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Arthur Smith keeping Desmond Ridder as QB1 after Jaguars loss, before Texans game

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith made it clear Desmond Ridder will remain the starting quarterback in Week 5.

The Atlanta Falcons are sticking with quarterback Desmond Ridder.

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith made it clear Monday he has no intentions of naming a different starter in Week 5, as preparations begin for Atlanta to host the Houston Texans on Sunday (1 p.m., FOX) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Ridder will remain QB1.

"Obviously," Smith said. "I wouldn't be sitting, pontificating about what went on in the game if we were making a change."

Questions about Ridder's status arose after the Falcons' 23-7 Week 4 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. It was Atlanta's second consecutive loss and brought the team's record to 2-2.

In the first half against the Jaguars, Ridder completed nine of his 14 passes for 73 yards. He was sacked three times for a loss of 22 yards. He was intercepted twice on consecutive passes. One of the picks was returned for a touchdown.

How Ridder responded coming out of halftime is something Smith kept a close eye on while evaluating the position.

"That's what you had to find out," Smith said. "You go into a game like that and those things happen in the first half, you got to find out: sink or swim. To his credit, he came out firing. There wasn't hesitancy. I don't care what position you play -- in any high-performance job, high-pressure job -- you start to get hesitant, bad deal. So, you found out after some real adversity what he was about."

In the second half, Ridder completed 10 of his 17 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked just once more, for a loss of 9 yards. He did not throw another interception.

The Falcons' sole touchdown actually came in the third quarter, when Ridder found wide receiver Drake London in the end zone for a 15-yard reception. It was a third-and-9 play.

Atlanta converted three of its seven third-down attempts in the first half and three of its five in the second.

"You've got a young player in his eighth start," Smith said. "There's a fine line of being stubborn in situations and coming out of halftime to see what he's got. Otherwise, we'll never know. … I thought he came back. Obviously, it wasn't what we wanted result wise. But he gave us a chance."

Ridder is in his second year with the Falcons, but he played in just four games as a rookie since quarterback Marcus Mariota orchestrated the offense until Atlanta's bye in Week 15.

In those four games last season, Ridder went 2-2, completing 73 of his 115 passes for 708 yards and two touchdowns. Through his four games this season, Ridder has completed 74 of his 119 passes for 744 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.

This year's stat lines have looked like this:

Week 1 (ATL 24, CAR 10): 15-18-0 for 115 yards and a touchdown

Week 2 (ATL 25, GRB 24): 19-32-1 for 237 yards and a touchdown

Week 3 (DET 20, ATL 6): 21-38-0 for 201 yards

Week 4 (JAX 23, ATL 7): 19-31-2 for 191 yards and a touchdown

Ridder will get another opportunity to prove his worth in Week 5.

"There's a lot of things that go into it," Smith said. "If you didn't think he gave you a chance -- you didn't have evidence of it -- that'd be a problem."

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder #9 looks to pass during the second quarter of the Week 4 Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, England on Sunday, October 1, 2023. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

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