Falcons' Desmond Ridder tosses 2 INTs, says he did 'terrible job'

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder says he did "a terrible job of taking care of the ball" in Sunday's 23-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.

Ridder threw interceptions on back-to-back plays in the loss, with the first getting returned 61 yards by Jacksonville cornerback Darious Williams for a touchdown. On the next offensive play, Ridder's pass intended for tight end Kyle Pitts was picked off by Jaguars safety Andre Cisco. It's the first time a quarterback has thrown interceptions on back-to-back offensive plays since Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa did it in Week 13 last season against the San Francisco.

Ridder now has three interceptions over the past three games (one against Green Bay in Week 2) after not throwing an interception in his first five starts, dating back to last season.

"Those are tough lessons for a young quarterback," Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. "You're going to find out about yourself when you go back out there. So that's why, in the second half, he was able to push the ball down the field a little bit.

"I thought he operated cleaner in the pocket and we were able to get some looks and he was not risk-averse after that, which a lot of times that happens. It goes back to the reality is we got to find a way to jump-start early."

The Falcons went three-and-out on their first two offensive drives of the game and punted on their third drive prior to Ridder's back-to-back interceptions. Ridder settled down in the second half, finishing 19-of-31 for 191 yards and one touchdown, along with a lost fumble and four sacks.

"When we don't get going early and fast, that's when you feel the press," Ridder said. "And then we came back into halftime, we regrouped, came back out and said we got to do what we need to do. Came out that second half, was able to go down the field and get a touchdown and get some momentum back.

"Obviously that's something we got to figure out how to do from the jump."

It has been a consistent issue for the Atlanta offense -- voiced by Smith and Ridder, among others -- since Week 1. Ridder has mentioned the team's lack of offensive rhythm early in each of its first three games, and it was no different Sunday against Jacksonville. In the first quarter, Atlanta ran six plays, gained 5 yards, took two sacks and punted twice.

The Falcons have scored just one touchdown in the past two games and have not led at any point since defeating Green Bay in Week 2. They have run three or fewer plays on the first series in each of their four games: three three-and-outs and a Ridder interception on the third play against the Packers.

"You start slow," Smith said. "That's going to put yourself in some really pressure situations and trying to overcome a lot."