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Vic Fangio not yet ready to commit to giving Brett Rypien another start

Zac Stevens Avatar
October 2, 2020

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — On Thursday night, in front of the entire country on national television, Brett Rypien accomplished something no other Broncos quarterback has done this season; He won a game.

Before suffering a bruised shoulder in Week 2, Drew Lock failed to lead Denver to a victory.

In his lone start in Week 3, Jeff Driskel wasn’t able to pick up a win.

But in his first career NFL start on Thursday Night Football, the undrafted quarterback from Boise State pulled off the road victory against the former No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold.

After leading the Broncos to their first win of the season, Rypien is poised to be their quarterback at least for another game, right?


Not so fast.

“Yeah, we’ve got some extra days here to think about it and take a look at the tape and thoroughly analyze it and go with what we think is best,” Vic Fangio said when asked if he would start Rypien again after the Broncos first win of the season on Thursday night.

On one hand, the Broncos not only secured their first win of the season with their second-year quarterback, but they also dropped 37 points on the board — the most they’ve put up this season by far. In fact, they blew their previous high (21) out of the water.

On the other hand, Rypien’s dreadful fourth quarter almost allowed the Jets to win their first game of the season.

“It was up and down obviously,” Fangio said after the game, talking about Rypien’s performance. “I thought there were some good things and we hit some big plays which are always important. But then throwing three interceptions, you’re not going to win many times in this league. But we found a way to win tonight in spite of that, which I think is a reflection of the fight we have in this team and with these players.”

In the first three quarters, Rypien was magnificent in his debut as he went 15-of-21 for 187 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. At the end of the third, the Broncos had a 24-16 lead and were in a position to kick another field goal to take a two-possession lead.

However, the fourth quarter wasn’t kind to the 24-year old one bit. In the final quarter, Rypien went 4-of-10 for 55 yards with two interceptions — one which went for a touchdown — and had a passer rating of 18.8. The Broncos saw their early-fourth quarter lead of nine turn into a 28-27 Jets lead with 6:33 left in the game.

Rypien bounced back, leading the Broncos to a go-ahead field goal drive with 3:13 left before Melvin Gordon capped off the win with a 43-yard touchdown run to give the Broncos the 37-28 win over the Jets.

“I think he’s a good operator of an offense,” Fangio said after the game, explaining why he started Rypien on Thursday night. “Handles the operation well from the huddle all the way to the snap directing things. Just thought we needed to settle down a bit and give him a chance to see how he would do.”

Despite the three interceptions, the Broncos’ offense was more settled down under Rypien than it had been the past two games. Rypien wasn’t sacked a single time on Thursday night, which was a drastic difference from the 13 sacks the Broncos had allowed in the previous two games combined.

Additionally, the Broncos put up a season-high 37 points under Rypien.

But, with extra days to prepare for their Week 5 game against the New England Patriots, Fangio wasn’t ready to commit to the undrafted quarterback just yet.

If Lock isn’t ready to return, the decision will likely come down to Rypien or Blake Bortles — who the team signed on Sept. 24 and was inactive his first two games with Denver.

Rypien’s 67.6 passer rating wasn’t good enough for Fangio to immediately commit to him for another start after Thursday’s win. But it will be hard to ignore the 37 points, and victory, Rypien led the Broncos to as Fangio and his staff mull over who will be their starter at the most important position in sports.

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