Final Score: Atlanta 27, Denver 21
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Matt Ryan threw for 219 yards and two
touchdowns as the Atlanta Falcons withstood a fourth-quarter rally by the
Denver Broncos to take a 27-21 victory on Monday.
Ryan completed 24-of-36 passes and improved to 27-4 in regular-season games at
the Georgia Dome in his career.
Roddy White led all receivers with eight catches for 102 yards and a
touchdown, while Tony Gonzalez hauled in seven passes for 70 yards and a score
for the Falcons (2-0).
"It's only two games. We got a long season so we just got to take the win and
improve," Gonzalez said.
Michael Turner rushed for 42 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, including a
15-yard gain late in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Peyton Manning went 24-of-37 through the air for 241 yards and a touchdown,
but could not overcome three first-quarter interceptions for Denver (1-1).
Willis McGahee carried the ball 22 times for 113 yards and two scores in the
The Broncos entered the fourth quarter trailing, 27-7, but quickly cut into
their deficit when McGahee powered across the goal line from two yards out
with 11:48 remaining in the game.
Denver would later get the ball back at the Atlanta 45-yard line after the
Falcons were forced to punt from inside their own end zone, and Manning found
Eric Decker for an 18-yard gain on the first play to move the ball deep into
After converting a 3rd-and-1 at the 18-yard line with a 3-yard run by McGahee,
the running back converted a 4th-and-goal at the 2-yard line with a rush into
the end zone to bring Denver within 27-21 with 3:25 left.
However, the Broncos would not see the ball again as Ryan converted a 3rd-
and-5 with a 6-yard pass to Julio Jones on a crossing route over the middle
just before the two-minute warning.
Two plays later, Turner reeled off a 15-yard gain to the right side to burn
the Broncos' final time out, allowing Ryan to kneel the ball twice to kill off
the remainder of the clock.
"I felt like had we gotten the ball back, I thought we had a chance to go down
there and score," manning said. "We certainly had a little momentum going our
way and Atlanta did a good job of converting on that third down there in the
Denver received the ball first, but William Moore intercepted Manning on the
third play of the drive and returned it 33 yards down the Broncos 1-yard line.
On 3rd-and-goal, Turner rushed up the middle and leaped over the pile for a
Manning suffered the same fate as the first drive on the Broncos' next touch,
as Thomas DeCoud stepped in front of a deep pass over the middle and took the
ball to the Denver 43.
The Falcons, though, were forced to settle for Matt Bryant's 37-yard field
goal after Jones failed to hang on to a pass on the left side of the end zone
to make it 10-0, just over five minutes into the game.
The Broncos seemed to find their offensive rhythm on the ensuing possession,
marching across midfield to the Atlanta 40-yard line, but Robert McClain
recorded Manning's third interception of the first quarter on a deep pass
attempt and returned it 32 yards to the Falcons 47.
Denver later suffered its fourth turnover of the first quarter following a
series of punts when Stephen Nicholas punched the ball away from backup
running back Knowshon Moreno, giving the Falcons the ball at their own 17-
Bryant was true on a 42-yard field goal at the end of an 11-play drive that
stretched into the second quarter for a 13-0 advantage.
"A great job by our defense turning the football over. Three picks early,
that's huge," said Ryan. "We need to do a better job offensively scoring
touchdowns off those turnovers."
After a Broncos' punt, Ryan connected on passes of 16 and 15 yards to White
and Gonzalez, respectively, before finishing off a 7-play, 73-yard drive with
a 1-yard touchdown pass to Gonzalez with less than five minutes left in the
Denver was able to get on the board on the ensuing drive as a defensive
holding penalty on Atlanta on a 4th-and-1 at the Falcons 43-yard line kept the
drive alive, and Demaryius Thomas capped the 13-play, 80-yard march with a 17-
yard catch on the left side of the end zone.
The play was initially called an incomplete pass, but a review showed Thomas
was able to sweep his second foot against the turf before getting pushed out
of bounds, bringing the Broncos within 20-7 at the break.
"We put ourselves in a hole. I thought we could find a little momentum there
and find some rhythm, which we did," said Manning. "I think we will learn from
it and I think we'll be better for it."
The teams traded punts over the first two possessions of the second half until
White highlighted a 6-play, 64-yard drive with catches of 21 and 20 yards
before grabbing a 4-yard score on the left side of the end zone.
Ryan's touchdowns pass to White was the 100th of his career ... Jones finished
with four receptions for 14 yards ... Thomas had eight catches for 78 yards
and a touchdown, while Decker contributed four receptions for 53 yards ...
Denver leads the all-time series between the teams, 8-5 ... The Broncos
recorded 336 yards of total offense, compared to 275 for Atlanta.
09/18 01:50:09 ET
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