FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder is set to make his third start of the season.
After slow starts against the Saints and Ravens in tough environments, he’s set to make his first start at home and will be on the hot seat Sunday while looking for his first touchdown pass in the NFL.
Ridder has completed 35 of 59 passes (59.3%) for 315 yards, no touchdown nor an interception over two starts. He has a passer rating of 73.8.
In both games, the offense has sputtered at the beginning of the game.
Against the Saints, the Falcons got a field goal on their third possession to make the score 14-3.
Against the Ravens, the Falcons didn’t score until their fifth possession of the game. Kicker Younghoe Koo made a 32-yard field goal to make the score 14-3.
The Falcons are planning to get off to a faster start against the Cardinals when the teams meet at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“We preached it somewhat last week and hard this week – we have to start fast and finish the entire game,” Ridder said. “If we can’t do that, then we have to find something that works.”
Ridder likely will need to lean on the offense’s one-two punch of running back Tyler Allgeier and wide receiver Drake London earlier in the game to help jump-start the offense.
“It’s not the goal to start that way,” Falcons offensive coordinator Dave Ragone said. “For us, you’re always constantly trying to establish a rhythm. You’re trying to attack in a certain way.”
The Cardinals have allowed 26.1 points per game, which ranks 30th in the league. Also, they will play without Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker, who was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury Wednesday.
Ridder said he’s excited to play in his first home game.
He doesn’t know what he’s going to do if he throws his first touchdown pass against the Cardinals.
“I’ve been thinking about that for two weeks,” Ridder said. “Trust me, I’ve been thinking.”
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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 Saints 21, Falcons 18
Dec. 24 Ravens 17, Falcons 9
Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.
Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD
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