The Atlanta Falcons dropped their game against the Washington Football Team on Sunday, and star wide receiver Calvin Ridley dropped his share of passes as well.
Ridley was targeted 13 times against Washington but finished the game with seven catches for 80 yards. His 53-percent catch rate was well below his career average of 65.9 percent.
To be fair to Ridley, he didn't have any “bad drops” on Sunday, but there were several plays that an elite wide receiver makes look routine. … The type of catches made by a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL.
Ridley had the production of a No. 1 receiver last year in Julio Jones' injury absence with 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns. But this is the first season Calvin has entered as the undisputed No. 1 for the Falcons.
For the Falcons to win close games, they'll need more from Ridley. They've already picked up his $11.1 million option for 2022, and if Ridley wants a giant second contract in 2023 when he's scheduled to be a free agent, he'll want to do more as well.
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith knows Ridley expects more of himself.
"Up and down," said Smith of Ridley's performance on Sunday. "We expect more and Calvin knows that. I’m not telling anything that I don’t tell the players. He’s one of our top guys. He’s one of our captains."
"Nobody’s got higher expectations than he does for himself than we do, so that’s why I call his number. I believe in Calvin but like all of us, we can all play better."
Meanwhile … One player who seems to find himself on the wrong end of big plays at crucial situations is reserve cornerback T.J. Green.
Green was victimized by Washington receiver Terry McLaurin's fourth-quarter touchdown reception as he seemed to lose sight of his man and the ball.
Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke did a good job of extending the play, but he threw the ball up for grabs. Only McLaurin seemed to be able to find it.
Smith was cryptic when asked why Green, a converted safety, was in that position at such a crucial point in the game.
“You got something that maybe happened equipment-wise or medically," said Smith. "Again, there’s a lot, usually more to it so I can leave it at that."
"There’s multiple reasons. Certain packages we have that dictates who goes in there. There’s certain things situationally maybe that happens. Like I said it could be something as simple as equipment, getting things checked out."
"The game’s not going to stop so the next guys got to go up in there and they got to be ready to go."
The Falcons are getting ready to go to London to take on the New York Jets. What used to be considered a special event for teams has, in the view of some, turned into a long, routine road trip.
"We’ve adjusted our schedule," said Smith. "You have to. Both teams are flying through the night Thursday night. That’s become pretty standard. I don’t think many teams are doing the week-long bowl game anymore for this trip."
Atlanta is considered the home team and enters the game a three-point favorite. The game will kickoff at 9:30 a.m. EST on Sunday.
'Hottest Name in Coaching': Source on Where Falcons Ex Dan Quinn of Cowboys Gets Hired
The former Falcons coach is one of the top coaching candidates on the market.
Despite Only 1 TD, Did Kyle Pitts' Rookie Season Justify Hype?
Watch all the highlights of Kyle Pitts’ historic rookie season with the Atlanta Falcons.
Did Fontenot 1st Falcons Draft Class Make the Grade?
Atlanta Falcons GM Terry Fontenot's first draft class doesn't finish among Pro Football Focus' top classes of 2021.