Canton- The NFL started its 100th season with the Hall of Fame game on Thursday. The Atlanta Falcons and the Denver Broncos squared away with both teams rebuilding from disappointing seasons looking for a positive spark to build momentum with the upcoming season.
The Broncos struck first blood with a 4-yard scamper by Khalfani Muhammad. However, after a three and out and good field position, the Broncos punt returner muffed the punt and gave the ball back to the Falcons. The Falcons had good field position after the turnover, but couldn’t gain 20 yards to get into field goal territory.
Denver’s QB Kevin Hogan, who is fighting for a backup role did okay. On short passes, he was accurate with getting the ball out of hands, but his deep-ball accuracy needs to improve. He finished the half 5/8 for 37 yards.
The Broncos’ defense kept the Falcons from getting into the RedZone majority of the first half, but with 20 seconds left in the second quarter, the Falcons scored off Denver’s broken coverage. Kurt Benkert is trying to make the team and has done pretty well in the first half for the Falcons. He ended the half 12 of 19 for 118 yards with a touchdown.
The score at the half was tied 7-7.
In the second half, Benkert kept the momentum up. He was reading the Broncos’ defense pretty well and made the right reads, however, he missed two opportunities in the red zone with misreading his wide receivers in the end zone. The Falcons had to resort to a field goal and made it a 10-7 game.
Early in the fourth quarter, Benkurt left the game with an apparent toe injury and did not return. Matt Schaub went in the game for Benkert. Schaub struggled to find his rhythm and threw a crucial interception late in the 4th quarter.
The Broncos took advantage of the short field and a pass interference call that put the ball at the 11-yard line of the Falcons. With a long fourth and down and the game on the line, Juwann Winfree caught a deflected pass in the end zone to put the Broncos up 14-10.
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