Boise State Football

Rypien’s NFL debut with the Denver Broncos starts rough but ends with a clutch TD

Brett Rypien highlights from 2018 Boise State Football season

Watch some of Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien's top plays from the 2018 season.
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Watch some of Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien's top plays from the 2018 season.

Brett Rypien’s first pass in the NFL nearly resulted in an interception.

But the former Boise State quarterback eventually redeemed himself by leading a game-winning touchdown drive in the Denver Broncos’ 14-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday in the NFL’s annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

On fourth-and-14 from the Atlanta 15, Rypien threw a pass to fellow rookie Juwann Winfree in the right corner of the end zone. Atlanta corner Ryan Neal tipped the pass, but Winfree came down with the football for the go-ahead score with 1:26 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“That was really Juwann making a play and me trying to let him go up and make one,” Rypien told the Denver Post. “It’s a play we look for our best 1-on-1 matchup, and he did a great job.”

Rypien was the third quarterback to enter the preseason game for Denver. He took the field with 11:49 left in the fourth quarter and the Broncos down 10-7. Rypien went 5-for-10 passing for 41 yards and one touchdown and a QB rating of 94.2. He was sacked once for a loss of 4 yards and ran 6 yards for a first down on his second series.

Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco did not suit up for Thursday’s preseason opener. Fourth-year pro Kevin Hogan got the start for the Broncos and played three series. Hogan connected on 5-of-8 passes for 37 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and a 73.4 QB rating.

Drew Lock, the Broncos’ 2019 second-round pick out of Missouri, took over under center with 13:01 left in the second quarter. Lock played the remainder of the first half but completed only 2-of-5 pass attempts for 18 yards. He also was sacked twice for a loss of 15 yards.

Lock started the second half for the Broncos and played into the fourth quarter. He connected on 7-of-11 pass attempts overall for 34 yards and a QB rating of 68.0.

Rypien’s first pass of the game was nearly intercepted across the middle of the field. His second pass was dropped and the third went for a 6-yard gain to Kelvin McKnight.

Two other Boise State standouts saw playing time in the Hall of Fame Game. Defensive lineman Billy Winn recorded two tackles for the Broncos but sustained an elbow injury and did not return. Rookie DE Durrant Miles batted down a pass and totaled two tackles for the Falcons.

Below is a list of players with Idaho ties currently on an NFL preseason roster:


LB, Kamalei Correa, No. 44 Tennessee Titans

DL, Tyrone Crawford, No. 98 Dallas Cowboys

CB, Donte Deayon, No. 27 Los Angeles Rams

QB, Ryan Finley, No. 5 Cincinnati Bengals

C, Marcus Henry, No. 61 New Orleans Saints

S, George Iloka, No. 20 Dallas Cowboys

DE, DeMarcus Lawrence, No. 90 Dallas Cowboys

OL, Charles Leno Jr., No. 72 Chicago Bears

RB, Doug Martin, No. 22 Oakland Raiders

RB, Alexander Mattison, No. 25 Minnesota Vikings

RB, Jeremy McNichols, No. 30 Tennessee Titans

DE, Durrant Miles, No. 48 Atlanta Falcons

WR, Sean Modster, No. 14 Baltimore Ravens

OL, Rees Odhiambo, No. 63 Arizona Cardinals

C, Matt Paradis (Council High), No. 61 Carolina Panthers

WR, A.J. Richardson, No. 83 Arizona Cardinals

QB, Brett Rypien, No. 4 Denver Broncos

CB, Orlando Scandrick, No. 45 Philadelphia Eagles

CB, Jamar Taylor, No. 8 Seattle Seahawks

S, Darian Thompson, No. 23 Dallas Cowboys

ILB, Tanner Vallejo, No. 48 Arizona Cardinals

LB, Leighton Vander Esch (Salmon River High), No. 55 Dallas Cowboys

WR, Cedrick Wilson, No. 16 Dallas Cowboys

DL, Billy Winn, No. 90 Denver Broncos


G/T, Jesse Davis, No. 77 Miami Dolphins

LB, Kaden Elliss, No. 55 New Orleans Saints

G, Mike Iupati, No. 70 Seattle Seahawks

DE, Benson Mayowa, No. 91 Oakland Raiders

RB, Elijhaa Penny, No. 39 New York Giants


T, Brian Fineanganofo, No. 67 Cleveland Browns

TE, Josh Hill (Blackfoot High), No. 89 New Orleans Saints

OL, Evan Smith, No. 62 Tampa Bay Buccaneers


DL, Eric Cotton (Columbia High), No. 59 Green Bay Packers

OLB, Porter Gustin (Emmett High), No. 58 New Orleans Saints

QB, Taysom Hill (Highland High), No. 7 New Orleans Saints

OL, Hugh Thornton (Boise/Mountain View High), No. 69 Washington Redskins

Notes: Running back Jay Ajayi (Boise State) is currently a free agent. … Free agent quarterback Brock Osweiler was born in Coeur d’Alene.

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Rachel Roberts has been covering sports for the Idaho Statesman since 2005. She attended Northwest Nazarene University and is Boise born and raised.