with a quarterback rating of 72.7. His rating for the season is 88.2 with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
“At the end of the day, they’ve got to make a decision that’s best for the team,” Mariota said. “And whatever happens, happens, but I’m not really thinking about that right now.”
In Mariota’s defense, the team doesn’t have an established No. 1 wide receiver. Cordarrelle Patterson is being used at several positions. Tight end Kyle Pitts is out for the season. The line has had to use different combinations because of injuries.
But it can also be argued that Mariota hasn’t helped himself with errors. The interception in the final seconds of Sunday’s loss wasn’t a great bit of athleticism by Minkah Fitzpatrick. Mariota also took the blame for a false-start penalty on tackle Jake Matthews on second-and-goal at the 18-yard line in the fourth quarter. Earlier this season, he had a fumble and ballhandling mistake late in a loss to the Saints, and a fumble that put a victory against Seattle in jeopardy.
“Penalties put you in bad spots,” Mariota said. “When you’re getting negative plays and putting yourself in third-and-longs, or second-and longs, they can pin their ears back and do what they want and dictate how the game is played.”
Ridder, a rookie drafted in the third round from Cincinnati, has yet to play this season.
The Falcons have four games remaining, starting Dec. 18 at New Orleans. Despite Atlanta’s losing record, it still has a chance to win the NFC South and make the playoffs.
“There’s a lot we need to make sure we get right,” Smith said.
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Atlanta Falcons 2022 schedule
Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26
Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27
Sept. 25 Falcons 27, Seahawks 23
Oct. 2 Falcons 23, Browns 20
Oct. 9 Buccaneers 21, Falcons 15
Oct. 16 Falcons 28, 49ers 14
Oct. 23 Bengals 35, Falcons 17
Oct. 30 Falcons 37, Panthers 34 OT
Nov. 6 Chargers 20, Falcons 17
Nov. 10 Panthers 25, Falcons 15
Nov. 20 Falcons 27, Bears 24
Nov. 27 Commanders 19, Falcons 13
Dec. 4 Steelers 19, Falcons 16
Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD
Dec. 24 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.
Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.
Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD