With all odds against them, the Denver Broncos found themselves backed into a corner by injuries heading to Atlanta. Earlier this week, they signed running back Tatum Bell to help give them some depth at running back voided by injury.
Also, with two linebackers out, the Broncos decided to start fullback Spencer Larsen at middle linebacker and fullback becoming the first player in team history to play both ways, offensively and defensively. Somehow through all the adversity, Mike Shanahan and this Broncos team held off a red hot Atlanta Falcons team, giving them their first home loss of the season 24-20.
Losing a total of five running backs this season, Denver turned to a running by committee scheme early and it prevailed. Peyton Hillis made the first start of his career with 10 carries for 44 yards with two touchdowns. P.J. Pope also helped handle the running load by gaining 35 yards off 4 carries.
Jay Cutler kept play consistent throwing 19/27 pass attempts for 216 yards and a score. Matt Ryan also had a solid game through the air going for 250 yards off of 20 completions.
With just a little over 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Michael Turner capped off a 28 yard touchdown to put the Falcons ahead 20-17. But Jay Cutler and the Denver offense fought back going on a 10 play, 83 drive proving to be the difference in this game.
The play of the game came on a pass from Cutler to Brandon Marshall who broke off a 47 yard run to help set up a game winning score. Daniel Graham caught a 9 yard touchdown pass with a little over 5 minutes left in the game to put the Broncos on top for good.
Denver was able to hold off a late run by the Falcons and stop them on 4th and 18. With this loss, Atlanta falls to 6-4, 3rd in the NFC South and into 7th place in the NFC overall. Denver advances to 6-4, 1st in the AFC West and into 4th place in the AFC overall.
Atlanta– Roddy White led all receivers with 5 receptions for 105 yards. Michael Turner compiled 25 carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Ryan threw his first interception at home, intercepted by Dre Bly.
Denver– Tatum Bell rushed for 34 yards off 7 carries in his return to the Broncos. Brandon Marshall led the team in receiving with 6 receptions for 89 yards. Champ Bailey did not play due to an aggravated groin injury.