Taylor Heinicke to remain Falcons’ starting quarterback vs. Cardinals

Nov 6, 2023, 12:04 PM

Taylor Heinicke of the Falcons hugs Joshua Dobbs of the Vikings...

Joshua Dobbs #15 of the Minnesota Vikings and Taylor Heinicke #4 of the Atlanta Falcons embrace after their game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 05, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith told reporters Monday that Taylor Heinicke will make his second start in a row at quarterback in place of Desmond Ridder this coming Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

That doesn’t mean it’s permanent.

Heinicke replaced Ridder as a starter on Sunday in a 31-28 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and he went 21-of-38 for 268 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

“He did turn the ball over, but I thought he operated on third down pretty well,” Smith said after the game Sunday. “We’ll huddle up and evaluate. I thought he gave us some chances.”

What did quarterback Taylor Heinicke do in his first Falcons start?

The Falcons lost to a Vikings team led by Joshua Dobbs, who was five days removed from being traded by the Cardinals after he made eight starts for the team to begin his 2023 season.

Meanwhile, Arizona rookie quarterback Clayton Tune led Arizona on Sunday in a 27-0 loss to the Cleveland Browns, where only 58 total yards of offense were produced by the Cardinals.

Tune is expected to be replaced by Kyler Murray, who this week is at the end of his open practice window. He must be activated to the 53-man roster and off the physically unable to perform list to play against Atlanta.

For the Falcons, Ridder started the first eight games of the season but was replaced by Heinicke at halftime two weeks ago in a 28-23 loss to the Titans. The Falcons scored 20 points in the second half against the Titans with Heinicke leading the offense.

Heinicke said Sunday he wasn’t focused on who will start next week when the Falcons go to Arizona.

“I’m not really thinking about that right now. I’m still (upset) about the loss,” Heinicke said. “We will come in tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday and see what happens, but just still thinking about the game right now.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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