Sean Renfree won the battle of the Atlanta backup quarterbacks guiding the Falcons to four scores and a 20-19 win over the Baltimore Ravens in the final game of the preseason.
Renfree took over for starter Matt Ryan after one play and guided the Falcons seconds to a touchdown on 8 plays. Fullback Collin Mooney dashed in over the left side for the 1 yard score as the Ravens starters watched from the sidelines.
Former Atlanta Falcons backup Matt Schaub, playing in place of starter Joe Flacco, answered the long drive with a 10 play, 74 yard drive of his own. The drive stalled at the Falcons 8 yard line courtesy of rookie defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. The rookie out of Clemson stopped running back Javorius Allen 2 yards shy of the line of scrimmage on third and one. Justin Tucker salvaged the effort driving a 28 yard field goal through the uprights.
Renfree turned over the keys to the bus to newly signed quarterback Rex Grossman in the third quarter after tossing a 25 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Carlton Mitchell. The noticeably padded Grossman was able to manage just one sustained drive that covered 37 yards on 9 plays.
Atlanta was comfortably ahead until a series of miscues gave Baltimore an opportunity to win the game. A rare missed field goal from Matt Bryant was followed by a quick score by the Ravens. Backup quarterback Bryn Renner hit Jeremy Butler on a quick pass to close within a score of the lead.
Butler’s touchdown must have energized the Ravens defense and special teams. It was either that or the roster cuts that loomed in the shadows. Whatever it was the Ravens defense held forcing the Falcons to punt from its 17 yard line. A punt the Baltimore special teams blocked and recovered at the Atlanta 10 with 50 seconds remaining in the game. Renner needed only 2 plays and 10 seconds to put it in the endzone.
The two point conversion pass to fullback Kiero Small was knocked back into the air by Falcons safety Charles Godfrey but fell to the turf before tight end Konrad Reuland could attempt a diving catch.
Rookie defensive lineman Grady Jarrett had 7 tackles, three of them for a loss of 15 yards. Head Coach Dan Quinn praised his effort. “I thought he was really disruptive,” said Quinn. “It was great to see him have a night like tonight.”
Rookie running back Tevin Coleman did not disappoint in his first real action of the preseason. The Indiana product rushed for 56 yards on 8 carries and showed some burst with a 26 yard jaunt.
Quarterback Sean Renfree definitely clinched the backup job with a solid overall performance and a win.