Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota had one of his worst performances of the season on Thursday night, completing 19-of-30 pass attempts for 186 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Several fans called for him to be benched during the game.
Following the Falcons’ loss to the Panthers, head coach Arthur Smith was asked about the team’s quarterback situation.
Smith didn’t want to place the blame entirely on Mariota. He even told reporters that he never considered benching him for rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder.
However, Smith didn’t go out of his way to name a starter for Week 11.
“You can make it about the quarterback, how about the team?” Smith said. “We had an opportunity at the end of the fourth quarter the last two weeks, and a lot of different ways, and a lot of different phases where we’ve got to get better. And we’ve got an opportunity to do that with seven games left.”
At 4-6, the Falcons remain firmly in the mix to win the NFC South.
The Falcons may not want to throw Ridder into the fire while a playoff berth is still at stake. With that said, they’ll need Mariota to play much better moving forward.