Turned in, at least for a much-needed win on a Thursday night in October, the ninth time was the Magic of the Denver Bronco.
Brett Ripan, the ninth midfielder who started a game for the Broncos since the start of the 2017 season, and the same man who spent all of the last season and most of the first part of that season on the team’s coaching team, was the man who could do enough to get Denver their first win this season.
Rypien seemed like a prodigy at times, and each time the midfielder was in his NFL debut in other moments as the Broncos won 37-28 Thursday night at MetLife to move to 1-3.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio said, “Well, it was ups and downs. Obviously I thought there were some good things. We had some big plays, which is always important. By throwing three interceptions, you won’t win many times in this league, but we found.” Way to win tonight though.
Rypien, who was told by Fangio Monday night that he would start the game three days later, finished 19 of 31 lanes of 242 yards to go with two touchdowns and three interceptions, with two picks returning – back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter and one of them returning to landings by Pierre Desière with 10 remaining: 45 per match.
“It was a long week for sure, I definitely felt it, even though it was a short week,” said Repien. “But it was great to get out there … I’m really proud of the men who fought through all the adversity to win.”
Although Desire was Repin’s worst decision of the match, he took a deliberate penalty in the final minutes that came perilously close to pushing kicker Brandon McManus out of range that gave Bronco the lead forever. , Rypien earned generally good grades for his night work. In addition to winning, he also managed one of the Bronco’s toughest tasks this season: avoiding the sack in a foul that allowed 13 bags in the last two matches and did not surrender to the planes on Thursday evening.
Not because of a lack of effort on the Jets’ part, as Defense Coordinator Greg Williams clearly tried to shake Ripen early and often with a variety of lightning attacks. Planes also crossed the line at times with six character faults in the game, including several fouls on Ripian and two in the final seconds of the match.
The visibly angry Fangio led his team off the field after the final – kneeling by Rypien – and it seemed that Fangio’s coach Adam Gas and Gates did not shake hands. Fangio and Gase previously worked together on the Chicago Bears coaching staff.
Fangio said, “Well, there were two personal mistakes at the end, and our margin was angry with that. And I just wanted to avoid any confrontation at the end of the match and make it ugly there. So, I tried to convince our men to leave quickly, just to avoid anything happening there. I thought that was it. The wise thing to do.
“They definitely took a few shots late … that’s in our favor,” said Repien.
Rypien was the third midfielder to start in the Broncos’ four matches this season, with Drew Locke suffering a shoulder injury in his second week’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jeff Dressel struggling in a third week’s loss to the Tampa Bay Pirates.
The Broncos’ coaches, including Fangio and attack coordinator Pat Shurmore, liked the way the Broncos handled himself, particularly at how quickly he delivered the ball, in the Bronco’s last possession against the Pirates. The Broncos also had a lot of their own, since Rypien arrived as an illicit rookie right after the 2019 draft and the coaches saw him in two bootcamps.
“I think first and foremost we did win, and that was the goal we got to tonight. That’s what I wanted to do. That feels really good … I think we got the win tonight, and I feel good about it,” said Repien.
The biggest change for Broncos, who entered NFL No. 30 in scoring and 29th in overall attack, was Rypien pushing the ball down the field early in the match. He hit a 48-yard touch ball in front of broadcaster Jerry Judy in the second quarter – Jodi jumped and grabbed the ball away from Desire – and hit Tim Patrick at 40 yards later in the quarter.
According to NextGen Stats, these two releases put Rypien short-listed with Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady as mediators with two completions this season of at least 40 air yards.
Rypien hit nine of his first 11 passes at 141 yards, and by the end of the third quarter, he was 15 of 21 at 187 yards with two touchdowns.
Some things collapsed for Repin when Gates intercepted him in back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter to convert the Bronco’s 27-18 lead into a 28-27 Jett lead just over six minutes earlier.
But Rypien, with the help of a face mask on a Jets defensive streak sack, Quinnen Williams in the 3rd and 6th match, led a field goal campaign that included a 31-yard pass to Patrick to give the Bronco the 30-28 lead. Rypien said the coverage on the play was the same as the coverage provided by Jets in Choosing Desir.
“And we managed to get Tim to the sideline there,” said Repian.
The Broncos final score came on a 48-yard landing run by Melvin Gordon with 1:48 playable.
With Locke expected to miss at least one more game – in New England on October 11th – his closest comeback could be October 18th against Miami. However, since only Lock’s shoulder was injured, Fangio said, Lock would not return to the squad if there was any doubt about the injury.
The Broncos also signed veteran midfielder Blake Bortles last week. And while Fangio did not commit to starting Rypien against the Patriots, Thursday’s win definitely helps the cause.
Fangio said, “I mean, yeah, we have some extra days here to think about it.”[We’ll] Take a look at the tape well, analyze it and follow what we think is the best.