The Denver Broncos finally got their first win of the season. With many fans agonizing whether this would mark the second straight 0-4 loss to open the Vic Fangio era, the Broncos came through in Week 4 and beat the New York Jets 37-28.
A big reason for that was Brett Rypien. As a second-year quarterback, Rypien made his first NFL start on Thursday, doing so on a short-week turnaround with no practice reps and on a brutal, late East Coast start time.
It was a far from perfect performance but without Rypien, the Broncos don’t find a way to win that 4game. By virtue of the win, though, he carved himself out a nice slice of Broncos history.
Rypien became just the fifth quarterback in franchise history to lead a fourth-quarter comeback in his first career start.
Nice work. And it almost didn’t happen. After establishing a two-score lead, Rypien squandered it on back-to-back possessions with an interception, one of which was returned to the house by Jets corner Pierre Desir.
Many young quarterbacks one year removed from going undrafted would have gone into a shell, after losing the lead in the fourth quarter. Not Rypien.
He stayed poised and the moment wasn’t too big. Trailing by two points, and facing another 3rd-&-7 at the four-minute mark, Rypien hit wideout Tim Patrick for a massive 31-yard gain down the left sideline, which put the Broncos in position for a Brandon McManus 53-yard field goal, wresting back the one-point lead.
That put the onus on Jets QB Sam Darnold and the Broncos defense. However, thanks to some solid play in the secondary and a great fourth-down sack from Bradley Chubb, this time, Denver got the defensive stop it needed.
The Broncos would score one more touchdown on the ensuing possession. Although it was a 43-yard scamper by running back Melvin Gordon, Rypien had an influence on it happening.
Gordon got bottled up on the inside carry, but bounced it outside. Recognizing the daylight and angle, Rypien jumped out in front of his back, serving as the lead blocker and doing just enough to obfuscate the Jets defensive back’s path to the ball-carrier. Touchdown.
All-in, Rypien finished 19-of-31 for 242 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions. He’s going to have to clean up those picks but it was a nice debut for the young signal-caller.
Rypien sent the message up the Broncos chain of command that GM John Elway need not trifle with the Jeff Driskels and Blake Bortleses of the world. Rypien can be the long-term backup to Drew Lock.