What Desmond Ridder had to say after the win over the Packers

Here’s what Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder had to say after the 25-24 win over the Packers on Sunday:

On being down for the count come backing to get the win: “No, no, never down for the count. When you see the Atlanta Falcons out there, we’ll never be down for the count. We’re going to fight until that clock hits zero. That’s why I’m proud of this team and everyone on this team for not giving up, not -- just keep going out there and just fighting until that clock hits zero. Obviously when you get in that situation, we were down 10, I think, or 11, whatever, 12, and you know, it’s not about scurrying and panic. It’s about, okay, take a deep breath and then just go play the next play.”

On performing on crucial downs and late-game situations: “Like we said last week, you talked about how the receivers handle not getting the ball, and I told you guys, the reason I play quarterback is because I have the ball in my hands every single play. For me, when those big-time situations come up, whatever it may be, we know that the ball does end up in my hands; I’ve got to go make a play. I’ve been in those situations before, obviously college and here, and you know, it’s something that like I said, it’s not something that you panic over, it’s hey, this is the next play, go execute it.”

On the third and fourth down sequence at the end of the game: “Obviously, trying to get the first down there. We had a run call called with a little RPO, so it could have gone either way. The end squeezed, I pulled it, he ran out of it. I just tried to go back, tried to make a play, get back to the first down yard marker, obviously came up a little bit short. Going back, I would obviously try to get six more inches.”

On Arthur Smith saying the team had conviction and a belief in the players to go for it on fourth down late in the game and what that says about the team: “It’s obviously trust. Trust and seeing that throughout the week that we’ve put in the work, that we’ve executed that play over and over and over again, that we know when we come out here on Sundays that when he calls it, we’re going to execute it to its fullest. For me, that’s just trust and belief in all 11 guys out there on the field that they’re going to do their job and their job only.”

On the passing game looking like it was difficult early on but became easier as the game went on: “I’m going to say is accurate. I would just say it’s all about getting into a rhythm, getting into a flow. When we start being able to move the ball, getting those first, first downs after the drives, getting them going, that’s obviously when it starts to pick up, you start to see a little more tempo, a little more juice to the guys, and things open up. Obviously, we do a lot of play action, so the backers pull out really quick. The DBs might be more afraid to go for the run and give up the pass above them or whatever it may be.”

On whether it is difficult to be patient when you are trying to get into a rhythm offensively: “Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is hard to be patient. You’re just trying to look for a play, whether it’s a run play, screen, whatever it may be. You’re just trying to look for that one thing to get you going, that one thing to get that momentum going. Sometimes, yeah, it is hard to be patient in those moments. You want to try to force a ball, you want to try to make a play. But it’s actually in those moments where you’ve got to kind of take a step back and just say, like I said before, hey, just play the play as it is, no matter what the down and distance, and just go execute it.”

On Bijan Robinson’s performance: “He’s a competitor. Like I said, he’s a competitor, but he’s also humble. He’s going to go out there and obviously put his head down and go to work every single day, which he has, and then shows up on Sunday, and so for us, he’s a huge attribute to our offense, and he does nothing but good things for us.”

On staying composed and focused after throwing his first career interception: “That’s just kind of how my whole career has been. Never get too high, never get too low. We always talk about that in our quarterback meeting room, the energy feeds off us. If we’re down, everyone is going to be down. If we’re up, everyone is going to be up. For me, I tried to remain neutral throughout that entire game. I felt like I did my best job of just staying calm, and like I said, just playing each play as it comes.”

On why it has been difficult to establish a rhythm in the first half: “It’s just how football goes. Just how it goes. Sometimes they’re going to come in, sometimes they’re going to punch you in the mouth. I’m not saying that’s what happened, but I’m just saying, you can’t ever dictate what the defense is going to do. Sometimes they come out and maybe have a better scheme, a better play call, whatever it may be, and we just have to go out and figure out how the next time we come back on the field, how to execute it better.”

On whether he feels that taking time to get into a rhythm is part of his game: “That’s for you to say, not me.”

On what he thinks about taking time to get into a rhythm: “No, you know, for me, obviously, trying to get in the flow of game. Obviously, snap one you obviously want to be in the flow. I would say sometimes it takes a little bit longer to get going. That’s one thing, talking this offseason, that we worked on was how can we be able to get out there and from play one be in that rhythm, be in that flow. That’s one thing I obviously will continue to work on. Like I said, it’s game two of a 17-game season, regular season, so we’ll just keep continuing to work and keep getting better.”

On when he felt like he had earned the trust of his teammates: “I’d like to say hopefully I got that trust once I stepped in there last year. If I didn’t have the trust of those guys last year, then obviously we’re in the wrong position. I put myself in the wrong position if I didn’t have their trust. If you look back, that would have all been on me. If you went and asked these guys if they didn’t have my trust, that probably would have started from the day I walked in; I did something wrong or wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be or didn’t go do my job 100 percent. But like I said, ever since I’ve stepped foot in this organization, on this campus, I’ve wanted nothing but the best. I’ve wanted to put in 100-percent effort and have full trust and respect of every single one of these guys on the team.”

On what a fourth quarter does for the development of a young quarterback: “It’s huge and it’s crucial. Like I said, even throughout that entire fourth quarter, I was just trying to stay calm, stay patient, and just let it come to me, just let the play, play itself. But, not only for myself, but for the offense that was huge right there. That was huge for obviously us to go out -- it’s tough right there getting those two stops right there where it’s third-and-1, fourth-and-1, and we aren’t able to go for it. Obviously, we played the situation. As a game, huge for Koo to come in, step in after missing one early. To have the trust obviously that we have in him, for him to go out and knock down those kicks, that’s huge for us.”

On throwing his first interception: “Obviously [I] got hit on it, but it’s just how you get back, how you bounce back from it. I felt like we did a great job of coming back out there, not worrying about what happened the last drive and just keep going on the next.”

On how important it is for the defense to be able to hang tough and keep the team in the game: “That’s huge for us. Like I said last week, though, that’s something that we can’t count on every single week. That’s something that we have to go out there and we have to set the tempo as an offense. When we get back, we’ll have talks of, hey, we’ve got to pick it up, we’ve got to do better, we have to lead this team, just so that -- in that one case, the one Sunday where our defense, whether it doesn’t show up or they have a few plays go wrong here and there, we’ve got to be the ones to go out there and set the tone and set the tempo early.”

On when he felt like the momentum swung in their favor today: “I would go back to, we talk about as a team, we talk about that middle eight. We deferred off the coin toss, get the ball in the second half, we got the ball right there at the end of the first half, we knew we had to put points up on the board. For us, when we were able to go down there, move the ball, be able to get points on the board, obviously that was huge for us, and talking about that middle eight.”

On rushing for 200 yards, passing for 200 yards and winning the time of possession battle and whether that’s what Arthur Smith wants this team to do each week: “There were a couple of passes I wished I had back. I’m sure there’s a couple of runs we wish we could have back. It was not a perfect game. Obviously, I felt like we did enough to go out there and get the win as we did. But obviously that’s not the best Atlanta Falcons offense you’ve seen right there. We know that we can do way better than that. It’s going to be up to us to come in here tomorrow, watch the film, get better, and go back to work for Detroit next week.”

On what he was referring to when he talked about the ‘middle eight’: “Middle eight means last four minutes of the first half, first four minutes of the second half.”

On whether that’s something he has focused on before or something that is a point of emphasis here: “No, I mean, that’s obviously something that a lot of teams throughout football talk about is that middle eight. Especially, like we said, we want to double up that, so we get the ball right there at the end with the last four minutes in the first half, we want to take that ball, get points. When we say double up, we get the ball back at the start of the second half, come back and get points up on the board. That’s huge for momentum. That’s huge for offense, defense, and everyone.”

On whether scrambling is something that can help with getting in a rhythm and open things in the passing game: “Yeah, 100 percent. That opens up things in the passing game and run game. Obviously, going in the defense would have to then account for my legs, which I’m sure they do, the scramble, the call, RPOs, whatever it may be, the defense has to adjust for that. But when we get out there and make scrambles, it obviously opens up the passing game, kind of gets people out of their spots. As many times as I can use my legs without it hurting the team, I’m going to try to do that.”

On the key to stringing together four consecutive scoring drives in the second half: “Yeah, like we said, it was just get that first first down. Once we got out there on the field, it’s just about getting the ball going, getting the ball moving. When it’s easy, you can hand off a ball and it goes for eight, nine, ten yards plus, that’s huge for our momentum. Just to get in that flow, just getting that first first down, getting it going, then you go back to Mike, you talk about how do you start fast? It’s about getting that first first down, getting the team moving, getting the flow moving, and I think that’s obviously what we did really well.”

On whether he thought the offense operated at a better rhythm today than last week: “I would definitely say it’s strides in the right direction. It’s not 100 percent where we want to be at, but it’s definitely strides in the right direction.”

On what makes him feel like the offense took a step forward today: “Like I said, we were able to go out there and we were just able to keep it moving forward. There were things that went wrong. There were things that went right. But at the end of the day, we were able to come back, lock back in and keep it going. You know, it’s when those times and when those things do go wrong, how are we going to bounce back from it, how are we going to come back out on the field and keep the ball moving forward, how are we going to keep the defense sitting on the bench and us on the field holding the possession. For us, I feel like we did a good job of that. Obviously, like I said, there were a couple throws, a couple runs we could have back, but we’re definitely moving in the right direction.”

On whether he’s a guy that needs to see the stat sheet right after the game: “No, I was just told. He told me. That was about the first time I heard it.”

On whether he looks at stats during the week and whether stats are how he judges his play: “No, I wouldn’t say that because there’s throwaways, there’s batted balls. You can’t just go look at, oh, I was however many of however many and say, oh, this is how I played that game; I played terrible this game because I had this. Can’t look at the QBR because it is what it is. Last week I had a high QBR, this week whatever don’t know what it was. But it’s two different weeks. So for me, it’s just about going back, watching the film, and grading myself on what I could have done better. It’s probably not one play in there where I’d say it’s A+. There’s always things that not only myself but everyone else can get better at.”

On whether he grades himself for every game: “Yeah.”

On what he graded himself last week: “Last week was like a C+. Yeah, it wasn’t all great last week.”

On how many times he’s given himself an “A” in his career: “Not very many. Not very many. That’s just who I am. That’s just who I am as a person. I think that there’s always room for improvement. There’s always steps that you can take to get better, and for me, obviously being complacent is one of the worst things that you can do in this league as a football player is just feel like you’ve made it or feel like you’ve worked hard enough to be where you’re at. For me, I feel like I’ve always got to work harder, always got to do one extra thing, always got to be better to be able to keep taking those steps.”

On how he would grade himself this week: “Without looking at the film, probably another C.”

On why he’d give himself that grade: “Why? Because there were throws that I missed, reads that I could have done better, checks at the line of scrimmage. A couple times when I talked about a couple weeks ago getting in and out of the huddle, the efficiency there, going back, you look at the game clock, game clock is draining down on us, getting down, three, two, one, that’s on me, getting in and out of the huddle, making sure we get all the calls right. There are a lot of things that you guys don’t see that you guys may think went right but actually went wrong. That’s where I’ll go back and look at it, and that’s where I’ll knock myself.”

On the energy from the crowd today: “The fans have been amazing these past two weeks. The whole City of Atlanta has shown up. They’ve done a heck of a job when the defense is out there on the field being loud. When the offense is out there we make a big play, you hear them. You hear everything that they do. For us, it’s huge to have that fan energy, to have the momentum, and we just hope they show up every single week just like that.”

On what he’d need to do to get an “A” grade from himself: “What would I need to do to get an A? You’d probably go back to that stat sheet, pretty close to perfection on that stat sheet, and then you go back and watch the film, you made every protection check right, you made every can or check that we have in the run game, whatever it may be, everything was 100 percent. You got out of there healthy, you won the game, most importantly.”

On the last time he graded himself an “A” on a game: “No, it’s probably been a while. It’s probably been a whi-ile.”

On whether it’s been high school or college since he gave himself an “A” for a game: “Probably early Cincinnati while maybe. But even then, like I said, to have an A+, you’ve got to be one of those -- it’s got to be everything goes right for you. So that’s tougher in this league. Obviously, we can control what we can control and some things you can’t control, so that’s where you get automatically knocked in your so-called grading.”

On what it says about the team to get a win in this fashion after coming up short in similar games last season: “Yeah, it’s huge. Obviously as a part of last season -- well, I think it was whatever, 15 games we were in by one score, whatever it may have been, so to be able to come out here and obviously finish and finish on top, that’s huge for all of us.”

On how it felt to finish off the comeback and come away with a win in front of the home crowd: “Oh, it felt great. Obviously to come back and win this, obviously with the home crowd behind our back, being in Mercedes-Benz, like I said, it’s a different energy. It’s a different atmosphere. You guys talk about my home win streak, whatever it may be, that’s not built from just me. That’s not built from just the guys on this film, the coaches, that’s built from the city. That’s built from every single person that shows up in Mercedes-Benz waving an Atlanta flag. We’ll just try to keep that going, keep the energy going, keep the momentum going, and hopefully we’re going to show up again.”

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