Football is officially back as the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons take each other on in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. Mile High Report have both Jess Place and Casey Barrett in the press box and on the field. This post will be updated by Jess throughout the game.
The Broncos will start Kevin Hogan in this game, but both Drew Lock and Brett Rypien will get some action in this first of five preseason games for Denver. Very few starters will be playing in this game, but the offensive line will see a few with Connor McGovern looking to improve his snapping and both Garett Bolles and rookie Dalton Risner seeing the field in this game.
With this being an extra preseason game, both teams are treating it like a scrimmage. It will be a good opportunity for many of the players fighting for a roster spot to get noticed by coaches, so it might not lack on the competitive side of things.
Stay tuned to Mile High Report all night as we cover the first Broncos game of the 2019 season!
Despite rising in the wee morning hours, managing surly flight attendants, and battling delays, your MHR Hall of Fame correspondents arrived midday to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Walking off the plane and through the terminal, the number of orange clad, Broncos Country faithfuls clamoring for transportation out of Cleveland was impressive.
So the Cleveland airport is crawling with Broncos fans.— Jess Place (@Jezru) August 1, 2019
The moment we parked at the Canton Fairgrounds parking lot for the shuttle over to the stadium, it was evident tonight’s friendly with Atlanta would be a Denver Broncos home game (despite their official designation to the contrary). Tailgating was in full effect and fans were ready for their first taste of Broncos football in what feels like forever.
Even though there were fans of other teams on the shuttle over to the stadium, the impromptu cheers were for Denver and they were emphatic. One small group of Packer fans begged for mercy... which was kindly granted by all and without protest... this time.
Make no mistake, this is not your typical preseason game. As I watch the stadium fill up from my perch, Broncos Country is going to be exceptionally well represented.
A whole lot of orange out there! Can someone double check that Denver is the visiting team? pic.twitter.com/MnAVdKsEaF— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) August 1, 2019
Who is ready for some Broncos football?!
The Broncos won the coin toss and received the ball first, but didn’t get things going on offense until the two teams traded punts to open up this game.
From there Kevin Hogan found Noah Fant for the first first down of the game that sparked a nice drive down out near the 20-yard line. Hogan overthrew a bit on a pass to Brendan Langley that looked like it was intercepted, but Langley got his hands in there and wrestled the ball away from the Falcons defender for the first down reception.
After a short run and an incompletion, Hogan was faced with a third and goal from the eight yard line. However, a defensive holding penalty put the Broncos in scoring position at the Falcons four yard line.
The very next play resulted in a four-yard touchdown run by Khalfani Muhammad to cap a 51-yard scoring drive.
Broncos 7, Falcons 0.
Touchdown Muhammad! The first touchdown of the preseason and it feels so good. 8 plays 51 yards. Broncos up 7-0.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) August 2, 2019
The Broncos defense stood strong in the first two series, but Brendan Langley made a critical mistake on a punt return. The resulting muff set the Falcons up with a solid field position on the Broncos side of the field.
The Falcons got close to field goal range, but then the Broncos defense pushed them back and out of that range to keep the lead at a touchdown. OLB Malik Reed was the notable player of the quarter notching a tackle for loss and he closed out the quarter with a Matt Schaub sack for a loss of 8-yards.
Ultimately the Falcons would get within range for a field goal, but whiffed on the 54-yard attempt.
Falcons field goal attempt by Tavecchio is no good. Broncos holding 7-0 in the second quarter.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) August 2, 2019
Kevin Hogan’s night was done. Broncos Country will get their first look at rookie second-round pick Drew Lock in live game action midway through the first quarter of this first preseason game.
Lock mostly struggled to do anything in his time in the second quarter. We’re getting why Head Coach Vic Fangio insists he has a ways to go before he is ready to compete for playing time.
The Broncos were officially the first team to challenge a defensive pass interference penalty and the first to lose said challenge. Even though there was jockeying for the ball by both players and the ball was overthrown, deference went to the penalty as called. It will be interesting to see how such challenges are adjudicated going forward.
With two minutes to go, Lock and the Broncos took over inside their own ten-yard line. However, the offense made sure to implement a death by inches approach to the two-minute offense. A miscommunication resulting in a wasted timeout, then a holding call, and a short run outside for five-yards setup a third and five with 1:47 left in the half.
The #Broncos OL as they finish the second.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) August 2, 2019
The death by inches continued as Lock came out of the time out with a delay of game to force a third and ten instead. The Broncos played for halftime at that point with a short inside run to punt it away.
The Falcons, on the other hand, wasted no time driving down the field for the tying touchdown to close out the half.
Broncos 7, Falcons 7.
The Falcons offense and defense pretty much dominated the third quarter as the rosters on each side began to fill with guys fighting for spots on the final 53-man team.
The first score came late with a driving stalling inside the five-yard line, but the field goal put the Falcons up over the Broncos.
Broncos defense holds Atlanta out of the end zone. 27-yard field goal is good. Falcons up 10-7 with 4:30 to play in the 3rd quarter.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) August 2, 2019
Falcons 10, Broncos 7.
After another quick offensive series led by rookie Drew Lock, the Falcons looked to add on their lead as they drove deep into Broncos territory late in the third quarter. Their quarterback (Google It) began whiffing on his throws and they punted to close out the quarter.
The biggest highlight of the fourth quarter until the very end came from the Broncos rookie third-round pick who made consecutive big plays. Dre’Mont Jones played really in that final quarter.
Brett Rypien was aided late in the game by a questionable pass interference call, but it stood and the Broncos drove all the way down into the red zone at the two-minute warning. From the Falcons 12 yard-line, the Broncos offense came up short. On a fourth and four with 1:40 left in the game, Rypien hit Kelvin McKnight on a crossing route at the one-yard line for the first down.
A holding penalty on the offensive line negated the play and from fourth and 14, Rypien threw a jump ball to rookie Juwann Winfree. The defender deflected the ball up and Winfree stayed focused on the ball for the touchdown reception.
Broncos beat the Falcons 14-10 in the NFL’s first preseason game.
Broncos 14, Falcons 10.