Falcons’ Taylor Heinicke replaces QB Desmond Ridder vs. Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Atlanta Falcons inserted Taylor Heinicke to replace starting quarterback Desmond Ridder to start the second half of Sunday’s 28-23 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

The Falcons said Ridder was being evaluated for a concussion but added shortly after that he had been cleared. He was on the bench at the start of the second half, wearing a hat and following the offense, as Heinicke took the field for the first time this season.

The switch came after a rough first half as Ridder completed 8 of 12 passes for 71 yards while being sacked five times and also losing a fumble — his fourth lost fumble in the past two weeks. He also had three carries for 26 yards.

Heinicke came in and led the Falcons to a field goal on a seven-play, 44-yard drive. He finished 12 of 21 for 175 yards and an 8-yard touchdown pass to Scott Miller as Atlanta scored 20 second-half points.

After his initial drive, Heinicke took the spot on the bench next to offensive coordinator Dave Ragone, where Ridder typically has sat after drives this season.

Atlanta signed Heinicke in the offseason to be Ridder’s backup quarterback.

Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett sustained a knee injury on the first defensive series and was later ruled out for the rest of the game. Jarrett has been one of the team’s defensive mainstays during the three-year transition from the Dan Quinn era to the Arthur Smith era.

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