Falcons’ Desmond Ridder: ‘A lot of things that offensively, we’ve got to be better at’

The Falcons quarterback discusses the 29-25 loss to the Buccaneers in a key NFC South game Sunday.

Here’s what Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder had to say after the 29-25 loss to the Bucs on Sunday:

On the way the game ended and the up and down emotions of the fourth quarter: “There were a lot of, obviously, up and downs. A lot of things that offensively, we’ve got to be better at. We can’t go in there and in that third quarter just keep going back and forth, especially when the defense gives us a short field. We’ve got to be able to go down there and get points at some point.”

On the final play of the game and whether it was designed to go to the end zone: “Yeah, obviously those plays are supposed to go to the end zone. You don’t have any special calls for whatever it was first-and-38, 43. Obviously, the ball’s got to get in the end zone and we came up two yards short. We’ll go back and look at it and see if there was another guy open or not. Obviously, that’s a play you only rep a couple times throughout the year for these exact circumstances and obviously they came up.”

On Younghoe Koo placing the blame on himself after missing two field goals: “Yeah, honestly, it’s not Koo’s fault. Like I said, as an offense we’ve got to do better, get him in better field positions so he’s not kicking 50-plus yarders every single time he’s got to go kick the ball. We’ve got to be able to go down there and push the ball and move it forward and give him easier ones if we are going to stall out or do whatever.”

On the hardest part of the loss: “Yeah, any loss is hard, especially the way we were moving the ball and just getting up and down the field. Defense doing great. We should have came out of there with the win; obviously we didn’t. Like I said, there is a lot of things we are going to clean up and a lot of things we’re going to learn from and get better from and come out better in the back end.”

On the scoring drought in the middle of the game: “Like I said, we’ve got to be better, got to be more consistent. We got to be able to go out there and just get the first play started, get it going. Obviously, in that safety we were backed up. I’ve just got to get the ball out of my hands and not sit back there and pat it. Just throw it away if it’s not there. Like I said, we’ve got to be consistent overall and just be better.”

On the two fourth-quarter touchdown drives: “Yeah, I mean, like I said, we were just moving the ball. O-line was doing a heck of a job up front, one in pass protection and two in run. Yeah, we were just able to keep the ball moving, keep the consistency going, and just keep it moving forward.”

On the offensive linemen who stepped up to play today: “Yeah, they’ve done a heck of a job all year of just being ready and staying ready. Obviously, we have a great starting five who is normally out there and we have great backups as well. Like I’ve said, they have done a great job whether they were on scout team or whether they were in and out with the ones throughout camp, throughout the season. They’ve been prepared and ready for this opportunity and they took advantage of it. They did a heck of a job out there. So whether it as Kyle Hinton, [Ryan] Neuzil, [Tyler] Vrabel, Storm [Norton]. Doesn’t matter who it was, they all did a heck of a job out there.”

On his thoughts on K Younghoe Koo taking the blame for the loss: “Yeah, Koo is obviously a great person and great individual, as we all know. Like I said, just as a team, we’ve got to be better and put him in a better position to be able to go out there and not have to kick long field goals every single time. We’ve got to go out there and push the ball and get him in a better position.”

On whether he feels today’s loss was a missed opportunity: “Yeah, I mean, not even that. We missed plenty of opportunities out there just in this game. We wasn’t worried about the weeks to come. We was worried about today. We missed plenty of opportunities out there today that we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

On positive takeaways from today’s game: “Yeah, like you said, obviously there were some points in the game where we were able to move the ball, we were able to get down there and get points. Positive is scoring outside of the red zone, you know, haven’t done that many times throughout the year, so just being able to get those big plays, get explosive plays. But like I said, just got to be better, got to be more consistent.”

On how WR Drake London played: “Drake obviously played his butt off out there. You know, early on obviously just getting a bunch of one-on-ones and then at some point you got to heat check him, which we did late and just gave him a ball which he could go get. He soared up higher than others and was able to go get it. Drake is heck of a competitor, heck of a player. Obviously, he wanted that last one more than anyone. You know, all we’re going to do is keep going back to work and getting better.”

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