Just rippin’ it: Brett Rypien ropes Broncos first win of season in NFL starting debut

Photo courtesy: Ben Swanson/Denver Broncos

Brett Rypien was rippin’ the ball all over the field without fear.

The 24-year-old helped guide the Broncos to the team’s first win of the 2020 season in his NFL debut as a starting quarterback. Rypien completed 19-of-31 pass attempts for 242 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in Denver’s 37-28 victory against the now 0-4 New York Jets on Thursday Night Football.

“It was great to get out there and get my first experience in an NFL game; I’m really proud of the guys for fighting through all the adversity tonight to get the win,” Rypien said in a video conference post-game.

“He’s a good operator of an offence, handles the operation from the huddle all the way to the snap directing things. Just thought we needed to settle down a little bit and give him a chance to see how he would do,” head coach Vic Fangio said.

Rypien became the first NFL QB since San Francisco 49ers starter Jim Druckenmiller to record a win after being intercepted three times. On the flip side, Rypien joins Daniel Jones as the only pivots to lead a fourth quarter, game-winning drive in their first career start since 2017.

“Well, it was up and down. I thought there was some good things. We hit some big plays, which is always important. 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,” Fangio said.

Jerry Jeudy provided a major confidence boost for Rypien. The 2020 first-round, 15th overall draft pick made a jaw-dropping catch for his first career touchdown, which was also the first TD toss of Rypien’s career. Jeudy took the ball way from Pierre Desir for a 48-yard touchdown and put Denver ahead 10-7 in the second quarter.

“I just went to go get it and took it out of his hands,” Jeudy said regarding the grab that NBA superstar LeBron James tweeted about. “It means a lot, LeBron James, that’s levels right there.”

“That was a big catch by Jerry, that’s just a one-on-one situation, I just tried to give him a shot and he went up and made a play,” Rypien said.

Tim Patrick was the favourite target of Rypien’s in the game. He was targeted seven times and made six catches for 113 yards with one touchdown. The tandem connected for a 40-yard deep ball which setup Melvin Gordon’s first rushing touchdown.

“Very impressed. My go ball it was just right there, I tracked it late, it just fell in my lap, impossible to drop. Even my touchdown, he found a way to fit it in,” Patrick said.

“In those tight areas, anytime I get a one-on-one with him or in the red zone, I feel comfortable that he’s going to make a play,” Rypien said.

With two minutes left and Denver driving leading by two, Rypien handed to Gordon who bounced off a pile on the right, cut all the way back to the left, picked up a block from his quarterback, and took it 43 yards for the game-sealing touchdown. Gordon had 23 carries for 107 yards, his first time over the century mark this season, and two touchdowns.

“I just saw it getting wadded up in there and he came out the backside of it. That’s just me trying to make a play for the team at a point we needed some extra points to seal it,” Rypien said.

“I don’t know if it was a great block, I just tried to get in his way.”

Rypien was the third different starter for the Broncos already this season. Denver hasn’t used three starting QBs within the first four games of a season since 1968. Add to that, Rypien was the third different signal caller to make his first NFL start while playing for Fangio’s Broncos. The major question: does Rypien start again next week?

“We got some extra days to think about it, take a look at the tape, thoroughly analyze it, and go with what we think’s best,” Fangio said.

“We’ll see, that’s not up to me,” Rypien said. I’m just going to enjoy this win tonight.”

Unlike his Super Bowl-winning Canadian uncle, Mark Rypien, the latest Rypien to start in the NFL won his first time out. The elder Rypien lost 30-21 to the Cardinals in Week 4 of the 1988 season.

Rypien is hoping he impressed enough to earn another starting assignment in Week 5 when Denver (1-3) travels to New England (2-1) for a matchup with Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.