Renfree sharp as Falcons hold off Ravens’ comeback, 20-19
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons may have found their starting running back and backup quarterback.
Sean Renfree threw a touchdown pass and led another scoring drive to overshadow the preseason debut of Rex Grossman as the Atlanta Falcons held off the Baltimore Ravens 20-19 on Thursday night in their final preseason game.
Renfree made the most of his final bid to open the season as Matt Ryan’s backup. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 75 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown pass to Carlton Mitchell.
“It is obviously not in my hands, but I feel good about myself and the way I played, the preseason I had and the game I had,” Renfree said.
The Falcons (2-2) opened with their best drive. Rookie Tevin Coleman had runs of 5, 15 and 26 yards to set up a 2-yard touchdown plunge by fullback Collin Mooney, who recovered a fumbled snap in midair before pushing the pile forward across the line.
Coleman ran for 56 yards on eight carries and could open the season as the starter.
“We saw the speed from him,” said Falcons coach Dan Quinn.
Grossman, 35, who signed with Atlanta last week to compete with Renfree and T.J. Yates, was 4 of 9 for 41 yards. Yates did not play.
Daniel Brown blocked Matt Bosher’s punt with 50 seconds remaining to give the Ravens the ball at the Atlanta 10. Bryn Renner’s 10-yard scoring pass to Brown cut Atlanta’s lead to one point. Renner’s 2-point pass intended for fullback Kiero Small was incomplete.
Renner threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Butler with about two minutes remaining.
“You could see our guys fight to the end,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh.
Matt Schaub was 7 for 7 for 88 yards for the Ravens (1-3). Most Baltimore starters, including quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Justin Forsett and receiver Steve Smith, did not play.
Devonta Freeman, Atlanta’s starting running back when training camp opened, missed all four preseason games with a hamstring injury.
ONE AND DONE
Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones were on the field for only one play — the first handoff to Coleman.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?
Harbaugh said Brown, an undrafted rookie from James Madison, may have earned a practice squad spot with his late blocked punt and touchdown catch.
Falcons: TE Jacob Tamme suffered a back injury on his catch that set up Atlanta’s first touchdown. ... CB Travis Howard (shoulder) left in the third quarter.
Ravens: WR Marlon Brown of Georgia had three catches for 64 yards. WR Darren Waller of Georgia Tech had three catches for 22 yards. ... Renner was 18 of 24 for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Falcons: Nick Williams had a game-high six catches for 35 yards. Terron Ward had 18 carries for 69 yards. WR Justin Hardy’s 70-yard punt return set up one of Matt Bryant’s two field goals.
ON THE BUBBLE
Ravens: Undrafted rookie running back Terrence Magee boosted his hopes by leading the Ravens with 37 yards rushing on nine carries. Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee), Forsett’s backup, is not expected to be ready for the season.
Falcons: Backup cornerback Dezmen Southward recovered Asa Jackson’s fumble on a punt return to set up Renfree’s touchdown pass to Mitchell. Southward had a big hit to end a Ravens possession later in the third quarter. ... DT Grady Jarrett had a sack and three tackles for losses.
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