Football is back — kind of.
The Hall of Fame game kicked off the NFL season Thursday and it was what you would expect. There were a lot of penalties and some poorly thrown balls and blown coverages.
But there were some good and intriguing things, as well.
There was even a late touchdown catch of the spectacular variety by Broncos rookie Juwann Winfree.
That concentration though‼️
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 2, 2019
That was the difference in Denver’s 14-10 win.
Three takeaways from the NFL Hall of Fame Game
Noah Fant has up-and-down game
Noah Fant looked like a rookie in his debut with the Broncos on Thursday and that’s by no means an insult.
He flashed his quick feet and blocking skills, but he also dropped a pass and was called for holding.
— NFL (@NFL) August 2, 2019
The Broncos knew they were going to have to take the good with the bad when they selected Fant in the first round this year and they got a lot of both in his limited time Thursday.
But, he showed he can do just what they got him to do and also helped lead the way on a rushing touchdown in the first half. Moments like that are a cherry on top at this moment for Denver. He has a chance to be a very good player.
Drew Lock played; Kurt Benkert impressed
Probably the most fun thing about NFL preseason games is getting to see rookies try their hand at the next level. Thursday, there was a good amount of anticipation to see the debut of Drew Lock, who was supposed to be a first-round pick but fell to the Broncos in the second.
But, while many were looking forward to seeing Lock, it would be hard not to be excited by another quarterback — Falcons second-year man Kurt Benkert. Lock was fine in the game. He finished 7-of-11 passing for 34 yards, but Benkert showed off a wide assortment of skills and ran the offense like a player who has been running it for a couple of years — which he has, as he spent last season on Atlanta’s practice squad.
Benkert was crisp with his passes and even broke off a 17-yard run in the first half. He was impressive no matter how you look at it, finishing 19-of-34 passing for 185 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he had to leave the game in the fourth quarter with a toe injury, putting a damper on a good game.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 2, 2019
As for Lock, he looked like a rookie playing in a Hall of Fame Game. There’s nothing wrong with that. He just didn’t look comfortable, yet, but he has time to get there.
New pass interference review works as it should
Like last year, when NFL fans were waiting to see how the “lowering the helmet rule” would play out in a game, this season everyone wanted to know how the pass interference review would go. The league is allowing such plays to be reviewed this season on a one-year trial basis.
The answer — pretty well. Broncos coach Vic Fangio challenged a pass interference call in the first half Thursday and the play was upheld as it should have been. It’s an easy adjustment to make and it sure worked well in this game.
The first challenge of a pass interference call.
Hear the explanation behind the call. pic.twitter.com/CPKoUDLE1u
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) August 2, 2019