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Atlanta Falcons to start rookie QB Desmond Ridder, bench Marcus Mariota

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The Atlanta Falcons selected former Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI
The Atlanta Falcons selected former Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Falcons will bench veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota and start rookie Desmond Ridder when they return from their Week 14 bye.

Sources told NFL Network, The Athletic and ESPN about the move Thursday morning. Ridder was a third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He has yet to appear in a regular-season game.

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Mariota, 29, completed 61.3% of his passes for 2,219 yards, 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 13 starts this season for the Falcons. The former Tennessee Titans and Las Vegas Raiders quarterback also led the Falcons to a 5-8 record to start the season.

Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, completed 62.6% of his passes for 15,656 yards, 92 touchdowns and 54 interceptions in his previous 87 NFL appearances.

Ridder completed 34 of 56 passes for 431 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions this preseason for the Falcons.

The Falcons will face the New Orleans Saints at 1 p.m. EST Dec. 18 at the Caesars Superdome at New Orleans.

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