The Atlanta Falcons owned the first quarter, putting the Denver Broncos on their heels early. Paxton Lynch got the Broncos going on offense to close the quarter, however.
C.J. Anderson would run the ball on the next play to within one yard for the first down, but would be stuffed on third down. The Broncos went for it on fourth down with an inside handoff to Andy Janovich who was able to convert.
Lynch on a bootleg didn’t like what he saw, so he ran it for three yards. Demaryius Thomas would draw the pass interference call on the next play to put the Broncos into the red zone.
The Falcons defense stiffened to setup a third and nine. Lynch would misfire on an overthrow to Emmanuel Sanders in the end zone. Sanders was opened and it was a huge missed opportunity. Brandon McManus comes out to get the Broncos on the board. The Falcons led 10-3 at that point.
Matt Ryan would just miss an open Julio Jones fifty yards down field, but Chris Harris Jr. would get himself a nice pass defense on the next throw to setup a third and ten. Ryan would overthrow Jones again. Falcons went three and out, which is just what the Broncos needed.
A facemask on Lynch would put the Broncos out to the Falcons 35 yard line to get their drive going. Devontae Booker with a nifty five yard run on first down and another four yard run on second down set the Broncos up with a manageable third and short. A slow developing run play caused Anderson to be stuffed at the line of scrimmage to force a punt.
From inside their own ten, the Falcons would try to get their run game going again. A short run by Devonta Freeman setup Tevin Coleman for an outside run for nearly 20 yards.
Freeman would be stopped on the next play by Brandon Marshall, but would then break a tackle on Todd Davis for a short pass that resulted in a first down. Freeman ripped off another six yard run on the next play and the Falcons offense seemed to be developing some rhythm.
After another first down run by Freeman, he would take a run up the middle for a few yards to get the Falcons across midfield. On second and six, Freeman was stopped by Von Miller at the line for a one yard gain.
On third down, Corey Nelson held Freeman for the automatic first down. A few plays later, on third and one Coleman was stopped short behind the line and a missed tackle allowed him to rush up the first down marker. From fourth and inches, after a failed challenge, Ryan lunged forward for the first down.
After an incompletion, Freeman would be stopped for a short gain to setup third and eight. With six defensive backs, the Broncos defense came up big with a third down stop to force the field goal attempt to put the Falcons up 13-3.
Cody Latimer stupidly ran the ball out to set the Broncos up with poor field possession at their own 16 yard line. After an incompletion, Lynch would have the ball stripped from his hands. Fortunately, he fell on it. On third and 18, the predictable draw play would set up the Broncos for a punt.
Falcons 13, Broncos 3.