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Falcons Takeoff: Facts, stats, quotes from Week 5 win against Texans

Your one-stop shop for all the inside info from the Falcons-Texans game in Week 5.

For the 2023 NFL season, digital team reporter Terrin Waack will provide select stellar stats, obscure facts and notable quotes from the most recent game to show how the Atlanta Falcons are taking flight into the new week.

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons defeated the Houston Texans, 21-19, last Sunday for their Week 5 matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of 69,461 ticketed fans.


-- For the first time this season, the Falcons did not give up a single sack. The last time they had a sack-free game was Nov. 20, 2022, in a Week 11 win over the Chicago Bears. Marcus Mariota was the quarterback then, which means Sunday was the first time Desmond Ridder has gone a whole game without being sacked in his career (nine games).

-- A season-high 11 different Atlanta players were targeted in Sunday's passing game. The Falcons haven't broken into the double digits with target counts since 2021 with Matt Ryan. The last game to see that was their Week 18 loss on Jan. 9, 2022, to the New Orleans Saints when Ryan tried to pass to 10 different teammates. Ridder connected with 10 of his targets. Ryan hit seven. The last time a Falcons quarterback had at least 10 different players record a reception was Sept. 19, 2021 in a Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Ryan reached that mark exactly.

-- Keeping on that theme a bit, there were three Falcons with at least six receptions and 60 receiving yards for the first time since Sept. 13, 2020, a Week 1 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. This year's edition included wide receiver Drake London (six receptions for 78 yards) and tight ends Kyle Pitts (seven receptions for 87 yards) and Jonnu Smith (six receptions for 67 yards). The 2020 game had wide receivers Julio Jones (nine receptions for 157 yards), Russell Gage (nine receptions for 114 yards) and Calvin Ridley (nine receptions for 130 yards).

-- Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo now has seven game-winning field goals on his resume, with all seven coming in the past three seasons. Sunday's latest was a 37-yarder with two seconds on the clock.



-- For the second time this season, the Falcons won the time-of-possession battle. Atlanta had the ball for 35 minutes, 32 seconds overall, while Houston did for 24:28. The only other game the Falcons accomplished this was in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers (36:15 vs. 23:45), and Atlanta also won that game with a fourth-quarter comeback and a last-minute field goal.

-- The Falcons are 3-0 at home for only the eighth time in franchise history and the first time since 2015. Mercedes-Benz Stadium, though, opened in 2017. So, the last time the Falcons were 3-0 at home was in the Georgia Dome.

-- Wide receiver Drake London is apparently a lefty. He threw – and completed – the first pass of his career Sunday, and he did so with his left hand. It was a 22-yarder to Smith in the first quarter. London technically finished with a better quarterback rating than Ridder – 118.8 vs. 111.2.

-- Atlanta still hasn't managed more than three plays on their opening offensive drive.


On quarterback Desmond Ridder's performance…

"Pretty damn good."

On running back Bijan Robinson's one-handed catch behind his back to score…

"Great players make the hard things look easy."


Quarterback Desmond Ridder

Sarcastically, on whether the fourth-quarter touchdown pass to running back Bijan Robinson was on target…

"Yeah, no. That's exactly where I aimed to put it, like right here on his back and then... No. It was a little shovel play. He made a heck of a catch, obviously, right there."

Running back Bijan Robinson

On how much wearing gloves helped him maintain possession of that catch on his back…

"Barehanded, that's going on the floor."


Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud

On his takeaway from the loss…

"It's a blessing to play in this great league and against a great opponent like the Falcons but, yes, it's tough. I have been done bad in this stadium two times now. I don't think it's funny. It is what it is."

Texans linebacker Henry To'oto'o

On Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder's career-high passing game…

"I think he just did a good job of finding open spots in our defense. He was very aware of what we were running. He did a great job of getting the ball out."


Top 3 rushers

  1. Texans: Dameon Pierce, 20 carries for 66 yards
  2. Falcons: Bijan Robinson, 14 carries for 46 yards
  3. Falcons: Tyler Allgeier, 17 carries for 40 yards

Top 3 receivers

  1. Falcons: Kyle Pitts, seven receptions for 87 yards
  2. Falcons: Drake London, six receptions for 78 yards
  3. Falcons: Jonnu Smith, six receptions for 67 yards

Top 3 passers

  1. Falcons: Desmond Ridder, 28-37-0 for 329 yards and a touchdown
  2. Texans: C.J. Stroud, 20-35-0 for 249 yards and a touchdown
  3. Falcons: Drake London, 1-1-0 for 22 yards

Top 3 defenders

  1. Texans: Henry To'oto'o, 12 total tackles, six solo
  2. Texans: Jalen Pitre, 11 total tackles, seven solo (a pass breakup and a fumble recovery)
  3. Texans: Blake Cashman, nine total tackles, five solo


The Falcons (3-2) stay at home to host the Washington Commanders (2-3) for their Week 6 matchup. Action is set to begin at 1 p.m. in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. CBS will carry the broadcast coverage.

The Commanders are coming off a 40-20 loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 5.

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans during Week 5.

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