Written by Adrian Beecher
Atlanta, GA – The Atlanta Falcons regained their lead 21-16 over New Orleans with 12 minutes left in the 3rd quarter as Matt Ryan found Calvin Ridley in the back of the end zone for the score.
This marked Ridleys 3rd receiving TD of the game, setting a new Falcons franchise record for receiving TD’s in a game by a rookie. It also ties the all-time franchise record for TD’s in a game, as the Falcons have never had a receiver haul in 4 TDs in a single game.
Ridley’s first TD of the game was an 18-yard dime from Matt Ryan to open up the scoring for the Falcons, tying the game at 7 with 2:45 left in the 1st quarter. Then his 2nd one came with 2:12 left in the 1st half as Ryan found Ridley running open down the right sideline beating out Saints CB Marcus Williams.
Ridley’s 3-TD performance joined in the legendary moments of the great Randy Moss as one of the few rookies to haul in 3 TD’s in a game. Moss did it on Thanksgiving back in 1998 with three catches all going for TD’s and 154 yards. Ironically, Moss drew a 50-yard pass interference call in the game. Ridley drew a similar call in Sunday’s game that was for enforced for 45 yards early in the 3rd quarter. This led to Ridley’s 3rd TD.
Its been a while since the last rookie hauled in three TD’s. Odel Beckham Jr. did it for the Giants in 2014 his rookie year, against Washington.
Ridley finished the game with 7 catches on 8 targets for 146 yards and the 3 TD’s, with the 75 yarder in the 2nd quarter being the longest.