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Falcons 34, Broncos 27: A big lead protects from another late game meltdown

As always, it can never be easy.

Denver Broncos v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Falcons offense is a unit with talent that just can’t seem to find it’s stride with Dirk Koetter at the helm. The defense has been playing better and they’ll get to face a mostly mediocre QB in Drew Lock. Can Atlanta put another notch in the win column? Read on to find out how they did.

First quarter

After the Broncos win the toss and defer, the Atlanta offense starts from their own 25 with Matt Ryan connecting with Hayden Hurst for 11. Gurley is stopped cold and Julio Jones picks up 5 to setup 3rd and 5. Ryan hits Olamide Zaccheus who makes a great one hand catch for the first. Todd Gurley picks up 4 on the ground and explodes for 15 on the next carry. His first catch loses 4 and Hurst takes the catch for 7. On 3rd and 7 Ryan’s pass is tipped and falls incomplete. Younghoe Koo nails the 52 yard field goal for the early lead.

Falcons 3, Broncos 0

From their 20, Denver starts with a run by Phillip Lindsay for 3. Drew Lock completes the next pass to Noah Fant who picks up 32 yards and the first. Grady Jarrett blows up the line and Steven Means tackles Lindsay for a 5 yard loss. After Lock is pressured into a throwaway, on 3rd and 15 Lock checks down to DaeSean Hamilton for a 9 yard gain. The Broncos are forced to punt.

Starting from their 15, Atlanta gets 4 then 2 more on the ground from Gurley. Ryan finds Russell Gage for 6 and the first. Julio picks up 6, Gage gets 3 on a bubble screen and on 3rd and 1 Keith Smith picks up the 1st. Brian Hill runs for 3 and for 8 more. After a false start, Brandon Powell gains 4 on the end around. Ryan’s pass is batted down and on 3rd and 11 Ryan finds Zaccheus for a 51 yard touchdown bomb.

Falcons 10, Broncos 0

From their 24, Drew Lock connects with Jerry Jeudy for 15. Melvin Gordon picks up 3 on the carry and Lock finds K.J. Hamler for 12 and the first and the end of the quarter.

Falcons 10, Broncos 0

Second quarter

Gordon runs for 2 and Hamler picks up 20 on the end around. After great coverage by A.J. Terrell on Jeudy prevents a TD and Lock is pressured into an incomplete pass, on 3rd and 10 Lock targets Tim Patrick downfield but can’t connect. Brian McManus comes on and nails the 43 yard field goal.

Falcons 10, Broncos 3

Ryan can’t connect with Gage across the middle, he hits Christian Blake for 7 and on 3rd and 3 he finds Zaccheus for 5 and the first. Julio gets 12 and Gurley is stopped for a 3 yard loss. On 2nd and 13, Ryan finds Zaccheus deep down the right sideline for a 42 yard gain and the first. After an incomplete pass and a run by Gurley for 4, on 3rd and 6 Matt Ryan finds Brandon Powell for the 9 yard touchdown.

Falcons 17, Broncos 3

After the return comes out to the 30, the Broncos offense starts with Foye Oluokun sacking Lock. Lindsay runs for 5 and on 3rd and 15 Lock passes to Gordon who only picks up 9. Broncos are forced to punt.

After the punt comes out to the 15, the Atlanta offense starts with a run by Hill for 4 followed by a reception by Hurst for 7. Ryan shovel passes to Luke Stocker who picks up 11 and Hill runs for 8. His next run loses 2 and on 3rd and 6 Ryan targets Julio who gets the easy defensive pass interference call. Julio takes a short pass and turns it into 11 by killing a man. Hill loses 2 on the ground and Ryan finds Christian Blake deep downfield to put Atlanta in the red zone. Gurley runs for 3 and after an incomplete pass, Ryan is sacked on 3rd down. Koo punches in the field goal to extend the lead.

Falcons 20, Broncos 3

With a little under 2 minutes left and starting from their 30, Lock hits Jeudy for 6. After a throwaway, Lock finds Hamler across the middle for 10 and the conversion. Neal nearly kills Hamler, Gordon runs for 1 and on 3rd and 9 Lock has to throw it away after being pressured. Denver punts.

With 30 seconds left and 3 timeouts, the Falcons kneel us out to the second half.

Falcons 20, Broncos 3

Third quarter

From the 23, the Broncos offense starts with a pass to Jeudy for 13. Lindsay gets 5 on the ground and Lock goes deep for Jeudy, but Kendall Sheffield is called for pass interference, giving Denver the 1st. Lindsay picks up 6 on the run and is tackled for no gain to setup 3rd and 4. Lock connects with Tim Patrick for the 1st. After an incomplete deep shot and a run by Gordon for 3, on 3rd and 7 Jacob Tuioti-Mariner applies pressure and Lock throws incomplete. McManus nails the 41 yard field goal.

Falcons 20, Broncos 6

The Falcons drive starts from the 25 with Ryan looking for Zaccheus deep again but he’s picked off by Justin Simmons.

The Broncos take over and Drew Lock appears to throw an incomplete pass, but after an initial ruling of it being a fumble and recovery by Atlanta, it’s overturned. Lock finds Jeudy for 3 and on 3rd and 7 Lock scrambles but is tackled 3 yards short. Denver punts.

The Falcons offense picks up 2 on the ground from Gurley and another 6 on the screen to Gurley, but a roughing the passer penalty gives Atlanta 15 and the 1st. Gurley muscles for 6 and Hurst catches the ball for a loss, but Denver is flagged for the shot to the head of Hurst for another 15 yards and the first. Ryan scrambles 12 yards for the first and Gurley runs for 3 more. On 2nd and 7, Ryan hits Julio Jones for the 21 yard touchdown.

Falcons 27, Broncos 6

After the return and a holding penalty, Denver starts on their 18 with an incomplete pass. Lock scrambles for 4 and on 3rd and 6 Lock connects with Albert Okwuegbunam for 7 and the 1st. After Lock is pressured into a throwaway that ends up being intentional grounding. On 2nd and 21, Gordon runs for 8. On 3rd and 13, Fant gets the reception but a great tackle by Isaiah Oliver stops it at 3 yards. Denver punts.

From the Falcons 18, Brian Hill runs for 3. He picks up 4 more and on 3rd and 3 Ryan can’t connect with Gage downfield. Falcons punt.

Broncos offense starts with another incomplete pass after Lock is pressured. Lindsay runs for 4 and on 3rd and 6 Lock connects with Jeudy for 6 and the conversion. He finds Jeudy downfield for a big gain of 24 yards. Gordon is stopped for a short gain and we head to the end of the quarter.

Falcons 27, Broncos 6

Fourth quarter

Lindsay picks up 5 and on 3rd and 3 Hamilton catches it at the marker for the 1st. Lock can’t connect with Jeudy and a scramble by Lock gains 5. On 3rd and 5, Lock hits Jeudy for a 20 yard touchdown.

Falcons 27, Broncos 13

After the touchback, the Atlanta offense starts with a pass to Hurst for 10 and the quick conversion. Gurley runs for 3 and Ryan finds Hurst over the middle for 18 and the first. Ryan is sacked on first down and on 2nd and 16 Gurley runs for 1. On 3rd and 15 Ryan can’t connect after being blitzed. Falcons punt.

On the first play, Lock is pressured and Ricardo Allen picks him off at the 30 yard line.

From the Denver 12, Ryan finds Hurst for 8 yards. Todd Gurley finishes the drive with the 4 yard run for the touchdown.

Falcons 34, Broncos 13

From their 25, the Denver offense starts with a big gain by Hamler for 26 yards. After an incomplete pass and a short gain of 4 by Hamler, on 3rd and 6 Lock couldn’t connect with Patrick down the right sideline. On 4th down, Lock is pressured and can’t connect with Hamler in the end zone. Turnover on downs.

With a 21 point lead and 7 minutes left, the Atlanta offense goes to Gurley for 3 on the ground. After the pass to Hurst loses 4 yards, Ryan’s pass to Hill goes through his hands. Atlanta punts.

With 5:38 minutes left, the Broncos get a nice scramble by Lock for 15 yards. Noah Fant takes his pass for 11 yards and the first. An incomplete pass is offset by defensive pass interference on Darqueze Dennard. Lock is pressured by Oluokun into an incomplete pass and is followed by 11 yards gained by Nick Vannett. Jeudy can’t pull in the end zone catch and Lock scrambles for 8 to setup 3rd and 2. Lock hits Tim Patrick for 9 yards and the touchdown.

Falcons 34, Broncos 20

The Falcons recover the onside kick (hooray) and the offense comes out and starts their drive with a run by Gurley for no gain. After a pass to Christian Blake gains 3, on 3rd and 7 Ryan scrambles around and can’t complete the pass to Hurst. Atlanta punts.

From their 18, Lock completes a pass to Hamler for 2 yards. Hamler picks up the first down and Keanu Neal is called for head hunting. Lock then finds Jeudy deep down the left sideline and the Broncos are inside the 15. The pass to Patrick puts them inside the 10 and we hit the 2 minute warning. After the break, Drew Lock scrambles for the TD.

Falcons 34, Broncos 27

The Falcons recover the onside kick again. Thankfully. Gurley runs for 4 and Denver burns their last timeout. After another two Gurley runs and a penalty on the offense, Atlanta punts again, leaving 45 seconds on the clock.

The Denver offense starts from their 20 with an incomplete pass after a great play by Dennard. Lock is pressured and can’t connect with Lindsay. On 3rd and 10 Lock is hit while trying to throw but it’s called incomplete. On the 4th down play, Atlanta recovers a fumble and the game finally comes to a close.

Final: Falcons 34, Broncos 27