After a college career with the Boise State Broncos, Brett Rypien threw the Hall of Fame Game winner for the NFL’s Denver Broncos in his first preseason action Thursday night against Atlanta.
The wide out on the receiving end of the Rypien’s 15-yard pass was Juwann Winfree, who played college ball at the University of Colorado 36 minutes away from Denver’s Mile High Stadium.
Although Rypien-to-Winfree provided the W, Denver’s win wouldn’t have been possible without a late interception.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Schaub started the game in place of Matt Ryan. He was forced back into the game for Atlanta when third string quarterback Kurt Benkert got hurt.
After a Broncos punt, Schaub and the Falcons took over at their own 23-yard line. On third down, Schaub was hit as he threw, and Trey Johnson dove and picked off the Atlanta QB.
Rypien and the Broncos nearly scored on 4th and 4, but a penalty forced them into a 4th and 14 predicament. The game-winning pass to Winfree was tipped, but he lunged for the ball and caught it.
In the first half, it was slow going for both offenses. Halfway through the first quarter the Broncos got on the board with the first NFL touchdown of the new season.
Former Cal Golden Bear Khalfani Muhammad scored on a 3-yard run up the middle. Denver led 7-0 until the last Atlanta drive of the opening 30 minutes.
Benkert found running back Brian Hill uncovered for a 1-yard touchdown pass. The Falcons tied the game at 7-7 right before the half ended with 18 seconds remaining.
Preseason Week 1 officially begins next week. The Seattle Seahawks open up their preseason in the northwest when they battle these same Broncos on Aug. 8.
- The game saw the first Pass Interference call challenged.
- Denver head coach Vic Fangio last Friday said, with a smile, he would be the first coach to challenge PI. Fangio held to that “promise” when he challenged a defensive PI call against his Broncos late in the second quarter. Fangio lost the challenge.
- Many starters, for both Atlanta and Denver, did not play.
- Notables for the Falcons: QB Matt Ryan, RB Devonta Freeman and WR Julio Jones.
- Notables for Denver: QB Joe Flacco, RB (and former Oregon Duck) Royce Freeman, DE/OLB Von Miller.