Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Done for the Year

The Atlanta Falcons are about to get a good look at their third-round rookie quarterback. Head coach Arthur Smith declared at his Wednesday press conference that starting quarterback Marcus Mariota will undergo knee surgery and will be placed on injured reserve, effectively ending his season.

Mariota suffered a knee injury in the Falcons' Week 13 19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Falcons had their bye in Week 14, so they've had plenty of time to evaluate his situation. Placing Mariota on IR will guarantee he misses the final four games of the season. He had started all 13 games for the Falcons this year.

At 5-8, the Falcons are still right in the playoff hunt in the struggling NFC South. Winning their next three games against the New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, and Arizona Cardinals could easily render the division on the line when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 18. If rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder can get off to a hot start, the Falcons may just find themselves hosting a playoff game in January.

Mariota joined the Falcons via free agency earlier this year. He has lingered in the league as an occasional starter and tantalizing backup ever since the Tennessee Titans took him second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. He'll end his first season with the Falcons with 2219 passing yards and 438 rushing yards. He'll probably have to settle for another backup role next season.

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